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Beer and Book Pairings for International Beer Day

August 7th, 2020

Each year, on the first Friday of August, beer enthusiasts around the world celebrate International Beer Day. As one of the oldest drinks in history, this beloved beverage continues to bring together people of all backgrounds, as they set aside their work and their differences and enjoy one another’s company with a brewski in hand. Here at the Reading Group Center, we have several beer fans in our midst—a couple of whom actually brew their own batches at home! Today, we are celebrating by pairing our favorite beers with their literary counterparts. Whether you like hops, a dark stout, or a classic ale, grab your bottle opener and crack open a book alongside your brew.


Barleywine

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Complex, creative, and very strong, a Barleywine is unapologetically unusual. Perfect for enjoying on a rare occasion, we plan to sip this while immersing ourselves in Erin Morgenstern’s timeless love story set in a secret underground world of pirates, painters, lovers, liars, and ships.

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Homebrewed

Wow, No Thank You. by Samantha Irby

Just like a batch of homebrewed beer where you never quite know what you’re going to find, Samantha Irby’s laugh-out-loud essay collection is quirky and unpredictable as she bemoans the struggles of being middle-aged and uncomfortable in her own skin.

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Wild Ale

The Girl Who Lived Twice by David Lagercrantz

What fits the unstoppable Lisbeth Salander and her dragon tattoo better than the full, funky flavors of a wild ale? Both are fantastic for enjoying on a long summer day, so crack open a cold one as Lisbeth faces the most important battle of her life.

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Lambic

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Spontaneously fermented, with no commercial yeast involved, these beers are authentic to the region in which they are brewed. Plus, the Alewives of centuries past, who primarily brewed lambic beers, give us some serious Margaret Atwood vibes.

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Porter

Jack Maggs by Peter Carey

There’s so much history between Porters and foggy Londontown, so what better book to pair it with than Peter Carey’s captivating mystery set in the shadowy streets of nineteenth-century London?

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Lager

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Lagers take a long time to ferment at lower temps, so we’re getting cozy with this spellbinding novel about civilization’s collapse and the survival of art and humanity that’s perfect for a cold night.

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Sour

The Silence of the White City by Eva Garcia Saenz

Though it may seem unusual at first, sours are irresistible to those who have acquired the taste. This reminds us of the first book in The White City trilogy that uniquely weaves together a brilliant detective story with the folklore and mythology of the Basque region of Spain.

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Belgian Witbier

Chances Are . . . by Richard Russo

This wheaty and tangy beer pairs well with seafood, and what better place to enjoy seafood than on Martha’s Vineyard, the setting of Richard Russo’s charming mystery, where three friends reunite and discover they are all hiding their own secrets?

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Oatmeal Stout

The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon

A psychological thriller about ghostly secrets and dark choices? We’re in if you are. Grab a frosted mug and pour yourself a generous portion of this dark, roasty stout that makes us feel wintry and mysterious.

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Farmhouse Ale

Exhalation by Ted Chiang

Made by farmers with whatever grain and other ingredients they have on hand, farmhouse ales are unpredictable, creative, and even personal, much like Ted Chiang’s original and provocative story collection that tackles some of humanity’s oldest questions.

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