Monday, June 29, 2009

Books and Beer and Beer and Books

With the sun finally here to stay -- (knock on plywood) -- and the days still startlingly long and perfect, now, more than ever, is the time to be reading good books. In the sun. By the pool. In bed. As the barbeque warms. Whatever.

But upon second thought, summer isn't just a time for reading. Of course it's not. (What a dumb idea that would be.) Summer is a time for our lives to catch up with us and for us to catch up with our lives. A time for friends, for barbeques, for parties -- for, you know, having a cold one, or two cold ones. You know -- if we're honest -- a time for drinking.

So here's an idea, and let me tell you we've worked it all out -- we've really got it all here. The drinking and the reading. You know, the knowledge and the social merriment. Here it is. Here goes: just as you would match your wine with your dinner, match your beer to the book you are reading! Sip and Skim! Slurp and Soak! Swallow and Wallow! Or, you know... spend your summer drinking beers suited to enhance and expose your reading experiences!

Call it 21st century, or smart, or just plain savvy -- we (fellow literaraturist/alcoholist Z. Blast and I) call it: Liberty Bay Books' Summer Beer Program For People and their Beers and their Books.

Or for short:

BEEROK! Part One.

To kick off this trend
, Z. Blau and I have assembled a list of a few of our favorite matches (and please get back to us with your own!):

Elysian Avatar Jasmine IPA (Seattle, WA) & Jhumpa Lahiri's Unaccustomed Earth.
--Of classic British/Indian IPA extraction, this great summer beer puts a few surprising polishing notes on an already proven formula. Quietly smooth with the shock note of jasmine (pathos?), this beer proves to be an excellent match for Lahiri's latest contemplative book of stories. As a note: both beer and novel finish like something brilliant and fuse-lit.

Trumer Pils (San Francisco, CA/Austria) & Richard Brautigan's Trout Fishing in America
-- A German-style Pilsner so light and handily delicious you'll be saying 'in watermelon sugar' before the trout have jumped at all! It matches Brautigan's classic tale of whatever it is, cast for cast (reel for reel...line for line...this could go on for a while...) for its thirst/peace-of-mind-quenching qualities and charming build. Perfect for that part of the afternoon that can't help but remind you of dogs sleeping on porches in the swamps of the American south.

Unibroue's Trois Pistoles (Chambly, Quebec) & Ian McEwan's Amsterdam
-- Like McEwan's Amsterdam, Unibroue's Belgian-style Dark Ale goes down easy but finishes like a kung-fu punch with the momentum of a verifiable swine-flu outbreak. (Lets just say its abv suggests that it is Olde-ier than even Olde English 800.) Blissfully tasty, but not taken in without consequence, both beer and book challenge the notion of what it means to be a summer beer or a summer read. Try them out!

Alaskan Amber (Juneau, AK) & David James Duncan's The Brothers K
--Once voted the beer of the nation way back in 1988, this NW favorite has long been a steady source of summer carbohydrates for those of us who spend the majority of our months besieged by drizzle (and also much, much better than Alakan Brewery's Summer Ale). It suits D.J. Duncan's sweeping NW family epic in that it tastes and really is so damned familiar. It's almost like you've been drinking it since the Mariners' first winning season, a feeling no doubt amplified in Duncan's Brothers K. A match that's sure to make you feel like everything this summer is making sense.

That's all for now but look for BEEROK Pt. 2 soon!

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