In the Tap Lines for October 2021

header_attractionsI am a strict seasonalist.  No PSL before October. Partially due to being in LA where fall arrives late and we only get a sprinkling of fresh hop beers.  So hold off on your Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Let’s enjoy October first,

~ e-visits to (3) breweries taken from the pages of Modern British Beer
~ special featured reviews of autumnal 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 Children’s Bible by Lydia Millet
~ A Podcast & A Beer listens to The Great James Bond Car Robbery
~ 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 – Tell the Machine Goodnight

I chose this book because NPR recommended it, read HERE. And this slightly in the future sci-fi novel from Katie Williams really works well in spots. The lead character, as it were, shifts every one or two chapters to show a broader portrait of the group of people being focused on and the happiness machine, Apricity, that brings them together.

Apricity is owned by what appears to be a better run morally tech company. You swab your cheek, place the saliva into the machine and it will spit out three suggested actions that you should do to achieve happiness. Simple as “get more sleep”, “get a dog” and others much harder and scarier.

But this book isn’t about the dark edges so much. It is more involved with Pearl, the Apricity tech, her ex, her son and a celebrity Calla Pax. Those chapters are the weakest.

There is life at stake but nothing huge like life v death. Even the corporate espionage was soft pedaled. Everyone is mostly nice if odd. The conceit and the machine are the best part of this tale.

Humans and Americans in particular tend to not do what is in their best interest. I would love to see the results of a beer Apricity on me. Would it go way off in one direction, would it tell me to drink an old favorite long forgotten or would it shield me from hops that I do not like. Interesting thought experiment for sure.

In the Tap Lines for September 2021

header_attractionsHello September.  Where the first two weeks are filled with Fest and Pumpkin beers which then disappear before tge month is over.  Why? Cause ‘Merica needs to move on to the next holiday pronto.  But let’s drink in the here and the now this month.

~ e-visits to (3) breweries in college football towns
~ special featured reviews of beers bought from City Beer Store
~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 Tell the Machine Goodnight by Katie Williams
~ A Podcast & A Beer listens to Gene & Roger
~ 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 – Rachel Cusk Triology

Rarely do I talk shit about a book. I know that, at best, I could maybe muster a passable short story so I tread lightly when it comes to my views in the monthly book post.

But despite the positive reviews from the NY Times, I am flummoxed by the praise for this trilogy by Rachel Cusk.

All three books follow our protagonist, a writer, as she travels to various points of the globe talking with, well, mostly just listening to the uninteresting stories of others. She does interviews about her books that seem fake because no real questions are asked. She talks with a contractor about a house. She chats with other writers. But it is all so passive. Nothing happens. No epiphanies small or large.

I kept reading thinking that a payoff was coming. A rant from the writer, something explosive all waiting in the third book. Alas, not to be. It just ends with a whimper.

That leads me to the beer to pair with it. Since the trilogy is missing fireworks, this is where the beer comes in. Find something with Chai or jalapenos or a bracing jolt of lemon to add anything to the experience. Or maybe grab your favorite coffee beer to keep yourself awake.

In the Tap Lines for August 2021

header_attractionsWelcome to the second half of 2021!  Sad to say that hopes that the world would be back to normal by now have yet to come true thanks to the  unvaccinated but there is plenty of good beer news to talk about, like…

~ e-visits to (3) breweries in Anaheim
~ special featured reviews of beers from breweries in the El Segundo area.
~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 a Rachel Cusk trilogy
~ A Podcast & A Beer listens to Dolly Parton’s America
~ 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 – 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea

I have been on a classics kick of late. Read some Dickens, Wells and Stevenson and now onto Jules Verne and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. This is going to be a weird admission but I always thought leagues meant depth, when in fact it means length of the voyage.

This book really is light on action and character development and is pretty much just straight up geography and descriptions of underwater life. The lead character of M. Arronax is just about as milquetoast as they come and Captain Nemo just up and disappears for stretches of time. I did like how Verne described the functionality of the boat which was surprisingly close to what a submarine now does (with some exceptions of course). But overall, this screams movie adaptation where the sights could be fully displayed and actors creating more dimensional characters.

Oyster stout would be one choice or a kelp beer if you want to be truly obvious but I would suggest finding beers from around the world and matching that part of the Nautilus voyage with a beer from nearby.

In the Tap Lines for July 2021

header_attractionsHalf of the year is gone by.  Time certainly flies by as do all the new beers.  Too many to count but I will find the beer news to keep you updated for the last half of 2021.

~ e-visits to (3) breweries that do these slushie brightly hued beers
~ special featured reviews of beers from Oregon purchased via City Beer of San Francisco
~Heads-Up on Los Angeles Beer Events (not as far in the future now, events)
~ Three suggested beers to buy this month. One light, one medium and one dark
~ A Book & A Beer reads 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
~ A Podcast & A Beer listens to Gangster Capitalism
~ 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 – Time Lord Victorious / All Flesh is Grass

During the downtime between Doctor Who seasons, there has been a whole Time Lord Victorious series encompassing books, audio, video games and even escape rooms. I recently read my second book from this saga, All Flesh is Grass and will try to review it as a standalone book as well as part of a larger story.

I really like the villain of the piece, the Kotturuh. Partially because they are not typical. Not to the level of, say, The Silence or The Weeping Angels but certainly more layered and actually dangerous than many one show creatures.

I did also like the interplay between Doctors 8 and 9 and I wish the book had been just them so that more depth and detail between that pair could be explored. I am a big Tennant fan but I feel his arc is a familiar one. Played out effectively already in The Waters of Mars. His function in the narrative could have been played by a sub big bad on my opinion.

I do like this story and maybe parts of it will come up with the current Doctor.

Now I could pair this with some Tardis blue slushie smoothie beer but instead I suggest getting all three colors of Chimay beer to accompany this book to match the three Doctors.

In the Tap Lines for June 2021

header_attractionsTwo shots down and the world is opening up.  Took more time to get here than I thought last year but plans for trips are already being made and they will probably include some beer.  Now let’s take a trip into what is coming up on the blog.

~ e-visits to (3) breweries NBA Playoff cities.
~ special featured reviews of beers from Eureka Brewing
~Heads-Up on Los Angeles Beer Events (not as far in the future now, events)
~ Three suggested beers to buy this month. One light, one medium and one dark
~ A Book & A Beer reads Time Lord Victorious – All Flesh is Grass
~ A Podcast & A Beer listens to My Dad Wrote a Porno
~ 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 Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel

This is my second novel from Emily St. John Mandel that I have read preceded by Station Eleven which was an interesting read but I was a little off-put by the voice and style of the author. I liked the backdrop for this book which is a Ponzi scheme that characters become enmeshed in.

And for the most part I liked the book. Oddly, the architect of the investment theft has his moment in the book and his story is the most affecting and filled with ghosts of memory. In fact, the people inside the scheme and that section of the book was by far the most gripping. The lead character though is a bit slack and not a story mover which may explain the flashbacks and forwards and the long character list. I also got the feeling that the books are of the same universe but because Station Eleven was set in post pandemic world that the timelines were muddy.

Because of the grift element, I would recommend either finding a ‘whale’ beer in your fridge or purchase a beer that is all hype. Not because I think that hyped beers are bad but because, this book makes you think of how people can be swindled and if you are in the mindset, you can judge the beer more by the contents than the cover.