Books & Brews: Staff Recommendations
Let’s be real: nobody’s going anywhere for a while. We’ve finally come to terms with it and decided that Week Whoevenremembers of Quarantine is our chance to start making a dent in that infinite reading list we “never have time” to address. A book and a brew to pass the time is a remarkable treat!
Whether you’re a verified bookworm or your personal library is the dustiest part of your place, we’ve compiled a reading and drinking list that has something for everyone. Yes, even for those of you/us who don’t own a bookshelf. Fictional, historical, dramatical, and sheer mind-expandical, we think these page-turners are even better when paired with a beverage.
Get page-flipping and brew-sipping, friends! As always, feel free to hit us up with your own recommendations (or to argue about ours).
BOOK: The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern 
RECOMMENDED BY: Danielle Click, Merchandise Coordinator
Gorgeously weaving through different timelines, this book leads us to that age-old piece of wisdom that all good things take time. The nautical imagery of this book’s cover is shared with the label of Quint, a boozy, 14.5% barrel-aged golden ale from our Advanced Oak program. That’s not where the similarities end; Morgenstern’s second novel has a complex storyline involving bees, honey being one of the major flavor complexities of this beer. Although the story’s ending may not be as sweet as this beer, it will leave you just as satisfied
BOOK: Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut 
BEER: Black Robusto
RECOMMENDED BY: Eric Ortega, Drake’s Barrel House General Manager
Kurt Vonnegut can describe vast worlds and societies with such sarcastic elegance. We’ve heard the term “tired optimism” used to describe his writing, a tone that truly resonates these days. While people are probably most familiar with Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five, his entire bibliography is rich with good reads. Breakfast of Champions breaks the fourth wall from the get-go, and has characters that are obscure, eccentric, and slowly losing their sanity… Sounds familiar! It’s a book about free will, mental illness, and the cruelties of American life; all filtered through the lens of two men falling apart in completely different ways.
The title may refer to having a Martini for breakfast, but we can’t help but think to pair this novel with our own breakfast beer. Smooth, bittersweet, and rich, Black Robusto Porter compliments
BOOK: The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson 
RECOMMENDED BY: John Gittins, VP of Sales & Marketing
This book is an amazingly researched account of the first years of the Battle of Britain and England’s attempts to stay alive during the onslaught of Nazi Germany. Overlapping is a very intimate look at Churchill’s personal and professional life, along with his family and his Nazi adversaries… It captivates readers like any great adventure novel and offers some perspective on getting through difficult times, like the ones we find ourselves in today. A long, lean, crisp 19.2oz can of Flyway Pils really adds to the book as we hear tales of warplanes engaging in the sky and Churchill’s legendary love of a good drink.
BOOK: Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid 
BEER: Mission Kriek
RECOMMENDED BY: Carrie Beurskins, Marketing Project Manager
This novel focuses on a fictional band in the mid-60s to early 70s, taking the form of an interview with the members long after they’ve broken up. A fun page-turner that proves as an excellent distraction for our current situation, it chronicles the band’s rise to fame and their ultimate demise. A highly-recommended pairing is Mission Kriek, our sour blonde ale with tartarian black cherries. This dynamic beer’s subtle sweetness fades beautifully to puckering sourness, befitting of the band’s journey.
BOOK: How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan 
BEER: Cult of the Sun
RECOMMENDED BY: Brian Stechschulte, Director of Marketing
Part history, part first-person account, Pollan’s most recent book is an analysis of past and present research focused on the potential mind-altering benefits of drugs championed by the psychedelic movement. It’s not a self-help book. Pollan provides an engaging personal account of his own experimentation, and the thoughts and feelings it provoked. We recommend you slowly sip on Cult of the Sun, letting sour waves of yuzu and citron wash over you, while pondering your expansive mind.
BOOK: A Song of Ice and Fire: A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin
RECOMMENDED BY: Lauren Young, Events & Community Manager
Confession: while making it through the first Game of Thrones book was a steady breeze, we’ve been stuck on the same page of A Clash of Kings for at least two years. Yes, honestly. Specifically, we’ve reread Chapter 48 – Daenerys IV, Page 1 a dozen times. This spot is shamefully bookmarked with a dentist appointment reminder from 2018, but the chapter is about everyone’s favorite dragon queen so we’re sure it’s our fault, not the book’s.
With epic references to a place so evil, “it drinks the morning sun,” bitter warlocks “who eat dust and drink of shadows,” and an awaiting “pleasure barge,” there’s only one brew we would dare pair this page with: Denogginizer. This over-the-top double IPA is massively packed with hops and goes down smooth. So smooth, in fact, that we’re already done with our first bottle so we’re just gonna grab another beer real quick. The rest of this chapter can wait until another day…
BOOK: The Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers 
BEER: Island Diaries
RECOMMENDED BY: Chelsea Holifield, Digital Content Manager
The true story of a Bay Area man as he dives into the astonishing history of coffee, dedicating himself to the mission of reviving the Yemeni coffee market in an economically viable and sustainable way. If you’re dying to leave the house, imagine how our protagonist felt in 2015 when he (no joke) was trapped in the middle of a wartorn country with no way to leave, a U.S. citizen abandoned by our government as bombs rained from the sky.
Eggers aptly weaves a young man’s coming of age to an historical education on how craft coffee has gained recognition. Coffee beans from around the world can impart hundreds of nuanced aromatic and flavor notes, much like the characteristics of hops and yeast that (home)brewers can geek out on. Crack open Island Diaries, our 10% brew with a coffee-like backbone, inhale the complexity of flavor, and enjoy a story both familiar and foreign… All while dreaming of the next time you can visit a coffee shop with a friend.
BOOK: The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler 
BEER: Drakonic Imperial Stout
RECOMMENDED BY: John Gillooly, Brewmaster
This “hardboiled crime novel” is a classic noir. A complex detective story loaded with secrets and double-crossings, it’s no wonder this novel is considering one of the best of the last century. Hell, it’s been adapted for film twice already. We’re pairing this refutable masterpiece with Drakonic, our classic Imperial Stout. Smooth, dense and seductive, Drakonic is the perfect drinking companion to this private eye novel of kidnapping, pornography and murder.