MARIA STEIN – Ohio author Timothy R. Gaffney will visit the Moeller Brew Barn in Maria Stein from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday to share secrets about western Ohio’s long-hidden history of beer brewing.
Nick Moeller’s craft brewery in rural Mercer County is one of several Gaffney spotlights in his new book “Dayton Beer: A History of Brewing in the Miami Valley” (The History Press, $21.99.) It places modern craft breweries like Moeller’s – including his newest one in Troy – in the context of more than two centuries of local brewing history. It also explores how regional and global trends shaped the industry, such as the building of the Miami and Erie Canal and German migration.
Gaffney searched thousands of records in local libraries, historical societies and county offices across the region as well as ancestry databases to peel back the years and show how commercial brewing was among the first industries in early Ohio settlements.
For example, Franz Lange’s Star Brewery in rural Minster grew into the powerhouse producer of Wooden Shoe beer, a once-famous brand that outlived Prohibition. Even the region’s smallest towns had their own breweries. “Dayton Beer” reveals colorful stories about brewers in New Bremen, Union City and even tiny New Madison.
At Moeller Brew Barn, Gaffney will present the latest information from his ongoing research into Mercer County’s early brewers. One was Philip Schmitt, a German immigrant said to have built a brewery in the woods a few miles from Maria Stein in 1855. Gaffney also will sign books, and books will be available for sale.
Moeller Brew Barn is one of the stops on Gaffney’s “History and a Pint” book tour of the region’s brewpubs and tap houses. His next appearance will be on Oct. 17 at Mother Stewart’s Brewing in Springfield.
An internationally published writer, author and photographer, Gaffney is known mainly for his aviation and space writing. He made brewing the subject of his 16th book when he became intrigued by how craft brewers often were using local history and culture to brand their businesses and products.
Gaffney blogs at dayton-beer.com. He tweets as @DaytonBeerBook and uses hashtag #daytonbeerbook.