Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Pairing Your Books With Beer

Lets face it, regardless of what some hoity toity blogger says, beer pairs about the same with any food. IPA, stout, lager, wheat....they all go equally well with a burger and steak. They're not fooling anyone. But how does one go about pairing their fine collection of heavenly suds with a book, you might ask? Well, as with anything, tastes will vary, so this is only my personal preferences, and only pertain to horror fiction. The list would be much longer if I included sci-fi, which may be another post in the future. This was a difficult task, seeing as my taste in beers is always maturing, and is far from the mainstream, as is most of my reading materials. You may have your own preferences, and if so, I'd greatly appreciate hearing what they are.

 Imperial Stout
This dark, rich, full bodied beer pairs well with straight up horror. It's warm and cozy and comforting when you're sitting in your favorite chair and enjoying some truly horrific tale. There are many great imperial stouts available today, such as Narwhal by Sierra Nevada Brewing.

 Chocolate Porter
Chocolate porters and chocolate stouts tend to pair well with classic subtle horror such as the many brilliant works of Bradbury. I don't know if the smooth, creamy texture somehow compliments the work, or vise versa, but it seems to work really well together.

 Blond & Pale Ale
A crisp, clean American style ale is what I turn to when reading a good mystery. There's something that links that satisfying freshness with intrigue and suspense. A heavier beer will bog you down with this kind of book. 

For intense horror, one needs an intense beer. A beer that delivers a mega punch to the gut, much like the type of horror it pairs best with. If blood and guts is your thing in fiction, then you need a drink that delivers the purest essence of what makes a beer a beer, and I can think of no other style that meets that standard than an IPA.

The classic wheat beer is one of those beers that, realistically, will pair nicely with just about any type of book. Well, maybe not romance novels, but everything else. A nice wheat with a bit of fruit brewed into it, I think pairs best with more whimsical fiction, or even dark fantasy.

Yes, I put Guinness in it's own class, I like it that much. And frankly, there isn't anything I can't read with a Guinness by my side. But, if I had to choose, I'd say it pairs best with speculative fiction. It's dark and mysterious, which lends well to a segment of fiction that has the same qualities. In fact, I'm enjoying one even as I type this.


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