DRAUGHTlines Fall 2012

The Bookshelf: Philadelphia Beer by Rich Wagner, Forward by Lew Bryson. (Review)

By Maureen McCoy, Editor

Known today as “The Best Beer Drinking City in America,” Philadelphia has a brewing legacy that spans over three centuries. The City of Brotherly Love was on the leading edge of the country's brewing technology and production as early as the 19th century. At that time, our fine city was already a world-class brewing center. In fact, the nation's first ever porter and lager were brewed in Northern Liberties!

Author and avid Philadelphia beer historian, Rich Wagner takes readers on a satisfying journey from the earliest ale brewers and the emergence of lager, through the depressingly dry years of Prohibition, to the current craft-brewing renaissance. Philadelphia Beer: A Heady History of Brewing in the Cradle of Liberty truly celebrates the untapped history of Philadelphia beer.

Lew Bryson, who wrote the forward, recommended Wagner to the publisher as the perfect person to write the book. Bryson says, “Wagner's knowledge of the history of Philadelphia brewing is encyclopedic and now he's proven that. This book is a great way to learn what came before our current status as America's Best Beer Drinking City.”

This book has been incubating in my mind for quite some time, Wagner says, “and when The History Press approached me with the concept, it provided a means for me to tell the short version of a long and twisted tale. I've brought stories to life from the city's earliest brewers to the heyday of Brewerytown in the late nineteenth century. Long forgotten names and logos are celebrated in this rich tapestry of lore associated with the brewers who made Philadelphia 'One Big Brewerytown'.”

History buffs, beer lovers and Philadelphians alike will thoroughly appreciate the wealth of knowledge Wagner has revealed in his interesting and informative new book.

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