NEW FAIRFIELD, Conn. -- Want to know where to go to get a good buzz?
New Fairfield author and travel writer Erik Ofgang gives you the answer in his book, “Buzzed: Beers, Booze & Coffee Brews,” that was recently published by Islandport Press in Yarmouth, Maine.
"Each chapter in the book focuses on a different liquid vacation destination -- an area where you can find a really good brewery, distillery and coffeehouse, all in a close proximity," said Ofgang, 30, who is also a writer at Connecticut Magazine.
To gather material for his book, Ofgang traveled to over 45 venues across New England. His wife, Corinne Ofgang, who works as a counselor in Newtown, was the designated driver for their 16 overnight trips.
For each destination in his book, Ofgang provides its back story.
The 205-page book includes breweries such as Allagash Brewing Co. in Portland, Maine, that serves Allagash White. It "is an incredibly popular craft beer," he said.
"When this beer first came out in the 1990s, it was unfiltered. It had sediment on the bottom and when people saw that, they freaked out. They thought something was wrong with it," he said. "They weren't used to the unfiltered nature of the beer."
Another more local brewery — Two Roads Brewing Company in Stratford — is the biggest brewery in New England, he said. "It has a great facility in a converted former industrial building.
"For many years, it was rundown and was an eyesore," he said. "The owners revamped it and made an incredibly popular new brewery."
He said his reason for writing the book is two-fold.
"First, I wanted to provide a user friendly guide for beer, distilleries and coffee houses if you are on vacation. And two, I wanted to give the back story to make the places come alive," said Ofgang, who has a bachelor of arts in history and a master of arts in journalism from Western Connecticut State University in Danbury.
Ofgang recommends his book for families, because aside from writing about each location, he provides a guide to family friendly places to visit while in each area, including child-friendly hikes, museums, hotels and restaurants.
It was his parents who got him interested in both beer and travel. "Growing up, my dad used to home brew," he said. "Also, on every family vacation we went on, we would take a detour and stop at a different brewery. The trips would be pretty cool."
In his travels for the book, he said he learned there are a lot of great places to eat and drink in Connecticut and in the rest of New England, and that there are a lot of other people who are passionate about both.
"I think the extent of truly great craft beverage establishments in the region surprised me. I expected there to be a lot but there are so many great places to visit," he said.
In regard to being a first-time author, he learned that writing a book is not easy, even a book about drinking beer, booze and coffee. "There is a lot of research and time spent revising, planning drafting and rewriting. It was all so very worth it of course when the book finally arrived and I could officially call myself an 'author.'"
On Oct. 15 from 1 to 4 p.m., Ofgang will be giving a book signing at the Connecticut Harvest Jam by I-95 at the Ives Concert Park, 43 Lake Ave Ext., Danbury.
Also, he will be talking about his book at Byrd's Books in Bethel on Oct. 29.
The book costs $14.95 and is available at all major booksellers as well as online.
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