Dave Hoops column: 8 great novels paired with 8 great beers
Eight recommended reads and beverage pairings.
This week I thought it would be fun to chat about a favorite pastime in my home: reading great books. I bring this up because during the pandemic we read even more than normal, and it was a great help and even a fun topic to debate as we talked about the latest reads. So today I will mention eight favorite books and pair them to beer styles to compare and read along with.
“The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” by Mark Twain
This classic book of friendship and local color (sometimes off-color) would pair well with a hoppy Pale Ale or a West Coast IPA that could stand up to the great story.
“The Lord of the Rings,” by J.R.R. Tolkien
One of two science fiction type books on this list. This book continues the story of “The Hobbit” by the same author and contains a wonderful story of pure goodness against unimaginable evil. I would pair this reading with an Imperial Stout as this deep chocolate sipping beer would be perfect by a fireplace well reading of orcs and elves and hobbits.
“The Call of the Wild,” by Jack London
One of my favorite stories of a dog and eventually a man that rescues Buck (the dog) and they forge a deep relationship that truly stands the test of time. For this book, I am pairing a favorite style of mine: a German-style Hefeweizen, a refreshing and satisfying beer that goes with the pages that fly by on this reading.
“The Sun Also Rises,” by Ernest Hemingway
A novel of young people expatriating in Europe during the roaring 1920s. A favorite author of mine, although a very complicated personal life, his body of work is must-reading. As Hemingway had his struggles with alcohol, we are pairing a light ale under 4% alcohol that is pleasant and golden.
“Moby Dick,” by Herman Melville
A classic story of man versus beast and the obsession that can almost lead to madness. A sea adventure that is perfect for a clean Czechoslovakian Bohemian Pilsener.
“Dune,” by Frank Herbert
My favorite science fiction story was published in 1965 and has generated many books and two feature movies. A story of a young prince from another world that comes to a desert planet and becomes a messiah to the natives and a just and strong ruler. This story reminds me very much of English Pale Ale, specifically Bass Ale, the very first beer trademark from the U.K.
“The Great Gatsby,” by F. Scott Fitzgerald
A story about a doomed self-made millionaire in New York in the 1920s chasing a former love named Daisy (my daughter’s name) that combines exciting writing by another troubled writer with deep introspection. My choice is another sipping beer: wheat wine, a strong wheat-based beer with wine-like strength that goes well with a slow read.
“The Razor’s Edge,” by William Somerset Maugham
Famously translated from the book into a movie starring Bill Murray in his first serious role, this riveting book describes the terrible toils of war that causes a young man to look for the meaning of life through many experiences. For this book, I think a great German Altbier with the crisp malt notes and the smooth inviting finish is the way to go.
Please email any great reads and beer style choices you may have to share. Happy reading this summer everyone.
Dave Hoops lives and works in Duluth and is a veteran brewer and beer judge. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org .