Here at Bookish, we love pairing a great book with a nice cold beer. Suzanne Baltsar, author of Trouble Brewing, is very much on the same page. In her new novel, she tells the story of Piper Williams, a woman working in the craft brewing world who feels a strong attraction to gastropub owner Blake Reed. Here, Baltsar pairs some of her favorite books and beers. Read on—we hope you’re thirsty!
I love the pop of the cap from a new bottle of beer. But while some people stay with one beer year-round, I’m a believer in mixing it up based on season and mood. There are delicious pumpkin beers for the fall, coffee stouts to warm you up on a cold winter’s night, fruit-infused ales that pair with the bloom of spring, and crisp, refreshing lagers to enjoy poolside in the summer. I’ve got a list of beers to pair with books to enjoy the whole year through.
In case you’ve been living under a rock, The Kiss Quotient has been flying off the shelves everywhere. The story of awkward mathematician Stella and handsome and sweet Michael is the romance you didn’t know you’ve been missing. It’s a twist on Pretty Woman, with Stella hiring Michael to teach her how to date, including some steamy how-to’s about the birds and the bees. Enjoy all the laugh-out-loud and swoon-worthy moments with the delicious and complex taste of the 90 Minute IPA from Dogfish Head.
The Last Place You Look is a gritty mystery with a perfectly imperfect main character. Roxane is a private investigator who is good at finding people, and she’s enlisted to help solve the disappearance of woman from fifteen years ago that just might get a man off of death row. But Roxane is dealing with her own demons including the death of her father and her love of whiskey. Try Black Note stout from Bell’s Brewing. It’s a bourbon barrel-aged stout with layered flavors that will pair well with all the layers of this book.
I have enjoyed all of Farrah Rochon’s Holmes series. Set in New Orleans, this series follows different members of the Holmes family as they find their happily-ever-afters. But, of course, not without some ups and downs. My favorite book of the series is Awaken Me, about playboy Reid, who is working as a plumber for his cousin’s construction company, and comic book-loving Brooklyn, who has been hired as the new site coordinator. There is nothing I love more than a woman not afraid to invade a “man’s world,” except a new book boyfriend. You’ll find both in Awaken Me. Read it with Wrought Iron IPA from Abita Beer in Louisiana for a taste of New Orleans.
Amy and Paul were kids in love at summer camp, separated by heartbreak and time. As luck would have it, they are reunited at that very same summer camp over a decade later when Amy takes a job as the new camp director. There is enough heat between Amy and Paul to light a fire, making this a definite blush-inducing read. I didn’t go to summer camp, but One Match Fire by Lissa Linden made me feel like I did. Read this second-chance romance with the Blonde Ale from Tofino Brewing Company, preferably while sitting around a campfire.
In the border town of Lloydminster, Canada, everybody’s got secrets. Border Markers, a collection of short stories, is a haunting read. Each story is told from the perspective of a different character, revealing the town’s quirks and a broken family. This is a quick yet emotional read—a look at a place full of people that stay with you long after you’ve read it. Take a cue from some of the book’s characters and open up a can of Molson Canadian lager for a taste of prairie life.
Life On The Leash is a book that harkens back to the classic Meg Ryan romantic comedy movies. Cora Bellamy is a popular dog trainer in Washington, DC, who’s got a great history with pups, but a not-so-great history with men. With witty humor, a love triangle, and lots of adorable dogs, this is a wonderful, romantic book to read while hanging out with your favorite furry companion, doggo or not. Pick up Rocket Dog Rye IPA by Laughing Dog, a crisp yet spicy beer that is perfect to pair up while you devour Victoria Schade’s debut.
Jennifer Weiner is unparalleled in women’s fiction, my favorite of her books being Who Do You Love. It is a heart-wrenching rollercoaster of life and love. Starting when a young boy and girl meet in the ER, a lifetime of highs and lows bring them together and force them apart over the course of three decades. We walk—and sometimes run—with them through their journeys, crying and smiling at different times. Who Do You Love shows us how love can grow and change, and yet stay exactly the same. Try Eugene Porter by Revolution Brewing, a porter that is brewed with dark chocolate malt. This tastes just as good as any other chocolate you’ve been craving, and you’ll love it as much as you do this book.
Suzanne Baltsar’s long history with books can be traced back to the second grade when she learned she could earn free pizzas in exchange for book reports, thus beginning her addiction to personal pan pizzas and reading. Her love for reading eventually turned into a love of storytelling. When she’s not writing romance novels, her nine-to-five is managing a small cinema, but she also has her own film company, for which she wrote and directed a narrative feature in 2013. She writes and lives her happily ever afters in Pennsylvania with a Mr. Brawny look-a-like and a couple of children, some furry, some not.