Searching Philadelphia for Maryland Beer

The Van Pelt library at the University of Pennsylvania truly is the type you can get lost in. I know ’cause I did. Early in my research I discovered that there was a person named John Beale Bordley, who was a colonial hotshot and one of the first production-scale brewers in Maryland. Bordley was friendly with Thomas Jefferson and as concerned as he was about what we now call sustainable living. Part of that, for

The Heady History of Chesapeake Brewing

Maryland’s Eastern Shore had a complicated relationship with beer for much of its history. Brewers fell into (roughly) two categories: people who needed the work and people who needed great beer. In this book, I trace that history and show how the two different kinds of brewers overlap.If you’re interested in coming to a talk or signing, here’s a list of events. If you would like me to come and speak with your group or at

Into the past

Castle HavenPhoto courtesy of the Choptank River Heritage Center I went to college as a 30-year-old and, as I made for the graduation finish line, my first marriage came apart. If I ever write that story it will read like the lamest version of the poor man’s Fear and Loathing. Come to think of it, Fear and Loathing in Delmar would be an awesome title. Doing primary source, original research was a graduation requirement, so I combined

Exporting beer and a revolution

Oddly, though, Boxer Light hasn’t taken Belgium by storm Twenty years ago, I would tell you that Belgium was the greatest brewing country in the world. And today I would say it’s the United States. — John McDonald, Founder of Boulevard Brewing Company, in an +NPR story. Exporting a revolution Late last year, Belgian beer company +Duvel Moortgat closed a deal to buy +Boulevard Brewing Co. primarily to secure an American craft beer for export (or, I guess, import, depending upon

There’s more to campus beer than frat boys

The recently-reported discovery of an on-campus brewery at the +College of William & Mary highlights a point that we’ve forgotten, a little bit. Yes, it’s cute to make jokes about having beer on campus, but where there are people, there is beer. This is a fact of civilization. What was difficult was making good beer. It not only took time, but also resources that most smaller places didn’t have. Maltsters were rare in the country, but they