Book-Beer Pairings (Part II)--T.C. Boyle, Chip Kidd, Margo Lanagan, James Morrow, and More

Smallbeer_beer    Oneday_3 Oldspeckled_4 
(Large beer Drayman's Porter with Small Beer's Ant King; Dudman's novel and Old Speckled Hen.)

Much has happened since posting Part I of the book-beer pairings feature. First, I tested out Three Philosophers with Lauren Groff's The Monsters of Templeton and found that (1) it is indeed a great Belgian-style beer, with some very subtle yet strong flavors, and (2) it goes very well with Groff's book.

Then, I decided to check in with Gavin Grant of Small Beer Press because...well, how can you do this kind of feature and not talk to a publisher called Small Beer Press? Gavin has a lot of respect for both books and beer--and access to both locally. “We have a fantastic brewery (ok, we have a few) in the Happy Valley in Massachusetts: the Berkshire Brewing Company. Their Traditional Pale Ale is a summer time treat and all winter we survive on their Drayman's Porter. Which is what we were drinking when the UPS guy delivered galleys of our next collection, Ben Rosenbaum's The Ant King.” (You can now download John Kessel’s excellent new collection The Baum Plan for Financial Independence and Maureen F. McHugh's powerful Mothers & Other Monsters from the Small Beer website.)

So, without further rabbiting, the continuation of this landmark feature...

Guinness Versus Everything Else?!

Although most participants in the second half of this feature preferred matching a dark beer with their books, a few hold-outs for lighter imbibification include Thomas Disch, Nick Mamatas, and Chip Kidd—Kidd mostly because, as a purist, he deferred to his novel: “In The Learners, Happy and Himillsy down Rolling Rocks at Modern Apizz in New Haven, so that would appropriate. Otherwise, everyone drinks martinis.”

Mamatas probably wouldn’t typify his pick as a light beer, although it is: “The official beer of Weinbergia, the country in Under My Roof, is Red Stripe.  Short and hip, sweet and a bit more dangerous than you might at first suspect.  Plus, hipsters dig it like they dig uncombed hair and T-shirts from 1985.”

Similarly, Disch, author of the forthcoming The Word of God: Or, Holy Writ Rewritten (coming July 1 from Tachyon Publications), selected either Rhinegold or Lowenbrau for his forthcoming farcical “memoir”: “In the New York of my youth (I was 17 when I got here in '57, and Miss Rhinegold was then an annual tradition. The contestants had their pictures posted in the subways. There was also a Miss Subways. They have both disappeared in our new, unsexed era, but there is another good reason to serve Rhinegold at the book party. It is the beer Wagner made famous. Not much of a beer in itself, as I recall, which is why it may have become extinct, and not the best opera in the Ring either, but no one has ever dared to bring out a beer called Gotterdammerung....I was actually in Lowenbrau Hofbrauhaus in Munich (in 1966). There were tiers of drinking halls where roisterers bellowed out drinking songs. A kind of Valhalla.”

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Comments (3)

So...does that make my book Greasing the Pan a big glass of Pepsi Clear?

Posted by: Paul Riddell | Thursday April 24, 2008 at 1:16 PM

Article Makes Sale

The novel's about Alfred Wegener? The author recommends Old Speckled Hen? Lead me to this book, dammit!

Posted by: Paul | Thursday April 24, 2008 at 12:09 PM

I wonder if these same beers apply to the audiobook version of these books? I think the additional audiotory stimulus and the possible removal or at least change of visual stimuli might require a change in beer selection. In general, I would guess that if listening alone in a darkened room, a darker beer might be called for, maybe a hoppier beer or a nice oatmeal stout, while listening to an audiobook while doing other things (other than drinking beer, that is) might require something a little lighter, maybe even fruitier.

Of course, you might also need to consider the timber, tone, and rhythm of the book reader's voice, the bit-rate of the recording, whether you are listening to discs which will have to be changed out every 45 minutes or so or via an mp3 player, the current battery level and if you will need to plug it back in or change batteries soon...

This is getting too complicated. Give me a nice cold barley-wine or two and I could probably read or listen to just about anything without complaint.

Posted by: John | Thursday April 24, 2008 at 9:07 AM

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