Books & Brews: My Beer Year / Three Notch’d Brewing Company’s Biggie S’mores

Two of my favorite things in the world are craft beer and books. On the last Thursday of every month I pair a book I love with a pint to sip while reading it. If you’re celebrating Thanksgiving today, I hope your day is full of all your favorites, as well!

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I’ve mentioned before that I’m mostly a fiction reader, but that when I do pick up non-fiction it typically has close ties to food (aka, the delicious memoir)– so you can imagine my excitement when I heard about Lucy Burningham’s new book My Beer Year. Because you know if anything gets me more excited than food, it’s beer. The premise behind the book is that Burningham, a journalist who has written extensively about craft beer, decides to study to take the test to become a Certified Cicerone. If you’re familiar with the concept of a sommelier in the world of wine– someone who is able to identify styles by taste and know the history of a particular type of wine while also suggesting a food pairing– then think of a Cicerone as this to the world of beer. In My Beer Year, Burningham  shares the details of her journey to the exam, from visiting hop farms, to attending the Great American Beer Festival and traveling to Belgium to cleaning beer lines at a local brew pub.

Here’s what I loved about the book: Continue reading

Books & Brews: From the Sideline / New Belgium Brewing’s Shift Pale Lager

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Two of my favorite things in the world are craft beer and books. On the last Thursday of every month I pair a story I love with a pint to sip while reading it. 

This month I read Amy Avanzino’s second novel, FROM THE SIDELINE. Technically it’s the second book in her Wake-up Series, but I had no problem reading it as a stand-alone without reading the first book (though I really want to, now). In FROM THE SIDELINE, the main character, Autumn Kovac, reluctantly allows her only son to try out for the local youth football team. She’s terrified about sending her ten-year-old onto the field to be tackled by faster, larger, and far more coordinated children. She’s convinced he’ll sustain a head-injury, at worst, or be ridiculed by his peers, at other worst. Even though she can’t see any positive outcome, trying out for the team is only thing has made him happy since his father left– so she gives him the green light, certain he won’t make the cut. When he does, she finds herself thrown into a world she knows nothing about and finds out she has as much learning and growing to do as her son, if not more.

Here’s what I loved about the book: Continue reading

The Unintended Consequence of All My Beer Talk

I write about beer a lot. It’s become this thing that people sort of know about me, which is great. I love that folks are reading my Books & Brews posts or articles/interviews in which I’ve mentioned my love of craft beer. But there’s this one little unintended consequence of my very open, very frequent, and very public profession of beer-love that’s been nagging at me lately.

Here are two scenarios that occur with surprising regularity: 1) someone says “I was going to bring beer, but I would have NO idea what to bring you,” when arriving at my house for  dinner/a party/hamburgers on the patio; 2) I’m told “Sorry, we only have *insert non-craft beer brand*,” when I’ve been invited to someone else’s home for dinner/a party/hamburgers on the patio. I’d like to take a moment today to assuage all these fears people have about serving me beer: Continue reading

Books & Brews: Heart Conditions / Saison du BUFF

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Two of my favorite things in the world are craft beer and books. On the last Thursday of every month I pair a story I love with a pint to sip while reading it, under the theory that there is a perfect beer to compliment every book.

HEART CONDITIONS is the third book in Phoebe Fox’s Breakup Doctor series which chronicles the adventures of therapist Brook Ogden as she helps her clients through heartbreak, while navigating her own relationships with family, friends, and lovers. The concept is a fresh take on the age-old notion of physician heal thyself. As a writer, it’s the type or premise you read and think– that’s brilliant, why didn’t I think of that? Here’s what I loved about this book: Continue reading

Books & Brews: All the Difference / Troegs’ Nugget Nectar

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Two of my favorite things in the world are craft beer and books. On the last Thursday of every month I pair a women’s fiction novel I love with the perfect pint to sip while reading it, under the theory that there is a perfect beer to compliment every book.

Up this month is Leah Ferguson’s debut novel, All the Difference. What struck me most about this book, even just reading the back cover description, was the unique plot structure. The story opens on New Years Eve with the main character Molly being proposed to by her boyfriend Scott. Earlier that day she learned she was pregnant. He doesn’t know about the baby and she’s not entirely sure how to answer his question. From that moment forward, in alternating chapters, we learn what happens if she says yes versus no to his proposal.You read that description and think, so the story moves forward but in two different directions? How does that work? All I can tell you is that is works really, really beautifully. And in the end Ferguson draws out some very poignant thoughts about fate, personal choice and resilience. Continue reading

Books & Brews: Jagged Hearts / Starr Hill Double Platinum

Two of my favorite things in the world are books and craft beer.  Out of this grew the idea that maybe pairings aren’t just for the table anymore; perhaps there is a perfect beer for every book . . .

This is an especially exciting installment of Books & Brews because it’s about not only beer and books, but also rock n’ roll.  I recently read the first installment in Lashell Collins’ Jagged Ivory series, Jagged Hearts. Continue reading

A Love Letter to My Local

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Dear Popkin Tavern-

You’re closing and that means our eight year relationship ends this Saturday. I would be lying if I tried to pretend that I wasn’t sad about it.  Don’t get me wrong, there are a bunch of fabulous restaurants in my neighborhood.  I love each in its own right, but you – you were my local. Continue reading