Beer and Books

'our beer’s magic / as meth'

For this one, I've decided to pair up one of my favourite collections of poetry, Drunk By Noon by Jennifer L Knox, with the beer Wytchmaker by Jester King brewery. For something to resemble Knox's wackiness I had to find a special beer, and so I did! This number is very light but also incredibly complex. The beer's spice comes through at the end and blends with the carbonation to create a lovely fizzy finish which compliments the crazy flavours throughout the rest of the palette.

The beer is sour in parts, but the sourness is subtle, oaky, a kind of spicy, bread-y sourness, just like how the sour bitterness evident in Knox's volume doesn't take itself too seriously.

Smell wise, the beer smells like antique furniture but in a good way, like walking into a really arty flea market. I don't know why this reminds me of Knox, but its so weird and unexpected from a beer, just like her collections stray from the status quo of poetry. After all, we don't often pick up a collection of poetry and expect plastic surgery, porn, fried chickens, gas stations, Randy Newman songs, and Barbie.

‘I could come out and say I’m totally freaking out, but this is a poem, so I will say,

“darker grows every leaf/hov’ring o’er the red, red meat.”’

In her essay ‘I chose the Poodle: Thwarting Expectations and Shooting Yourself in the Foot with

Humour’ Jennifer L Knox states:

In a classical concerto, no one expects a slide whistle. Or a duck call. So it is

precisely all the lofty expectations of poems - depth, transcendence, elevated

language - and poets - that they be sincere and masterful - that make poetry an

ideal medium in which to thwart expectations and revel in incongruity.

I feel as though Wytchmaker is full of these duck calls, it is revelling against the lofty expectations of beer. It defies norms of it’s style; its saison-ish but the saison flavours aren’t overrun by cloviness, its a red ale but that aspect doesn’t dominate the entire beer, instead just adds so many extra layers to the flavour. This is the same as Knox, who envelops all the expected flavours of poetry in a surreal, satirical jacket. Critics have stated that, considering the canon of poetry, ‘John Clare was enamored of the English countryside, and Jennifer L. Knox is enamored of the guys smoking a bong and ‘shrooming in a van out in the back of the house’. I feel as though the beer has the same relationship to the canon of brewing.

Knox's collection is comic and artistic genius, packed full of gorgeous, lovable kitsch, just as Wytchmaker is crammed with weird and wonderful flavours. I highly recommend both.