Thursty: Interview with Lauren Clark, author of ‘Crafty Bastards’

Crafty Bastards, by Lauren Clark. Credit: Union Park Press
“Crafty Bastards,” by Lauren Clark, will teach you a thing or two about craft brewing in New England.
Credit: Union Park Press

It’s well known that we’ve been living through a craft brewing boom for the past few years. But when you think about it, craft beer was actually the default throughout American history. Lauren Clark, a longtime drinks writer from Boston, digs back into our sudsy past in her new book, Crafty Bastards: Beer in New England from the Mayflower to Modern Day, out now from Union Park Press. It traces American beer history from the first settlers through the industrial revolution and up to today’s high profile craft beer moment.

Clark, who’s written about spirits for the New York Times and the Boston Globe and founded DrinkBoston.com, says the homemade roots of early beer brewing are something readers might be surprised to learn about. Most of the brewing was done by women. “Really, until it became industrial, it was a small scale activity that was done at home or in a tavern,” she says. “Even a lot of taverns were mom and pop operations. For centuries in Britain, women were the primary brewers. And the people who settled North America brought that tradition with them.”

Clark will be signing books at an event on June 10 at Stoddard’s called Beer and Broads. Hosted by Girls Pint Out and Boston Area Beer Enthusiasts Society, it will feature beers brewed by local women brewers.

Clark travelled throughout New England to over 100 breweries to tell their stories. The book can also double as a beer-lovers vacation itinerary. One she found most memorable was the Marshall Wharf Brewing Company in Belfast, Maine. “The beer garden is just great, it’s got this sort of retro look and feel to it. They serve great beers, it’s a great location. Belfast used to be a shipping, industrial, slightly depressed town, but it’s getting artsy and hip.” At home in Boston, she recommends Deep Ellum and The Publick House as jumping off points for beer adventures.

In the book, she tells the stories of some memorable brewing characters – and characters is often a great way to describe them. One of her favorites? Tod Mott. “He started in the early days of craft brewing, and has brewed for like 30 years,” she says. “He’s responsible for Harpoon IPA and also for a cult Beer Advocate favorite called Kate the Great Russian Imperial Stout from Portsmouth Brewery. He really kind of represents the title of the book. He worked a bunch of jobs, is famous for a couple of beers, and is really well respected in the industry. … He’s just sort of a resilient down to earth, fun guy.”

You have to be in this business.

While it seems like craft beer is everywhere, Clark points out that it still only represents about 10 percent of national beer sales. While she wouldn’t be surprised if things slowed down eventually, it’s still a great time to be a beer lover. “I just think anybody who likes to drink local New England beer should be optimistic. Even during the last slowdown, most of the breweries survived and kept on doing their thing and getting better. Beers are going to be better and better because the consumer is more educated, they know better what a good beer tastes like. The brewing keeps getting better.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Mayor announces public housing improvements

Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at the Lincoln Houses in East Harlem on Wednesday, calling for the scaffolding to come down at NYCHA complexes across…

National

Peter Theo Curtis: American released by Syrian militants…

An American writer freed this week from two years in the captivity of insurgents in Syria spoke briefly outside his family's Cambridge home Wednesday of…

Local

Bratton defends 'broken windows' work as NYPD support…

Sixty percent of those polled said they support the "broken windows" theory approach popularized by Commissioner Bratton since his first term in the 1990s.

Local

Transit changes for Labor Day weekend

The MTA is adding additional service Friday for New Yorkers getting out of the city for the long weekend. On Friday, Aug. 29, 27 additional…

Television

'Full House' might be relaunched with some of…

A new "Full House" might be in the works.

Movies

Review: 'The Congress' is a crazy, unwieldy sci-fi…

Robin Wright is the center of gravity in "The Congress," which turns from a live-action Hollywood satire into an animated spectacular on a downer future.

Movies

Review: 'The Last of Robin Hood' is a…

Dakota Fanning plays Errol Flynn's (Kevin Kline) teenage gal pal in "The Last of Robin Hood," which takes a scandal and makes it dully empathetic.

Movies

Review: The uneven 'Life of Crime' mostly gets…

Elmore Leonard's "The Switch" becomes the new indie crime dramedy "Life of Crime," with Jennifer Aniston as a kidnapped woman whose husband won't pay up.

Sports

Serena Williams leaving legacy of talented American women…

It seems only a matter of when, not if, Serena Williams will win her 18th career grand slam championship.

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

NFL

Dimitri Patterson suspended only for rest of preseason…

Dimitri Patterson ended up getting just a slap on the wrist.

Sports

Eugenie Bouchard excited for 'rowdy' fans at US…

Eugenie Bouchard is sure to endear herself to New York's tennis faithful as she tries to win her first grand slam title across the next two weeks.

Sex

The 10 types of people you meet online

Does it ever seem like online dating profiles tend to get a little repetitive? It turns out you are not the only one to have…

Home

Labor Day essentials

Whether you’re soaking up the sun on the beach or barbecuing in the park here are some must-haves for your end-of-summer bash.

Education

Does the school day start too early?

As thousands of high schoolers get ready to head back to class, health experts say it may be time to push back the start of…

Style

Fall 2014 trend: lilac

Push those gray and black sweaters aside and make room for blush and lilac.