Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Winter Beerok!

With Fall gone and Summer and Spring still imaginary seasons more readily identified as ideas than actual things, I guess it's now time to fess up and just admit that it's Winter. And what better way than a celebration -- a BEEROK feast of books and beer to warm your bones and soothe your heart!? I don't know!

(And to recap, Beerok is our -- Liberty Bay Books' -- alcoliterate experiment that matches good books to good beers in the hope that once imbibed by your being, book and beverage coalesce and become one superbly insightful organism that's doubly -- nay, triply better than each is alone. And if you need to be persuaded further, books are the best and beer is the best. This is your excuse to have them both, and tastefully so!)

To get into the season which requires so much warmth, breadth, and nourishment, here's a couple of hearty titles to get that blood properly warmed:

Bayern Dopplebock Lager (Missoula, MT) and Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber -- From the darkest dreamiest depths of all that's germanic! I really enjoyed this book and even moreso this beer, though I'm not ashamed to say that both scare me for one reason or another. Carter's book is an anthology of re-imagined fairy tales which roams from the Beauty and the Beast to Snow White to Little Red Riding Hood and on, and as far as I can tell, it's the perfect book for browsing fireside on those blustery nights. Inventive, intriguing and oh so shocking (don't we know all these stories already?), The Bloody Chamber is a great read and an even better gift for your hard-to-buy-for friends. Bayern's Doppelbock, on the other hand, is sheer bliss. A Bock done right on American soil, it's hearty yet smooth with delicious notes of grape, pumpernickel, caramel, and chocolate, spread across a complex batch of malts; it's also good cold, but even better as it warms. Call it the Beast to Carter's Beauty, Bayern's seasonal Doppelbock is the beer you want in your hand when the going gets weird. Oh and it'll knock you on your ass.

Allagash's Fluxus 2009 (Portland, Maine) and Graham Swift's Waterland -- The Observer (U.K.) says that "Waterland appropriates the Fens as Moby Dick did whaling or Wuthering Heights the moors" and calls it "a beautiful, serious, and intelligent novel, admirably ambitious and original." Well, funny thing, I said the same about Allagash's appropriation, domination, and originality in dealing with the Saison (a type of Belgian beer) -- this year's Fluxus -- too, they just must've missed the memo I guess. Anyways, Swift's novel is a twisting, turning, wholly reminiscent thing, and both really beautiful and really beautifully put together. Like the Fluxus in so many respects -- beautiful, curious, reminiscent of so much... oh ... -- it seems to reinvent itself anew at every turn, which I think is a treat and makes for exciting stuff. I should also mention that it's a book of polarities and paradoxes (water/land ... etc.), all of which are left in ... yep ... flux.

Enjoy them if you have the chance!



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