A Book & A Beer – Endless Night by Agatha Christie

My parents had the full collection of Agatha Christie books. I never really got into them but I saw a lonely book of hers in a Little Free Library so I picked it up as a change of pace.

The book is Endless Night

It was not what I expected. Yes, there was an heiress, greedy relatives, a curse and a few scattered murders but it was set in a more modern ’60s-’70s England and there was no detective to gather all the suspects around a fire. I guessed half correctly but I liked the rather fierce ending to the tale and the landscape conjured by Christie.

This was an excellent fall read and so I would recommend a couple beers to pair with this. Specific to Los Angeles choices but similar beers can be found in your area.

First is Foliage, an Autumn Lager from Enegren Brewing. Here are notes about the beer, “German malts give this lager its copper color and full body, while American Chinook and Cascade hops add a snappy pine and citrus kick.”

Then to Beachwood for Freudian Sip which “is brewed with toasty Vienna malt & floral German hops. This crisp amber lager is no slip of the palate.”

In the Tap Lines for November 2022

Halloween just passed, Turkey Day a’comin quick and before you can blink, Christmas. All of that means holiday beers and winter warmers and IPAs dressed up cold for the snow. Plus, this…

~ e-visits to (3) breweries from the Brewseum Breweries

~ special featured reviews of the Sierra Nevada Bourbon Barrel Bigfoot Barleywine

~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 Endless Night by Agatha Christie

~ A Podcast & A Beer listens to The Briefcase featuring Casey Holdahl

~ New Beer Releases 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 – Less by Andrew Sean Greer

I am not a prolific Facebook poster but what I do post the most about are the books I am reading and the book that has sparked the most feedback has been Less by Andrew Sean Greer.  The Pulitzer Prize winning book follows the travels of Arthur Less as he avoids the wedding of a former flame.

Billed as a comic novel, it is subtly narrated by that former flame in a very effective way that I found the book more inner quest than laugh out loud comedy.  There are moments such as the fruitless attempt at securing a VAT refund that are funny and quite a few one liners that are chuckle inducing but once Less gets a piece of bad news early in the book it starts the gears of his mind rolling and the book becomes poignant.

I found out about the book because a sequel is now out, Less is Lost. So with that in mind, the beer choice is to find a sequel beer.  A new Little Thing from Sierra Nevada, a fruited American Gose from Anderson Valley or a Mind Haze from Firestone Walker to name three California ones.  

In the Tap Lines for October 2022

Each year, I give my royal blessing for the beer loving masses to drink pumpkin beer now that we have reached October.  So run and buy a pumpkin, hollow it out, pour a pumpkin beer or three inside and put a tap on that gourd.

~ e-visits to (3) breweries from around California

~ 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 Less by Andrew Sean Greer

~ A Podcast & A Beer listens to Scam Likely

~ New Beer Releases 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 – Bourbon Empire by Reid Mitenbuler

Of course the book of the month is about bourbon. Reid Mitenbuler looks at bourbon through slightly jaded eyes in Bourbon Empire.

The sub-title gives the scope of the narrative, The past and future of America’s whiskey. Overall Mitenbuler does a succinct job of pulling back the curtain on the business of bourbon detailing how the beverage looks way more artisanal than the business structure behind it actually is.

I did find the constant referencing back to Jefferson v Hamilton a bit overdone and a little too easy to boil things down to local and agrarian v business and industry. I also felt there was a missed opportunity to show the way that bourbon spun out of prohibition in comparison to beer and wine. I would almost prefer less time spent in that era and more in modern times detailing the new small distilling operations that have sprung up mostly because the chapter on Coppersea Distilling was quite interesting.

This book excels when it is busting myths and showing how the sausage is made without a PR firm spin to it. The fact that done brands were actually traded between competing firms was new news to me.

To drink with this book, I suggest getting yourself a California Common or the Kentucky version and compare it to Anchor Steam. That copyrighted name and its fallout is a close cousin to some of the business going on in bourbon.

In the Tap Lines for September 2022

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This month I will be making my first ever trip to Kentucky, specifically, the Bourbon Trail from Louisville to Bardstown.  So get a snifter out, there is going to be some bourbon talk this month.

~ e-visits to (3) breweries from cities that also distill spirits
~ special featured review of Kentucky
~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 Bourbon Empire by Reid Mitenbuler
~ A Podcast & A Beer listens to Bourbon Pursuit
~ New Beer Releases 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 – Blacktop Wasteland by S.A. Cosby

Some books you have to read with a capital R, others just propel you page by page. Blacktop Wasteland by S.A. Cosby is the latter.

Despite that propulsion, I was left with questions about characters questionable choices throughout the book. As hard as Cosby tries and as hard-headed as main character Beauregard “Bug” Montage is, selling his daddy’s car is so plainly the best course of action that the suffering wife character becomes one dimensional whenever she asks him to sell it.

Damn great name for a lead character though, especially the last name.

Secondly, throwing in with n’er do well or even n’er do the bare minimum Ronnie Sessions is just big stupid.

I can certainly see this as a movie, hopefully a limited series which might be able to flesh characters out more.

Beer wise, the soon-to-open L.A. brewery driven would be a hip choice or head to El Segundo for Upshift Brewing and order either the Usual Suspects Hazy IPA or go bigger to Double Clutch DIPA.

In the Tap Lines for August 2022

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August is a non travel outside California month so I will take the weekends to play catch-up with L.A. breweries that I haven’t been to in a bit. But if you do travel, maybe layover in NewJersey and show support to their breweries who have been burdened with some truly galling laws.

~ e-visits to (3) breweries from New Jersey who have been handcuffed by anti-beer laws
~ special featured review of pilsners and lagers
~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 Blacktop Wasteland by S.A. Cosby
~ A Podcast & A Beer listens to A History of Coffee
~ New Beer Releases 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 – Tracy Flick Can’t Win by Tom Perotta

I have not seen the movie Election nor have I read a Tom Perotta novel before even though his works have been made into a lot of TV.

Maybe this wasn’t the best book in his list to start with then. Not because it is a sequel, I don’t mind them and even like checking in on the same character in later books.

No, this book just seemed slight. Sure most of the characters are bruised and beaten by life and make decisions based on that pain but they seem paper thin still.

And do not be fooled, this is not a Tracy Flick book. She is one of many characters who get their turn at the narrator mic and her arc is fine but her hurdles seem to pop up out of nowhere.

My main flaw found with this book is the end. There is an incident at the school where Tracy works. The person causing the incident gets basically one chapter before then creating havoc. It feels forced and too sudden and really ended any chance of me recommending the book.

I haven’t had too many negative book reviews so it is new territory for me when choosing a beer pairing. But let’s tack to Sierra Nevada and choose a few “little things” beers. Hazy Little Thing, Wild Little Thing, Sunny Little Thing and Big Little Thing. You could consider brand extensions like a sequel and the characters in this book could be described as sunny, wild, big and hazy (especially in character motivation).

In the Tap Lines for July 2022

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Even though I have lived in Los Angeles for quite some time, I never like the sweaty season.  July is the start of the heat that beats me down.  But I will be escaping to Portland this month and will relay any NW beer news I find. But before that, a quick interview with brewer Brian Waters from Figueroa Mountain about him and the big L.A. news.

~ e-visits to (3) breweries from the Pacific Northwest
~ special featured review of Morning Phase Sour from Eagle Rock Brewery
~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 Tracy Flick Can’t Win
~ A Podcast & A Beer listens to Betwixt the Sheets
~ 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.