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Beers and Books

Authors and Characters We’d Like to Grab a Drink With

By Ashly Moore Sheldon • July 06, 2020

Our Beer-Fest Fantasy

Since most large gatherings are canceled this year, we are relying on our imagination to take us where we want to go. This week, we're creating the perfect literary Beer Fest. Who are the authors you'd like to meet up with at the bar? For that matter, we can even populate our fantasy fest with some of their most memorable characters. Here are some of the literary figures we'd like to imbibe with.

Bookish Drinking Buddies

For a quart of ale is a dish for a king. —William Shakespeare

Who would pass up the chance to ruminate over a couple of brews with the Bard? This scenario is simply too much fun and the idea reminds us of the delightfully anachronistic 1998 film Shakespeare in Love. The ideal atmosphere would need to be quite rustic, of course. A beer fest crossed with a Renaissance fair, perhaps. Choosing a character from one of his plays to round out the group is tough. So many good options! But we decided on Portia from The Merchant of Venice for her bold spirit and love of words.

Luckily the pleasures of friendship, of unreserved conversation, of similarity of taste and opinions, will make good amends for orange wine. —Jane Austen

Austen's letters to her beloved sister Cassandra frequently referenced her enjoyment of wine and mead (and occasionally beer). We quite fancy the idea of catching up on some gossip and biting social commentary with the literary maven. Just imagine her clever repartee. And as for her characters, we would choose soulful Marianne from Sense and Sensibility for a long, deep chat about poetry, music, and passion. (Or for some mindless entertainment, maybe we'll go with the fun-loving Lydia from Pride and Prejudice.)

Beer's intellectual. What a shame so many idiots drink it. —Ray Bradbury

We'd love to see where the wildly imaginative Bradbury would go during a happy hour discussion. It would be so cool just to hear how he came up with some of the brilliantly creative ideas he wrote about: From the future ramifications of a crushed butterfly in his short story A Sound of Thunder to the terrifying book-burning dystopia of Fahrenheit 451. And as a third wheel to this trippy get-together, we'll extend an invitation to Muhe Ca from The Martian Chronicles. (Because how often do you get to drink beer with a Martian?)

Next to music, beer was best. —Carson McCullers

According to stories about the Southern Gothic author, McCullers often started her day with a beer at her typewriter as she began work. In fact, it has been reported that she often drank all day long (which we don't recommend). In any case, for a coherent chat, it might be best to meet up with her for a midday ale. With close friends Truman Capote and Tennessee Williams, McCullers probably had plenty of good stories about colorful personalities. In fact, that describes a lot of her quirky characters too! For our lunchdate, we could include Berenice from The Member of the Wedding to dispense some good advice on how to navigate life.

Ho! Ho! Ho! To the bottle I go. To heal my heart and drown my woe. —J. R. R. Tolkien

After connecting at the college where they both taught, Tolkien and C. S. Lewis became friends. The two would reportedly meet up in dim English pubs and talk about their writing. As the story goes, they were often each other's first readers for manuscripts and Tolkien even went so far as to suggest that, but for Lewis's encouragement, he might never have published his seminal stories of Middle-earth. For a fantasy beerfest date, this would be about as good as it gets. But let's throw in Gandalf from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy to make it supernaturally special.

We'd love to hear which authors and characters you fantasize about sharing a beer (or wine? tea? dessert?) with! Let us know in the comments!

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