In honor of the launch of his newest book, The Ocean At The End Of The Lane, today’s, “If Books Were Beer,” transforms one of my favorites novels into one of my favorite drinks.
Today, American Gods meets Abraxas.
This is the book that brought me into the world of adult fantasy, grabbing me by the collar and throwing me headfirst into a world of myth, murder, and secrets, written with an intelligence and intensity I had yet to experience.
Considered one of Gaiman’s signature works, American Gods is an exploration of what happens to the gods and goddesses when their followers abandon them, and to what ends they will go to reclaim their power when assaulted on all sides. Told from the perspective of the enigmatic Shadow Moon, Gaiman deftly brings to life a complex web of old gods, gods of the new age, and those trapped between them.
I knew that whatever beer was to be paired with this book needed to be worth it. This is a big, difficult book with many secrets and characters that are larger than life, larger than thought even. The beer with this book needed to be shadowy but sophisticated, complex but enjoyable, exotic but familiar. After much thought, I knew that beer had to be Perennial’s Abraxas.
Classified as an Imperial Stout, and coming in at a dizzying 10.0 ABV, Abraxas is a behemoth of a beer, and one that can certainly stand next to American Gods.
A dessert stout, Abraxas is a complex concoction of parts both familiar and exotic, combining vanilla beans, cacao nibs, cinnamon sticks and ancho-chiles, to give it a sweet, smokey, and hot flavor, that will remind you every bit of Mr. Wednesday’s lurching merry-go-round magic*. All those flavors, much like American Gods, may seem heady at first, mixing and swirling and confusing, as your palette tries to recognize everything that’s going on. But give it time, and all the threads will start to pull themselves together into one big, delicious beer.
American Gods is one of my favorite novels, and it’s rich, complex web of myth and mystery is a perfect pairing to the exotic and rich flavor of Abraxas. They both may take some time to pick apart, and you may need to try them more than once to appreciate the many ingredients.
But give them both time, and you’ll be amazed.
*Note: Please don’t drink this while on a merry-go-round. It will not open up a magical portal into the headspace of ancient, mythical figures, and you will scare many a child. If it does, please contact me right away.
Also, Neil Gaiman’s newest novel, The Ocean At The End Of The Lane is out now. I don’t mean to tell you what to do, but I think it’d be wise to drop most everything, save a child (and even then, go with your heart), and go get yourself a copy right this moment.
Or maybe this moment.
But no longer than that.