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

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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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  • Maureen on

    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


  • Mike Bourcier on

    A Christmas Carol with Old Curmudgeon ale.

  • Sarah on

    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.

  • MR on

    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

  • Jeremy on

    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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