Pairing Books and Beer: a Special Guest-Post of Novels 'n' Bottles by Sam Calagione

Posted by League Commissioner on November 22, 2011 10 Comments

Yesterday we posted about sharing a page of New York magazine with Woody Harrelson and Marilyn Monroe, and picturing Vonnegut pulled up to the bar with Woody and Marilyn.

So what better topic to write about today than the wonderful kinship of beer and books?

We'll start with a poem called "Lines on Ale" by the third baseman for the American Canons, Edgar Allan Poe.

"Lines on Ale"

Fill with mingled cream and amber
    I will drain that glass again.
Such hilarious visions clamber
    Through the chamber of my brain -
Quaintest thoughts - queerest fancies
    Come to life and fade away;
What care I how time advances?
    I am drinking ale today.

Edgar Allan Poe Raven t-shirtEdgar Allan Poe The Raven T-shirt design Novel-T

Edgar Allan Poe Tell-Tale HeartEdgar Allan Poe Tell-Tale Heart t-shirt Novel-T

But for a delve a little deeper into this keg of kinship, Dogfish Head's generous and ingenious brewmaster Sam Calagione has done us the solid of throwing together a wonderful list of great pairs of novels and bottles.

So pull up a stool and crack open a classic with these recommendations of Sam's: 

Moby Dick – Leviathan Series Stout from  Harpoon Brewery – deep, dark, and bold…call me Ishm-Ale.

The Encyclopedia of Herbs – Saison du Buff – a collaboration between Dogfish Head, Victory, and Stone breweries that is made with parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme.

The Book of Genesis as illustrated by R. Crumb – A little more off-centered than the King James version – R. Crumb’s illustrations bring the good book to life – I recommend pairing this with a vintage Sierra Nevada Bigfoot barley – I like to think Jesus actually turned water into BARLEY wine.  

Lolita – a Belgian White Beer or German hefe - something enjoyed really young and fresh by the half-gallon jug from your most local brewpub. “Oh Wheat beer, light of my life, fire of my loins.”

Brave New World – Sam Adams' Utopias

The Heart of Darkness  - Heart of Darkness Stout, Bell’s Brewery. 

The Call of the Wild – Cantillion Kriek – a Belgian ale made with cherries and spontaneously fermented with wild yeast.

And let's add one pairing of our own: Sam's own book Brewing Up a Business with his own 60 minute IPA.  Quoth the poet, "What care I how time advances?/I am drinking ale today."

Thanks, Sam, and cheers!

Moby-Dick t-shirtMoby-Dick literary t-shirt from Novel-T

Ahab t-shirtAhab literary t-shirt Novel-T

book and beer pairings

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Comments (10 Comments)

Posted by League Commissioner on November 24, 2011

Thanks for these, guys. Awesome ideas. And congrats to Jeff Stern—we’re gonna send you a free Novel-T for your suggestion. Send us an email.

Posted by Dan on November 22, 2011

5 Little Pumpkins – DFH’s Punkin

Pride & Prejudice – Old Speckled Hen

Guinness Book of World Records – Guiness

Ana Karenina – North Coast Brewing Old Rasputin

War and Peace – Russian River Brewing Damnation

Dante’s Inferno – Lost Abbey Inferno

Posted by Sam Heiberger on November 22, 2011

Hunter S. Thompson’s The Rum Diary paired with Avery Brewing Co.’s Rumpkin. Both are filled with craziness and seduction.

Posted by Jeff Stern on November 22, 2011

Fullsteam’s Carver Sweet Potato Lager with Raymond Carver’s short fiction, Abita Turbo Dog with John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale with David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King and Rogue Dead Guy with Doug Dorst’s Alive in Necropolis.

I went for actual style/feel pairings rather than strictly going for the best pun.

Posted by Maureen on November 22, 2011

OMG! I’m all over this at the

Some favorites
Brooklyn lager A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
DFH NamasteEat,Pray,Love
Pretty Things St.Boltoph’s and Birthday Letters

Posted by Maureen on November 22, 2011

Omg! I’m Totally all over this at the
Some favorites: Brooklyn lager with a tree grows in Brooklyn
DFH Namaste with Eat, Pray,Love
Pretty things St.Boltoph’s with Ted Hughes Birthday Letters


Posted by Mike Bourcier on November 22, 2011

A Christmas Carol with Old Curmudgeon ale.

Posted by Sarah on November 22, 2011

Gone with the Wind and Stoudt’s Scarlett Lady. I would have to pair Lolita with something dark and delightful, like DFH’s Raison D’Etre.

Posted by MR on November 22, 2011

Here’s three:

Camus’ The Stranger — Left Hand Brewing’s Stranger pale ale

Watership Down – Clown Shoes’ Hoppy Feet

The Exorcist — Bell’s Hell Hath No Fury ale

Posted by Jeremy on November 22, 2011

New Holland – Dragon’s Milk Ale while reading the latest Game of Thrones book.

(well, it sounds like a great combo, and it IS, until the high gravity of the ale catches up with you within a few pages and you get lost in the spiderweb of plot and characters)

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