Robert Musson didn't grow up in Pittsburgh ― he hails from Akron, Ohio ― but as a teen-ager in the 1970s, he took an interest in the city. Not because of its dominant sports teams, mind you ... but because of its beer.
"In the '70s, collecting beer cans was a big thing," he explains. "A lot of guys my age did it. My parents and I would go down to Pittsburgh on day trips, buying cans, visiting Pittsburgh Brewing or the Jones Brewery in Smithton."
Now 49 and a vascular surgeon, Musson doesn't collect cans as much, but he hasn't soured on the history. He's the author of numerous self-published books on brewing history, and has just unveiled Brewing in Greater Pittsburgh, a book in Arcadia Publishing's "Images of America" series. The book comprises a collection of historical photos pertaining to local brewing, along with explanatory captions authored by Musson.
The book spans from colonial times ― "There was at least a small brewing operation at Fort Pitt," Musson explains ― to today. (Full Pint Brewing, the recently revived Duquesne brand and East End Brewing make appearances.)
While he might quaff a tall one at his book signing at Penn Brewery on Sat., Dec. 8, Musson notes that on the whole, he's more historian than drinker.
"I'll have a beer or two a week at most," he says. "If I drank more, the book might have taken longer."