Literary Happy Hour: Beer and Picture Book Edition!

pouring-beerWhen I get home from a long day at work (I’m a children’s librarian, so that means eight plus hours of kids, books and overall awesomeness), there’s nothing better than cracking open a nice cold brew. While I’m sipping, I might chat with my husband or watch a little TV to unwind. I’ll often want to read, but even with just a little alcohol flowing through my system, I have a very difficult time concentrating on anything written above a second-grade level. So what do I do? Read picture books, of course! Beers and books go together perfectly when the ratio of words to page-space is nice and big. Here are some of my favorite pairings:


Rogue Sriracha StoutDragons Love Tacos, by Adam Rubin, illustrated by Daniel Salmieri

dragons     rogue

As the title suggests, dragons have a penchant for tacos, but give them salsa to go with it and you’re in for an incendiary surprise. Since I put Sriracha on almost everything I consume, Rogue’s Sriracha Stout seemed like a logical accompaniment for this hilarious taco-licious book. When the beer first hits the palate, it tastes like a traditional stout – strong espresso and dark chocolate flavors – but a few seconds later, the spicy Huy Fong Sriracha flavors surface and may make you feel like one of Rubin’s fire-breathing dragons. The beer’s 750 ml bottle looks nearly identical to the iconic green-topped rooster sauce container and is the perfect picture book condiment.


Victory Brewing Co. Golden Monkey AleCaps for Sale, written and illustrated by Esphyr Slobodkina

caps-for-sale    victory-golden-monkey

Golden Monkey Ale is my absolute favorite beer and I would recommend it for any and all activities, but it pairs especially well with a reading of Caps for Sale. Similar to the cap-stealing monkeys in the book, Golden Monkey has a tricky nature. It is a Belgian-style tripel ale, which means it is brewed with three times the malt as typical Belgian ales and is known for high ABV levels. When brewed well (as Golden Monkey is), the alcohol flavor is well-hidden, creating a deceptively potent potable. A classic monkey-see-monkey-do denouement to Caps for Sale saves the peddler protagonist from losing all his wares, and with its spicy smooth finish, this tripel also delivers a happy ending.


Full Sail Session Premium LagerThe Princess & the Pony, written and illustrated by Kate Beaton

princess-and-pony    session-lager

Need a fat, flatulent pony in your life? (You know you do!) Then give Kate Beaton’s The Princess & the Pony a read. Princess Pinecone desperately wants a gallant steed to help her become a warrior princess, but when her parents give her a chubby pony with a gas problem, she’s not sure she’ll ever win a battle with him at her side. I’ll admit the primary reason I chose Full Sail Brewing Company’s Session Lager as this book’s pairing is because its short, stout bottle reminded me of the pony’s physical attributes, but Session Lager’s numerous medals from the World Beer Championships make the beer an even more fitting choice. At the end of the book, the pony is instrumental in winning a great battle for Princess Pinecone and they take home top prize. This malty lager and incredibly entertaining book are both winners!


Eylsian Dayglow IPA I Really Like Slop!, written and illustrated Mo Willems

i-really-like-slop     dayglow-ipa

If you spend a fair amount of time with kids you’ve probably heard, “Don’t yuck my yum,” at the dinner table or in the cafeteria (Adult translation: “Don’t talk smack about my food, especially if you haven’t tried it.”) and it’s the primary theme of the inimitable Mo Willem’s latest Elephant & Piggie installment, I Really Like Slop. In the story, Piggie extols the culinary virtues of “slop” and desperately wants Elephant Gerald to try it. Gerald is a fantastic friend and even though slop isn’t exactly his speed, he gives it taste. Does he like it? You’ll have to read the book to find out, but I was inspired by Gerald’s willingness to take a risk and decided to pair this story with a beer I’d been too chicken to try until now.

The tiger eyes shooting rainbow lasers on the Elysian Dayglow IPA bottle had leered at me from the craft beer shelves of my liquor store for a while, so I gave it a whirl, and I’m so glad I did. Dayglow has a forward hoppiness without being overpowering and a refreshing grapefruit fragrance that would go well with most dishes, possibly even slop. In the spirit of this book, I challenge you to take a walk on the wild side and sample a beer that might be a yuck, but hopefully ends up a yum.

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