Everybody knows that a beer and a good book go quite well together — including the authors of said books. Since it’s October, everyone’s favorite month for beer (books are good any month of the year), indulge in a few of literature’s greatest quotes about the frothy stuff — from grand pronouncements to so-detailed-you-can-taste-it descriptions of the perfect brew. Then add any of your favorites missing here to the list in the comments!
“Terence O’Ryan heard him and straightway brought him a crystal cup full of the foaming ebon ale which the noble twin brothers Bungiveagh and Bungardilaun brew ever in their divine alevats, cunning as the sons of deathless Leda. For they garner the succulent berries of the hop and mass and sift and bruise and brew them and they mix therewith sour juices and bring the must to the sacred fire and cease not night or day from their toil, those cunning brothers, lords of the vat.” — James Joyce, Ulysses
“Beer’s intellectual. What a shame so many idiots drink it.” — Ray Bradbury, The October Country
“‘Did you ever taste beer?’ ‘I had a sip of it once,’ said the small servant. ‘Here’s a state of things!’ cried Mr. Swiveller, raising his eyes to the ceiling. ‘She never tasted it – it can’t be tasted in a sip!’ … Presently, he returned, followed by the boy from the public-house, who bore in one hand a plate of bread and beef, and in the other a great pot, filled with some very fragrant compound, which sent forth a grateful steam, and was indeed choice purl, made after a particular recipe which Mr. Swiveller had imparted to the landlord, at a period when he was deep in his books and desirous to conciliate his friendship.” — Charles Dickens, The Old Curiosity Shop
“Oh, this beer here is cold, cold and hop-bitter, no point coming up for air, gulp, till it’s all–hahhhh.” — Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow
“I tell you, Mr. Okada, a cold beer at the end of the day is the best thing life has to offer. Some choosy people say that a too cold beer doesn’t taste good, but I couldn’t disagree more. The first beer should be so cold you can’t even taste it. The second one should be a little less chilled, but I want that first one to be like ice. I want it to be so cold my temples throb with pain. This is my own personal preference of course.” — Haruki Murakami, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
“The best beer is where priests go to drink. For a quart of Ale is a dish for a king.” — William Shakespeare, The Winter’s Tale
Fill with mingled cream and amber, I will drain that glass again. Such hilarious visions clamber Through the chambers of my brain. Quaintest thoughts — queerest fancies, Come to life and fade away: What care I how time advances? I am drinking ale today.
— Edgar Allan Poe
“Only a pint at breakfast-time, and a pint and a half at eleven o’clock, and a quart or so at dinner. And then no more till the afternoon; and half a gallon at supper-time. No one can object to that.” — Richard Doddridge Blackmore, Lorna Doone
“It was of the most beautiful colour that the eye of an artist in beer could desire; full in body, yet brisk as a volcano; piquant, yet without a twang; luminous as an autumn sunset; free from streakiness of taste; but, finally, rather heady. The masses worshipped it, the minor gentry loved it more than wine, and by the most illustrious county families it was not despised. Anybody brought up for being drunk and disorderly in the streets of its natal borough, had only to prove that he was a stranger to the place and its liquor to be honourably dismissed by the magistrates, as one overtaken in a fault that no man could guard against who entered the town unawares.” — Thomas Hardy, The Trumpet Major
“Next to music beer was best.” — Carson McCullers, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter
“There is an ancient Celtic axiom that says ‘Good people drink good beer.’ Which is true, then as now. Just look around you in any public barroom and you will quickly see: Bad people drink bad beer. Think about it. “ — Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
“You have to work hard to deserve to drink it. But I would rather have a bottle of Ballantine Ale than any other drink after fighting a really big fish. When something has been taken out of you by strenuous exercise Ballantine puts it back in. We keep it iced in the bait box with chunks of ice packed around it. And you ought to taste it on a hot day when you have worked a big marlin fast because there were sharks after him. You are tired all the way through. The fish is landed untouched by sharks and you have a bottle of Ballantine cold in your hand and drink it cool, light and cull-bodied, so it tastes good long after you have swallowed it. That’s the test of an ale with me: whether it tastes as good afterwards as when it’s going down. Ballantine does.“ — Ernest Hemingway, ad for Ballantine Ale
“The beer tastes good to my throat, cold and bitter, and the three boys and the beer and the queer freeness of the situation makes me feel like laughing forever. So I laugh, and my lipstick leaves a red stain like a bloody crescent moon on top of the beer can. I am looking very healthy and flushed and bright-eyed, having both a good tan and a rather excellent fever.” — Sylvia Plath, The Journals of Sylvia Plath