(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.”