Books & Brews

International Beer Day is August 7th and National Book Lover's Day is August 9th. Sure you could celebrate one or the other, but why not both? Why not at the same time? To expand your reading and your beer tastings, here are book and beer pairing suggestions. Most of the books are from the longlist of the 2020 and 2019 International Booker Prize (and the descriptions are from that website). If we didn't have a book on the list, I tried to find a book by that same author in our collection. Some recommendations by country are based on the nationality of the writer, where others are based on the setting of the book.

The beers are from Thrillist's list of most popular beers by country and Travel Up. I also really appreciate the website for the World Beer Cup - where you can sort and see winners by country. I was worried of the availability of those beers stateside, so I figured the most popular ones from the country would be the better pairing. Most of the beers listed here are lagers, so if you're wanting more of a stout or some other type, I would check out the World Cup or Beer Advocate. Descriptions of the beer are taken from the companies' websites. There is one non-alcoholic beverage in the list if you abstain from drinking. Oh - and if you happen to have your beer/book celebration on the 8th (natural, since it's a Saturday and in between the two days), then raise a glass for me (since that's my birthday)!

Important note: we encourage you to drink responsibly. Please do not drink if you are under the age of 21, and no matter what age - do not drink and drive.

Little Eyes coverArgentina

Book

Little Eyes by Samanta Schweblin. Translated by Megan McDowell from Spanish. Published by Oneworld.

They've infiltrated homes in Hong Kong, shops in Vancouver, the streets of Sierra Leone, town squares of Oaxaca, schools in Tel Aviv, bedrooms in Indiana.
They're not pets, nor ghosts, nor robots. They're real people, but how can a person living in Berlin walk freely through the living room of someone in Sydney? How can someone in Bangkok have breakfast with your children in Buenos Aires, without you knowing? Especially when these people are completely anonymous, unknown, untraceable.

The characters in Samanta Schweblin's wildly imaginative new novel, Little Eyes, reveal the beauty of connection between far-flung souls - but they also expose the ugly truth of our increasingly linked world. Trusting strangers can lead to unexpected love, playful encounters and marvellous adventures, but what if it can also pave the way for unimaginable terror? Schweblin has created a dark and complex world that is both familiar but also strangely unsettling, because it's our present and we're living it - we just don't know it yet.

Beer Pairing

Cerveza Quilmes - It is a balanced beer, with great freshness and a balanced body, which pairs well with fatty or heavy dishes. The gasification of this beer sweeps the palate keeping the flavor notes in the mouth, and its great freshness invites to eat, always accompanying with the drink (translated with Google)

 

The Last Lover cover China

Book

The Last Lover by Can Xue (Can Xue was on the longlist for the 2019 International Booker Prize for Love in the New Millennium). Translated by Annelise Finegan Wasmoen from Chinese. Published by Yale University Press

Who is the last lover? The novel is bursting with vividly drawn characters. Among them are Joe, sales manager of a clothing company in an unnamed Western country, and his wife, Maria, who conducts mystical experiments with the household’s cats and rosebushes. Joe’s customer Reagan is having an affair with Ida, a worker at his rubber plantation, while clothing-store owner Vincent runs away from his wife in pursuit of a woman in black who disappears over and over again. By the novel’s end, we have accompanied these characters on a long march, a naive, helpless, and forsaken search for love, because there are just some things that can’t be stopped—or helped. (from the publisher)

Beer Pairing

Tsingtao - Lager - 4% ABV. Snow Beer is actually the most popular beer in China, but it is rarely sold outside of the country - so we're going with Tsingtao. In Aug 1903, Tsingtao Brewery was founded by the Anglo-German Brewery Co. Ltd in Qingdao, China. The brewery brought the western settlers a high quality German style pilsner brewed with German technique, European high quality raw and, especially, mineral water from Laoshan spring,. The uniqueness and the quality have made Tsingtao Beer won many awards in different beer festivals.

 

The Shape of Ruins coverColombia

Book

The Shape of Ruins by Juan Gabriel Vasquez. Translated by Anne McLean from Spanish. Published by Quercus, MacLehose Press.

Whilst pacing the dark and lonely corridors of a hospital in Bogotá during the premature birth of his twin daughters, Juan Gabriel Vásquez befriends a kindly physician, Doctor Benavides. Through the doctor, Vásquez meets Carlos Carballo. A middle-aged man, Carballo is consumed by a conspiracy theory about the assassination of an up and coming politician and JFK-like figure Jorge Eliécer Gaitán in 1948. He tries to persuade Vásquez to write a novel about the murder, but despite repeated refusals Vásquez is drawn deeper into the conspiracy when Gaitán’s vertebrae, stored in a glass jar in a mutual friend’s house, goes missing. Sparking a turn of events, Vasquez opens up a second, even darker conspiracy about the assassination of another politician, Rafael Uribe Uribe, in 1914.  

