Book-Beer Pairings (Part I): Arianna Huffington, Michael Chabon, Lauren Groff, and More

Monsters
(Lauren Groff's Monsters paired with Brewery Ommegang's Three Philosophers, along with another great Ommegang beer, and an interloping stout.)

For a long time, I’ve wondered why wine and food should have all the fun. Here at Omnivoracious, we also believe in the complementary pairing of books with...beer. Now, please note that we’re not advocating irresponsible reading, but with the current popularity of micro-breweries and the role of beer in the writing of books over the centuries, it seems somehow irresponsible not to pair the two. We’re frankly a little surprised no one’s done it before.

Thus, I took it upon myself to explore the connection between hops and writing chops, going far afield to ask a diverse group of writers what beer or beers would go best with their latest work. The results were so revelatory and comprehensive that we’re running the first half of this feature today and the second half on Thursday...

Light Beers, Lambics, Arrogant Bastard, and More!

Naturally, everyone approached the question in a slightly different way. Eastern European surrealist Zoran Zivkovic appeared to have already sampled a brew or three, sending in the rhyming verse, “Drink Bud West, drink Bud East,/Drink Bud reading Steps through the Mist.” Elizabeth Hand echoed Zivkovic, even while confessing she hasn’t drunk beer in thirty years: “But the last time I did have one, it was almost certainly a glass of Bud with a shot-glass of Jack Daniels in it. A boilermaker, which is what Cass Neary in [the dark thriller] Generation Loss would drink--24/7, and minus the beer.”

Arianna Huffington, author of the just-released Right Is Wrong, decided on a more political (and surprisingly conservative) approach, writing, “Busch, of course!  Besides the homonymic convergence, distribution of this beer helped make Cindy McCain rich and funded John McCain’s political career.”

Other books that apparently take a lighter approach include Karen Joy Fowler’s Wit’s End, paired with Sierra Nevada Pale Ale: “The company describes it as a new take on a classic theme; it's light, but complex.  This is a North Californian company, which fits me and my book.  But what I like best is the slogan--‘the beer that made Chico famous.’ The where?”

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