Thursday, March 17, 2011

Saint. Patrick's. Day.

To get you in the spirit -- (though if you're not in the spirit imbimbing the spirits, then what's the point?) -- we've got some delicious, mind-dumbing BEEROK pairings to turn the greenest man into a Wildean-Joycean- Yeatsian lyricist before you can say Finnegan's Wake!

Roddy Doyle's The Dead Republic (Viking, $21.56, 336 pgs) and Rogue's St. Rogue Red Ale (Newport, OR) -- I'm pretty certain that I've reviewed this
book in one capacity or another, but when it comes to questions of Ireland and Irishness, nobody kicks the shamrock like Roddy Doyle does. This is especially true in The Dead Republic, which, while serving as the butt-end of the Henry Smart Trilogy, deals almost exclusively with the currency of 'Irishness' amidst the backdrops of Ford's "The Quiet Man," and the Irish Civil War. Doyle's hardy but stern prose makes this tale fly along all the faster, making you miss poor Henry Smart all the more at its finish. Rogue' s Red is the beer to drink while cruising through it for its bold and impressive self-awareness. Hoppy like a strong IPA but smooth like an Amber or American Pale, you'll be surprised and delighted as you rediscover just what you ordered.

Star of the Sea by Joseph O'Connor (Mariner, $11.96, 432 pgs.) and Sierra Nevada's Sierra Nevada Stout (Chico, CA)-- Written by a storyteller who's as much historian as he is wordsmith, Star of the Sea is a good novel and an even greater historical review. Beginning in 1847, at the height of the Great Potato Famine, it follows so many Irish men and women as they escape, dream, and occasionally philander their way into the America. And warning: it's not your typical Potato Famine Sob Story, which only reverberate upon the oft-told "Irish" woes of Catholic sorrow, drink, and sex. Warm up to it with a mug or two of Sierra Nevada's tasty, malty, aromatic Stout because, well... just because. It feels damn right.

Lastly, a bit of script from Finnegan's Wake, for your C.R.A.F.T. club to mull over:

"though a day be as dense as a decade, no mouth has the might to set a mearbound to the march of a landsmaul, in half a sylb, helf a solb, holf a salb onward the beast of boredom, common sense, lurking gyrographically down inside his loose Eating S.S. Collar is gogoing of whisth to you sternly how -- Plutonic loveliaks twinnt Platonic yearlings -- you must, how, in undivided reawlity draw the line somewhawre."

Best with more hard liquor than you'd dare to drink

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