When I tell people that we're covering Ontario beer for thirty days almost all of them adopt a smug look and say something like "oh, that must be fun" as if we've surrounded ourselves in a fort made from a dozen two-fours and aren't coming out until all the beer is finished. Well, that's not the case and this is one of those posts that I hope proves my point.
Beer is being written about these days in evocative prose. We're given the impression that it can transport us through our memories and imagination to different places and times. This trick is familiar territory for fiction and poetry so it was a natural choice for the Ontario Media Development Corporation to mark the 25th anniversary of the Trillium Book Awards by partnering with the Ontario Craft Brewers and Wine Country Ontario to create two pairings for six of the past award winners.
Wine is close to our hearts at Spotlight but we'll put those matches aside for now (at least until September when it's wine's turn for 30 days of attention) and focus on the brewed matches, three in each English and French:
Jean Mohsen Fahmy's L'Agonie des dieux (2006) with Muskoka Mad Tom IPA
Andree Lacelle's Tant de vie s'egare (1995) with Amsterdam Framboise
Michele Matteau's Passerelles (2010) with Flying Monkeys Hoptical Illusion
Karen Solie's Pigeon (2010) with Wellington County Imperial Russian Stout
Wayson Choy's "All That Matter" (2005) with King Pilsner
Alice Munro's The Love of a Good Woman (1999) with Mill Street Belgian-style Wit Beer
Each literature-drink duo is backed by a fitting description. For Karen Solie's collection of dystopian poetry Pigeon and Wellington's Imperial Russian Stout: "It is generally in the darkness one finds mistaken perceptions, creeping catastrophe and an eros of danger. Strength will be required to match the intensity of Pigeon and it will be found in the richness of roasted malts, hints of caramel and molasses, and the imperial, 8% alcohol content, of this amazing smooth Russian Stout."
On one hand it seems like a lot of effort went into making that seem plausible. On the other I see settling down with a good book as pleasurable and if someone else wants to help suggest what I should be pouring, all the more relaxing.
This week on June 20th the winners of the 25th annual Trillium Book Awards will be announced at the Toronto Reference Library. The night before, at 6:30 PM in Bram and Bluma Appel Salon, the library will host a free reading by this year's finalists from their recognised works.
We may be writing about beer but sometimes "I'm going to the library" means just that. It's only too bad that I've yet to find a library with any of these beers on tap.
Written by David Ort
As one of Spotlight’s contributing editors, David enjoys turning his mind (and keyboard) to a wide variety of topics ranging from recipes to restaurants to craft beer. When he’s not writing for Spotlight Toronto, David shares his thoughts on new restaurants and beer at PostCity.com and all things food and drink on his own site, Food With Legs.