A Book & A Beer – When I’m Gone, Look for Me in the East

I really liked the first Quan Barry book that I read, We Ride Upon Sticks which combined girls lacrosse with witchcraft. It was well funny with a dark undercurrent to it.

The new book is a world away. Literally. Mongolia is the location and twin brothers go on the search for the next Dalai Lama. The brothers paths have diverged from the other and they know what the other is thinking in unguarded moments when defenses are down, yet neither knows the other really.

The chapters are super short. One to two pages, three at most. That format fits the monastic simplicity and also propels the reader to the next chapter especially with the philosophic chapter titles such as Every House is a Hotel or Two Notes Spiraling Up Into the Dark.

The descriptions of life in Mongolia such as the food is really interesting and the posse that joins them on the search have their own stories to tell. And by the time the book ends, it has grown to be quite profound in its look at a persons path through the world.

I do not think you will find much in the way of Mongolian beer at your local store. But there are monastic beers you could find and rescue instead of the latest IPA on the shelf and I know it is not in season but maybe a dopplebock would make a good choice, one with the -ator ending in the name.

In the Tap Lines for June 2022

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We have made it to Summer.  Or as close as we can get what with climate change making things hotter and colder and just plain weather weird.  Here is what June has in store for you on the blog.

~ e-visits to (3) breweries related to June
~ special featured review of Nectar Creek Sting Ginger Mead
~Heads-Up on Los Angeles Beer Events
~ Three suggested beers to buy this month. One light, one medium and one dark
~ A Book & A Beer reads When I’m Gone, Look for Me in the East by Quan Barry
~ A Podcast & A Beer listens to Doctor Who: Redacted
~ Great Beer names and Best Beers of the Month
~ I will tap the Firkin and give my no holds barred opinion on the craft beer world.

A Book & A Beer – The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi

John Scalzi has written a rollicking novel thar skewers greed and corporations while making heroes of scientists and a lead character who “lifts things” and loves sci-fi.

On the negative side, this reads like a B movie script. Stock characters, creature, juvenile humor and obvious villain. But it is a quick and short read so if you can turn your brain off a for the duration then you will enjoy the read like I did.

There is also an alternate universe, so, for beer you can choose to dig deep and find some altbier or sticke alts which will also add some heft to this light adventure.

You could also do the opposite of what is beer popular in this world and think about what beers might be the rage if time and events had unfurled differently.

In the Tap Lines for May 2022

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Moving into May with another month of fun beer news and maybe even longer visits to breweries and even maybier festivals but for sure, this…

~ e-visits to (3) breweries in NBA playoff team cities
~ special featured reviews of Abnormal beers
~Heads-Up on Los Angeles Beer Events
~ Three suggested beers to buy this month. One light, one medium and one dark
~ A Book & A Beer reads The Kaiju Preservation Society
~ A Podcast & A Beer listens to Dishing on Julia
~ Great Beer names and Best Beers of the Month
~ I will tap the Firkin and give my no holds barred opinion on the craft beer world.

451

As someone who posts monthly about books and beer and who reviews beer books for Beer Paper LA, I don’t much like book banning.

For that reason, this new beer from Flying Dog strikes the right chord for me.

A bold and juicy 11% ABV IPA that nods to the novel Fahrenheit 451 through the beer’s name and artwork.

A Book & A Beer – South to America by Imani Perry

Time to pull away from the notion that we can just dump our racism on the south and walk away, Imani Perry takes us to the south and what she sees in South to America.

Americans need to learn how to better understand our history. So many people try to twist America into an exceptionalism pretzel without looking at our many flaws and mis-steps. This book goes state by southern state describing the history of the American south.

Perry is jaunty and thoughtful in her writing. She is very engaging and comes at the thorny issue of race from unique and thought provoking angles but I found the book absent a real through line and it was jumpy. Going from one place to another without rhyme or reason. Once settled in, each state was given its due but I found it overall not organized and a bit too memoir leaning.

To pair with this book, I want people to try a beer from a brewery or a state that you currently hold a low opinion of. For me, that could be a brewery that focuses on pastry stouts or goopy fruited beers. Then taste it and try to see why that style puts you off, try to understand it. Walk in that beer’s shoes.

In the TapLines for April 2022

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One quarter of the year gone by in a flash.  Now it is time for spring-y beers or as they should be called in SoCal, early summer ales.

~ e-visits to (3) breweries that will be pouring at the return of the Firestone Walker Invitational
~ special featured reviews of press review beers from Figueroa Mountain, Stone and Firestone Walker
~Heads-Up on Los Angeles Beer Events
~ Three suggested beers to buy this month. One light, one medium and one dark
~ A Book & A Beer reads South to America by Imani Perry
~ A Podcast & A Beer listens to History Hit with Dan Snow
~ Great Beer names and Best Beers of the Month
~ I will tap the Firkin and give my no holds barred opinion on the craft beer world.

A Book & A Beer – The Anomaly by Hervé Le Tellier

Lost meets Fringe and X-Files is how I would elevator this Goncourt winning novel by Hervé Le Tellier. The Anomaly is about one flight that is more than one.

Stop here if you are not a fan of fast paced, sci-fi. Because this book is a page turner. It practically is a sub prestige level TV show a’la Manifest that (may) still be on. But it talks chance, science, scenario 42 and is both fun, smart and a touch poignant as well.

I am talking around the plot since it is best to enjoy it in the moment. So let’s turn to the beer choices…

This will involve a little legwork to accomplish. Find a beer that has an easy to find canned on date. Then get two of them but with different dates. If you can, get one that is two or three months older. Then try both and compare.

In the Tap Lines for March 2022

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Out of Birthday Month and into a mask free world?  Not quite in L.A. County but it regular life is looming, does that mean regular beer life is here, or did I miss its re-introduction?

~ e-visits to (3) breweries that you may look past because they are “old”
~ special featured reviews of classic dark beers from yesteryear
~Heads-Up on Los Angeles Beer Events
~ Three suggested beers to buy this month. One light, one medium and one dark
~ A Book & A Beer reads The Anomaly by Hervé Le Tellier
~ A Podcast & A Beer listens to Plain English with Derek Thompson
~ Great Beer names and Best Beers of the Month
~ I will tap the Firkin and give my no holds barred opinion on the craft beer world.

A Book & A Beer – The Love Songs of W.E.B. DuBois by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers

Honorée Fanonne Jeffers has achieved quite a feat. Going from poetry to a 790 page novel and making it interesting all the way through. The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois is a Book with a capital B.

Jeffers is adept at pulling the tangled strings of personal history of individual members of an extended family tighter and tighter until the point where each step becomes a boom throughout the genealogy.

Our lead is Ailey, the youngest daughter. But all the characters get a moment in the sun, hence the length of the book. She is fierce and smart in equal measure but she like most of the characters has lived with weight saddled on them and then they add more with their life choices.

This book has garnered all sorts of accolades but I wish that there was less tripping of one’s self going on. Early pregnancy and drugs are there but at times the book is just too much. A little nod to balance would have highlighted the rocky times in sharper focus especially considering the slavery and Native American darkness of early Georgia that flashes throughout the book. I thought, more than a few times, “don’t do that, it is not going to end well.”

I am going to go the really obvious route here. For those of us in Los Angeles, Crowns & Hops is a brewery coming to Inglewood in the next year or two. They first and foremost a quite good beer maker and second are a black run business. Get a mixed 4-pack if you haven’t had their beers before.