There are 43 regional breweries, microbreweries, and brewpubs in the state of Massachusetts, a fact gleaned from a new book titled "Massachusetts Breweries" by John Holl and April Darcy. That's a lot, and it's a number that changes often, which underscores the difficulties of writing such a book. It's a fluid situation (sorry!)
Holl and Darcy navigate the breweries and rotaries of the Massachusetts well. They talked to just about everyone here involved in beer, providing profiles of each of the state's breweries, as well as profiles of the people who started them. It's a comprehensive guide.
From the book you can gather information about each brewery, from production levels and flagship beers to tour times, addresses, and phone numbers. It's a reference guide for the serious beer drinker.
Completeness isn't even the best part about the book, however. What I like about it is that it acts as a travel guide for the state. This suits me. Having had the good fortune to travel for both work and pleasure, I often plan trips around beer. I research bars and brewpubs around my hotel, and I seek out good, local beer wherever I go. If I'm in a new city, I already know who the best local brewers are and which beers I should be seeking out. The quest makes the hobby fun.
Holl and Darcy write the perfect book for the beer traveler. The breweries are broken down by region. If you find yourself in Worcester, you'll know which breweries are nearby, which beers are desirable, and where to get them. There are also details about the places, including hotel information and neighborhood descriptions. You can learn much more about Boston reading this book for two minutes than in two hours reading insufferable restaurant reviews on Yelp. Unlike most Yelp reviewers, beer people tend to be fun people, and Holl and Darcy don't lead you astray.
The guide is available on Amazon. Holl will be at the Harpoon Brewery signing copies of the book on Saturday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. He'll be at Porter Square Books doing the same on Nov. 9.