We hear that word thrown around a lot in literature and for good reason. Many of the greats, the classics, the leviathans of story, revolve around this word, bittersweet. Because that’s the human experience, yeah? We have ups and we have downs, triumphs and failures, joy and sorrow.
Bitter and sweet.
If Books Were Beer today looks at the webcomic Unsounded by Ashley Cope. (You can find my review of the whole series to date here at The Ranting Dragon, and an interview with Madame Cope at the same place, here.)
Unsounded tells the tale of young Sette Frummagem, the daughter of the Lord of Thieves in Sharteshane, as she is given the task of bringing her cousin, Stockyard, to heel out in the Western countries. Not one to send his twelve-year-old daughter across the continent alone, the Lord of Thieves has sent along an undead wright by the name of Duane Adelier, whose tongue is silver and whose magic is gold, to be Sette’s companion. However, what starts as a simple journey west soon becomes something much larger and more harrowing than either expected.
The beauty of this comic is in its bittersweet narrative. From page to page, Cope creates moments of gut-busting laughter and beautiful artwork and touching moments, but just as deftly, she’ll offer sadness and tragedy, sorrow and heartbreak. Its a story with joyous highs and painful lows, that ache and celebrate all the more because of how much we care about these characters and their lives.
The Unsounded beer needs to encapsulate these two opposite but equal qualities, at once letting the sweetness show, but also bringing the bitter into play. They need to play off of one another, while highlighting each.
Say hello to the Falco IPA by Evil Twin Brewing:
Golden-orange like a summer sunrise, bitter and sweet in equal measure, the Falco IPA is my Unsounded beer cause boy, does it bring the bittersweet. The citrus mixes perfectly with the earthy hops, making a smooth brew. Coming in at 7.0% ABV, it’s delicious without being overpowering, sweet without being cloying and bitter without drowning your palette.
Both will make you weep. The Falco from the flavor, Unsounded from the everything.