Last year, local photographer Paul Bialas published a stunning hardcover book filled with his images of the former Pabst Brewery. His new book gives the same treatment to the former Schlitz Brewery buildings.
"While I researched the brewery I found some really amazing facts and a few stories that I found astounding," Bialas told me back in March, referring to the Pabst book.
"I decided to include these facts and stories in the book. The history of the Pabst is gigantic, and I don't scratch the surface in this book, like I said, the pictures best tell the story."
The same could be said for "Schlitz Brewing Art," which has a introduction by Peter T. Uihlein.
Bialas' sometimes otherworldly photographs capture the brewery after production ceased, after the last worker went home. In these images, paint is peeling, idle equipment begins to oxidize, bits of quotidian history are scattered here and there.
To look at the photos while hearing the stories of former employees – on an included CD – makes for an especially haunting – and rewarding – experience.
Schlitz trivia, historic posters and memorabilia and info on the beer that made Milwaukee famous is scattered throughout.
Bialas' creation is essential for fans of brewing history, Milwaukee history, architecture or photography. It's available at Boswell Book Co. and online at lakecountryphoto.com.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.