Beer Pairing

Poker - Lager - 4% ABV. Poker exists to unite friends and make those good times memorable. Regardless of how different we are, Poker brings us together to share good times just being who we really are. Flavor notes - bitter with a hint of sweet flavor. Featured ingredients - two-row malt and two hop varieties.

 

 

Submission coverFrance

Book

Submission by Michel Houellebecq (Houellebecq was on the longlist for the 2020 International Booker Prize for Serotonin) Translated by Lorin Stein from French. Published by Picador.

It’s 2022. François is bored. He’s a middle-aged lecturer at the New Sorbonne University and an expert on J. K. Huysmans, the famed nineteenth-century novelist associated with the Decadent movement. But François’s own decadence is of considerably smaller scale. He sleeps with his students, eats microwave dinners, and watches YouPorn.

Meanwhile, it’s election season, and in an alliance with the Socialists, France’s new Islamic party sweeps to power―and Islamic law is instituted. Women are veiled, polygamy is encouraged, and François is offered an irresistible academic advancement―on the condition that he converts to Islam. (from the publisher)

Beer Pairing

Kronenbourg 1664 - Pale Lager - 5.5% ABV - A beer is only as good as the ingredients used to make it. That is why we use premium Strisselspalt hops, unique to Alsace, to make KRONENBOURG 1664. Known as the ‘caviar of hops’ by master brewers, Strisselspalt gives KRONENBOURG 1664 a pleasant bitterness and aromatic quality. Beer connoisseurs will notice a persistent fruity aroma, with notes of citrus peel and spices, and a medium and sustained intensity. Our beer has a pale yellow and golden hue. A fairly dense, long-lasting white creamy head, with fine bubbles, can be achieved with the perfect serve. Its good balance, fine quality and delicate bitterness really are a Taste Suprême.

Tyll cover Germany

Book

Tyll by Daniel Kehlmann. Translated by Ross Benjamin from German. Published by Quercus.

In a village like every other village in Germany, a scrawny boy balances on a rope between two trees. He’s practising. He practises by the mill, by the blacksmiths; he practises in the forest at night, where the Cold Woman whispers and goblins roam. When he comes out, he will never be the same. Tyll will escape the ordinary villages. In the mines he will defy death. On the battlefield he will run faster than cannonballs. In the courts he will trick the heads of state. As a travelling entertainer, his journey will take him across the land and into the heart of a never-ending war. A prince’s doomed acceptance of the Bohemian throne has European armies lurching brutally for dominion and now the Winter King casts a sunless pall. Between the quests of fat counts, witch-hunters and scheming queens, Tyll dances his mocking fugue; exposing the folly of kings and the wisdom of fools.

With macabre humour and moving humanity, Daniel Kehlmann lifts this legend from medieval German folklore and enters him on the stage of the Thirty Years’ War. When citizens become the playthings of politics and puppetry, Tyll, in his demonic grace and his thirst for freedom, is the very spirit of rebellion – a cork in water, a laugh in the dark, a hero for all time.

Beer Pairing

Erdinger - Wheat Beer - 5.3% ABV - Every sip leaves you wanting more – our ERDINGER Weissbier with fine yeast is the crowning glory of traditional Bavarian brewing skills. The strength of this classic wheat beer lies in the harmonious balance it achieves between the various aromas. Gently spicy wheat and yeast aromas blend with mildly bitter hops. The invigorating carbon dioxide ensures its typical liveliness. A premium beer whose full-bodied yet elegant character leaves a lasting impression of ultimate Bavarian enjoyment. A truly unique wheat beer! ERDINGER Weissbräu allows its top-fermenting specialty to mature in the bottle in the traditional manner, just like champagne. This wheat beer from Erding offers more than just sparkling refreshment – it gives a true taste of Bavaria. The taste of Bavaria.

The Memory Police cover Japan

Book

The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa. Translated by Stephen Snyder from Japanese. Published by Harvill Secker

Hat, ribbon, bird, rose. To the people on the island, a disappeared thing no longer has any meaning. It can be burned in the garden, thrown in the river or handed over to the Memory Police. Soon enough, the island forgets it ever existed. When a young novelist discovers that her editor is in danger of being taken away by the Memory Police, she desperately wants to save him. For some reason, he doesn’t forget, and it becomes increasingly difficult for him to hide his memories. Who knows what will vanish next?

The Memory Police is a beautiful, haunting and provocative fable about the power of memory and the trauma of loss, from one of Japan’s greatest writers.

Beer Pairing

Asahi - Japanese rice Lager - 5% ABV. Karakuchi is the Japanese word that captures the intricacy of Asahi Super Dry’s unique, refreshing taste. Although there is no direct translation, it describes how our beer is dry and crisp with a quick, clean finish. It was curiosity that led us to our crisp, dry Karakuchi taste. Where will your curiosity lead you?

