Bottle #4: When a Beer’s Like a Great Book

This week, Scribblskiff is like CNN, except sudsier. In other words, we’re all beer, all the time.

A big beer that's at home on the range.

Why? Well, as mentioned previously here, we are celebrating “Baltimore Beer Week” and decided that a single post’s worth of palaver wouldn’t do justice to the scale of this second-annual event. As a result, we’ve been offering one brief review of a new brew each day (just like this one and this one) during this past week.

And why not. It seems like the neighborly thing to do. Besides, our selections are based on the long list of breweries supporting the 11-day Bawlmer benefit (see who the sponsors are here), or are at least something that you might find at a bar or store in this region. As always, we’ll be choosing a unique or unusual offering, and we’ll provide some suggestions for pairing our picks with food for your enhanced pleasure. Enjoy!

  • My Antonia, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. Occasionally, I’ve been known to judge a book by its cover, and I’ve purchased many a beer because of the label. But I’ve never chosen a beer because its name reminded me of a favorite book. Until now. I have fond memories of reading the Willa Cather novel that shares its title with this latest offering from Dogfish Head. And, similar to its ground-breaking literary antecedent, this “continually hopped imperial pils” is, according to the label, “a marriage of old world tradition and new world innovation.” And like the Nebraska prairies, where Cather’s free-spirited Bohemian heroine roamed, this Bohemian-style beverage is expansive, with big grassy-grainy aromas, complex citrus and fruity flavors, plenty of creamy, malty sweetness, and a driving carbonation to lift your spirits. It was textbook tasty next to a grilled burger (if only we’d had bison, right?) with Cheddar cheese, mayo, tomato, and crisp Romaine lettuce leaves. My, oh my.

And, speaking of literary drinks, I recently received a copy of In Their Cups, an anthology of poems about “drinking places, drinks, and drinkers.” Edited by A.J. Rathbun, a food/drinks writer and a poet himself, this little volume contains a heady mix of classic and newer verse, including entries from such infamous imbibers as Catullus, Li Po, and Rimbaud, as well as a few surprises, like one from Emily Dickinson — who knows, perhaps she was “the little tippler / leaning against the sun.” Best of all, it’s pocket-size, so you’ll always have a well-read drinking buddy on hand.

As always, tell us what you think. Have you attended any Baltimore Beer Week events? Are there other new beers, or beer and food pairings, that you think everyone should try? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

And be sure to visit (and join) the Scribbleskiff page on Facebook (find it here), where you can partake in wall-to-wall conversations, find additional information and suggestions from readers, and more.

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