Drink your book
by Sal Robinson
Talk about your tie-ins: fantastic indie bookstore Powellâ€™s in Portland, Oregon has created a beer inspired by Moby-Dick to celebrate their 41st anniversary, with Rogue Ales and Spirits, which also sells something called â€śBrewshoes.â€ť But this is no slap-a-woodcut-on-it type of book merchandise. The beer, called â€śWhite Whale Ale,â€ť contains actual pages from a copy of Moby-Dick, added to the brew while it was brewing. According to the Powellâ€™s site:
At an auction in Chicago, Michael Powell landed a first edition of Herman Melville’s The Whale (renamed Moby-Dick in subsequent editions), and the book has occupied a special place in his heart ever since. In part, this special-edition beer is a tribute to Michael and his family, as well as to the legacy of Powell’s.
Which makes me wonder, is there anything you canâ€™t put in beer and not have it taste weird? (And also, if you put first edition pages in there, would you get a woodsier aroma? Top notes of chocolate and blubber?) Or, looking at it more optimistically, what other literature-related artifacts can we put in beer? Samuel Beckettâ€™s socks? Philip Rothâ€™s empty hard drives? Jonathan Ames’ little beanie? (Iâ€™ve long wanted to put that beanie somewhere.) The possibilities seem endless. One thing I know you canâ€™t put in beer, though: Kindles. Ruins the beer.
Sal Robinson is an editor at Melville House, and co-founder of the Bridge Series, a reading series focused on translation.