 

 

Hurricane Season coverMexico

Book

Hurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor. Translated by Sophie Hughes from Spanish. Published by Fitzcarraldo Editions

Hurricane Season opens with the macabre discovery of a decomposing body in a small waterway on the outskirts of La Matosa, a village in rural Mexico. It soon becomes apparent that the body is that of the local witch, who is both feared by the men and relied upon by the women, helping them with love charms and illegal abortions.
Mirroring the structure of Gabriel García Márquez’s Chronicle of a Death Foretold, the novel goes back in time, recounting the events which led to La Matosa’s witch’s murder from several perspectives. Hurricane Season quickly transcends its detective story constraints: the culprits are named early on in the narrative, shifting the question to why rather than who. Through the stories of Luismi, Norma, Brando and Munra, Fernanda Melchor paints a portrait of lives governed by poverty and violence, machismo and misogyny, superstition and prejudice.

Written with a brutal lyricism that is as affecting as it is enthralling, Hurricane Season, Melchor’s first novel to appear in English, is a formidable portrait of Mexico and its demons.

Beer Pairing

Corona Extra - Lager - 4.6% ABV. With a refreshing, smooth taste balanced between heavier European imports and lighter domestic beer, Corona is an even-keeled cerveza with fruity-honey aromas and a touch of malt. The flavor is crisp, clean and well balanced between hops and malt, a superior taste profile from superior ingredients.

 

Celestial Bodies coverOman

Book

Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi. Translated by Marilyn Booth from Arabic. Published by Sandstone Press.

Celestial Bodies is set in the village of al-Awafi in Oman, where we encounter three sisters: Mayya, who marries Abdallah after a heartbreak; Asma, who marries from a sense of duty; and Khawla who rejects all offers while waiting for her beloved, who has emigrated to Canada. These three women and their families witness Oman evolve from a traditional, slave-owning society which is slowly redefining itself after the colonial era, to the crossroads of its complex present. Elegantly structured and taut, it tells of Oman’s coming-of-age through the prism of one family’s losses and loves.

Beer Pairing

Moussy - Non-Alcoholic Malt Beverage - Oman apparently doesn't have a favorite beer (like a number of Muslim countries), so I had to go with the closest place I could find that did - so this is actually the favorite of Saudi Arabia. Moussy is a Non-Alcoholic Malt Beverage originating from the mountains of Switzerland. It is produced in a state-of-the-art production facility under strict quality control by our international brew masters, who brew Moussy according to the original Swiss recipe. This contains carefully selected first-class barley malt combined with natural fresh water

Moussy was the first Non-Alcoholic Malt Beverage to be introduced into the Middle East more than 30 years ago. Today, Moussy is one of the biggest selling brands throughout the region. Moussy found flavour with local consumers due to the unique refreshing malty taste of the Classic variant, but can today also be found in a series of flavour extensions, such as Apple, Lemon Mint, Strawberry, Pomegranate, Rasberry, Lemon, and Peach. Each of the delicious flavours has the distinctive Moussy taste enhanced with a tangy fruit essence.The combination of the Classic Moussy with tangy fruits appeals to most people as a purifying thirst quencher.

 

Drive Your Plow coverPoland

Book

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk. Translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones from Polish. Published by Fitzcarraldo Editions

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead takes place in a remote village in south-west Poland where Janina Dusezjko, an eccentric woman in her 60s, describes the events surrounding the disappearance of her two dogs. When members of a local hunting club are subsequently found murdered, she becomes involved in the investigation. By no means a conventional crime story, Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead offers thought-provoking ideas on perceptions of madness, social injustice against people who are marginalised, animal rights, the hypocrisy of traditional religion, and belief in predestination.

Beer Pairing

Tyskie - Polish Lager - 5.2% ABV - Tyskie is Poles' favorite beer and "Our Best" abroad. As the only beer from Poland, Tyskie won the "Beer Oscar" - Grand Prix at the British Brewing Industry Awards. Apart from malt, hops and water, the most important ingredient of Tyskie has been... brewers. Generations of brewers from Tyskie have been taking care of the best taste continuously for 400 years. As a model Polish lager, Tyskie always has a "two-finger" foam, golden color and perfectly balanced taste between sweet and bitter.

 

 

At Dusk coverSouth Korea

Book

At Dusk by Hwang Sok-young. Translated by Sora Kim-Russell from Korean. Published by Scribe.

Park Minwoo is, by every measure, a success story. Born into poverty in a miserable neighbourhood in Seoul, he has ridden the wave of development in a rapidly modernising society. The successful director of a large architectural firm, when his company is investigated for corruption he is forced to reconsider his role in the transformation of his country. At the same time, he receives an unexpected message from an old friend, Cha Soona, a woman whom he had once loved, and then betrayed. As memories return unbidden, Minwoo recalls a world he thought had been left behind ― a world he now understands that he has helped to destroy.

Beer Pairing

Cass (Red) - Lager - 6.9% ABV - Cass Red is quite a strong lager with ABV of 6.9%―higher than any other variants of Cass. Cass Red is brewed with an aroma hop and a high-alcohol fermentation technique to offer a more refreshing, richer and deeper taste. In particular, Cass Red uses the finest aroma hop to smooth out the bitterness from a high level of alcohol. This “golden-red” lager derives its distinct color from special crystal malts.