I picked up the expensive hobby of drinking craft beer a few years ago from a good friend of mine who collects rare beers and crafts his own award-winning home brews (no big deal). The pricey habit of reading, on the other hand, is a borderline obsession I've had for quite some time now. Naturally, these leisurely activities were bound to collide. Since I'm from Orange County and currently residing in Los Angeles, I drew on my local tasting room experience to pair good reads with delicious Southern California craft brews. Cheers!
1. The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald & West Coast IPA Green Flash
There's been a lot of ink spilled regarding the symbolism of the single green light on Daisy's dock. Ponder your own interpretation over a bottle of Green Flash, an appropriately named brewery for such an occasion. I usually opt for the West Coast IPA, but choose whichever brew suits your taste buds.
2. Catcher in the Rye J.D. Salinger & Sour in the Rye The Bruery
Teenage angst pairs well with a great sour beer, and the substantial amount of rye malt in The Bruery's aptly named Sour in the Rye is the perfect complement to Holden Caulfield's coming-of-age tale in Catcher in the Rye. Sip on this sour while Holden grapples with the difficult transition from adolescence to adulthood.
3. Anne of Green Gables Lucy Maud Montgomery & Framboise De Amorosa The Lost Abbey
In the infamous drunk scene, Anne accidentally serves her friend Diana red currant wine instead of raspberry cordial. Get the best of both beverages with The Lost Abbey's Framboise De Amorosa, a sour beer that's spiked with raspberries and aged in freshly emptied red wine barrels. Just be sure you don't repeat Anne's mistake because this liquid is too precious to waste (and you shouldn't serve minors and all that legal jargon).
4. "Howl and Other Poems" Allen Ginsberg & Wolf Among Weeds IPA Golden Road Brewing
"Howl" has everything that a great poem needs to become the subject of an obscenity trial: anarchy, alcohol, profanity, heroin, sex, homosexuality, mental hospitals, suicide. Get in the counterculture beat spirit with the suitably named Wolf Among Weeds IPA.
5. "Doctor Faustus" Christopher Marlowe & Arrogant Bastard Ale Stone Brewing Co.
Indulge in some liquid arrogance while reading the tale of one of the most infamous arrogant bastards in literature, Doctor Faustus. If you're not familiar with the play, written by one of Shakespeare's contemporaries, the title character sells his soul to the devil in exchange for 24 years of fame as a magician. Short-term gain for the ultimate price -- a true arrogant bastard. (The alcohol may also help make the Elizabethan English more palatable.)
6. The Fellowship of the Ring J.R.R. Tolkien & Get Up Offa That Brown Golden Road Brewing
While at The Prancing Pony, Frodo jumps onto a table and breaks out into a ridiculous song -- the lyrics of which will lead you to the appropriate beverage pairing for part one of The Lord of the Rings trilogy:
"There is an inn, a merry old inn
beneath an old grey hill,
And there they brew a beer so brown
That the Man in the Moon himself came down
one night to drink his fill."
I recommend Golden Road Brewing's Get Up Offa That Brown not only because it's an excellent brown ale, but also because its name correlates to the hobbits' struggle to up and leave The Shire to go on an adventure.
7. "The Divine Comedy" Dante Alighieri & Inferno Ale The Lost Abbey
Make the epic journey through the underworld alongside Dante and Virgil with none other than The Lost Abbey's Inferno Ale. This potent Belgian ale will take the edge off as you travel through the nine circles of hell and witness poetic justice at work. With a leopard, lion and she-wolf ahead, not to mention Satan himself, you may need something to put your mind at ease.
8. "The Cherry Orchard" Anton Chekhov & Oude Tart With Sour Cherries The Bruery
Enjoy a bottle of The Bruery's world-class Oude Tart With Sour Cherries with Chekhov's play about the decline of an aristocratic Russian family. This sour beer is the perfect accompaniment to the tragicomedy as the bittersweet taste will linger on your palate until they chop down the cherry orchard in Act IV.
What about you? Do you ever pair a novel with a drink? Any recommendations? Please share!