ALERT: St. Patrick’s Day is 24 hours away! I like to celebrate St. Paddy’s by breaking out my green sweater, breaking open a new book, and breaking the seal of a great craft beer. Lucky for you (no pun intended), I’ve compiled this list of perfect books and beer pairings:
Inspired by the old Celtic word for beer, “Curmi/Cuirim,” this tart wheat beer immediately came to mind when I was reading Lyrebird by Cecelia Ahern. Set in Ireland, Lyrebird is a young woman secluded from the world with a secret talent that no one has ever seen before. This is a story of uniqueness and wildness, much like Curim Gold and its delicate flavours of peach, banana, and plum.
Hop City Brewing Co.’s 8th Sin Black Lager is thrilling in itself: mocha, molasses, roasted nut, vanilla, and faint grassy hops make it the go-to lager for Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson. This murder-mystery-thriller follows Kate through her discovery that her neighbour has been brutally murdered. With danger around every corner, Kate struggles not to let her anxiety get the best of her. You need this light malty beer to calm your nerves as this story unfolds.
Sweet and spicy, Wellington Brewery’s Kentucky Cow is a seasonal brew that goes exceptionally well with Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O’Neill. This international bestseller centers around Baby, a 13-year-old with the responsibilities of a grown woman. Her mother died years ago, and her father is always looking for his “chocolate milk” fix, which Baby knows is really heroine. Kentucky Cow is fragrant with notes of chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, cinnamon, and raspberry – equally smooth and equally fiery.
This mix of thriller, true crime, and memoir is best served with Old Angus ale from Maclean’s Brewery. It’s a dark brown ale with chocolate and caramel flavours, described as “tough as nails and stubborn as a mule.” I can’t think of a better match than Whipping Boy by Allen Kurzweil, the true story of his lifelong search for his childhood bully. Kurzweil’s search takes him all over the world, and he refuses to give up his quest for closure and justice. Both this beer and this book prove that stubborn is not always a bad thing.
For me, “Corona” is synonymous with “beach.” That said, Beach House by Georgia Bockoven is a great companion for a bottle (or two) of Corona. They’re powerful and bittersweet, light yet courageous. This book tells the stories of three families who rent the same beach house year after year. Slowly but surely, their lives begin to change, and they learn that what happens on the beach doesn’t always stay there. Grab a copy of Beach House, a Corona, and a slice of lime for your instant vacay this St. Patrick’s Day.
Weihenstephaner Hefeweiss: a mouthful, yeasty, and palate-cleansing beer. It’s the perfect match for the light and refreshing Be Frank with Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson. Famous author M. M. “Mimi” Banning has been in hiding for decades, but after she’s scammed of all her earnings, she’s flat broke. She turns to the only thing she knows: Her eccentric son, Frank, immediately takes to his new nanny, Alice, and their stories begin to intertwine more than they ever expected. This novel is a mix of humor, drama, and family that’s perfect between genres, just as this wheat beer is between tastings.
Inspired by late-night stories around the fire, Mad Tom IPA from Muskoka Brewery is the obvious accompaniment to More Than Words Can Say by Robert Barclay. It’s a multigenerational family story set in a cottage; a novel of family secrets that has been compared to the works of Nicholas Sparks. This IPA has a crisp, citrusy undertow and will instantly grab your attention – much like this deep, enticing book.
Award-winning author Neil Gaiman’s Trigger Warning goes perfectly with Mythology from Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery. This pilsner from Barrie, Ontario won the Canadian Brewing Awards’ European Style Lager of the Year. Trigger Warning is a collection of short fiction that explores horror, poetry, fairy tales, and – you guessed it – mythology. With a hint of traditional noble hops, this modern pilsner is superbly suitable for lovers of fantasy.
A mysterious beer for a mysterious novel. Nocturnal Animals by Austin Wright had me up half the night wondering what would become of the fictional Tony and the very real Susan. Much like this Full Steam Stout from Rare Bird Craft Beer, this book is rich and dark. This stout has hints of coffee and chocolate – necessary caffeine that’ll keep you up to finish this page-turning thriller.
Aside from the fact that the cover and the can are *gorgeously* similar, Commonwealth and Somersby’s Elderflower Lime Cider go together perfectly. This cider has a full, sweet, floral taste that’s lively and unexpected. Ann Patchett’s bestselling new book is told through stories of the unexpected: a kiss at a family christening party that changes lives for generations. Families dissolve and merge, but the surprises don’t stop there. This fruity, carbonated cider is an excellent mate for this sparkling novel.
St. Patrick’s Day is tomorrow… which is a Friday… do you see where I’m going with this?
So there you have it! Books, beer, bliss. What’s your favourite beer-book pairing? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @SavvyReader.
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