Part of the fun of this column is that great moment when a beer and a book finally click and I raise my hands in triumph, shouting “SUCCESS.
The book series in question today, is the Shadow Ops series by Myke Cole, with Books one and two, Control Point and Fortress Frontier respectively, already gracing the shelves. Book Three, Breach Zone, is due out next year.
There are many things I love about this series: the strong, flawed characters, the intricate magic and its effects on the world/politics at large, its high-octane, beautifully choreographed action scenes, and it’s unflinching look at military life.
But what I’ve praised most about these books is their killer sense of pace. Cole doesn’t let up and he doesn’t slow down. He takes twists and turns at 90mph, laughing madly into the wind. And just when you think things can’t get any more intense, any faster, he kicks the Delorean into high gear and he’s all, “we don’t need roads!”
It’s this killer sense of pace, this literary burning rubber that leads me to the Scorcher #366 from Brooklyn Brewery.
The Scorcher is a very delicious pale ale, coming in at 4.5% ABV, making it a very accessible and light summer beer. This is the Shadow Ops beer for two reasons, and it’s all thanks to the new type of hop strain used in the beer, #366.
The first is that, due to the new hop presence, the Scorcher possesses a bitter hoppy taste that actually reminds me of a smoky, spinning-wheels-burning-rubber taste that pairs very well with Cole’s breakneck pacing and passionate characters. The second is that while this hop strain’s burning rubber taste is different, it is still recognizable as a pale ale, and therefore puts a new twist on a classic taste, much the same way Cole has done for the fantasy genre. As a military fantasy series, Shadow Ops has breathed new life into a very familiar genre and it’s all thanks to Cole’s appreciation and extension of what the genre is capable of.
Both are new twists on classic tastes. Both have a fiery, smoking flavor to it with qualities that are both familiar but done well. Both succeed wildly in their fields.
I hope you pick up one of the Scorcher’s or at least try it down at Brooklyn Brewery. And when you do, I hope you have a good book in your hands, maybe even one of the Shadow Ops books. You can’t go wrong with either.