Home-brewed Beer

Pynchon fans can get a bit of a bad wrap—all pretentious weirdo dudes with neck-beards. Homebrewers have something of a similar reputation. In both cases of course, reality is far more capacious than the stereotypes. But you might expect some overlap between the two communities. Any other homebrewing Pynchonites out there? Pynchon’s characters lean towards the grape when…

Vodka with Milk, Vegetable Soup, and Watermelon Juice

…so quoth a commenter when the Guardian books first introduced our frivolous little endeavour to the world. And I know of course one shouldn’t read the comments and less still feed the trolls, but I have been looking forward to this post ever since. As any true Pynchonite should realise, Pynchondom abounds with dedicated souls who wouldn’t blink at slurping…

Barcelona Beer (Estrella / Moritz)

In the epilogue of V., Stencil’s headed off to lunch or something with Maijstral when he’s intercepted by someone who seems to be “a Greek Pope or parish priest.” They abandon Maijstral and proceed down an alley, and the priest pulls off his beard and skull cap, revealing himself as Demivolt, one of Stencil’s spy compadres from…

Guinness Stout

V. reaches its apex in Chapter 16, in Valetta, Malta, where the crew of the USS Scaffold are “getting liberty.” Stencil and Profane show up later in the chapter, but it starts out with Pappy Hod and Fat Clyde heading ashore amid sun-showers and “even a rainbow.” They made their way through the dockyard. Around them…

Gallo wine with ice

After a couple of moody European spirits (oude jenever and absinthe), it seems about time we have something more frivolous. This one definitely fits that bill. It’s pink and light and sweet and totally without bite. At the start of Chapter Six of V., Profane’s just finished his first day (or actually, night) of alligator hunting in the sewers…

Absinthe with water

From Hemingway’s Papa Doble, on to another drink with a great literary/artistic pedigree: absinthe. We’re all familiar with its green fairy aura of inspired madness and creative self-annihilation. The stuff’s been put away by Baudelaire, Emile Zola, Oscar Wilde, Picasso, Modigliani, etc etc etc. Even more impressively, it gets mentioned in both V. and Gravity’s Rainbow. In V., a not exactly gallant…

Boilermaker

Whiskey and Alement hides its vast whisky stores and careful beer selection behind a curtained door in a dead pocket of the Melbourne CBD. It’s a Pynchonesque place, in its way. Hardly lit, full of insiders to its secret and outsiders to the surrounding world. Stocked with mysteriously titled–or just numbered–bottles (“Sing along with Julie Andrews”, “Glamping…

Chianti

Sticking with V for another: it’s 1899 and we’re in Florence with a “seedy looking Calabrese” called Cesare. Cesare’s mates have just commandeered a barge loaded with crated Chianti flasks, throwing the captain into the Arno. Cesare waved. “A riverdeci.” Soon they had disappeared, dissolved in the darkness. Cesare put his hands in his pockets and started to…

Chivas Regal

We’re in the second section of Chapter five (in which Stencil goes west with an alligator) of V., and Winsome’s sitting on his “grotesque” espresso machine smoking something referred to as “string.”  The string was from Bloomingdale’s, fine quality: procured by Charisma several months before on one of his sporadic work binges; he’d been a shipping clerk that time….