Book and a Beer with Chris Cavallari of Part Time Vagabond

baabBook and a Beer is a new regular feature here at Brews + Books – a chance for authors, brewers and bloggers to tell you a little bit about their favorite books and beers.

Chris Cavallari is a jack-of-many-trades living here in Portland, Maine.  An avid traveler and outdoorsman, one of Chris’ latest projects is Part Time Vagabond.  The blog is dedicated to making travel and outdoor living affordable and possible for people who still have full-time jobs and responsibilities, as well as a travelogue of sorts for Chris.  He was kind enough to take a few minutes to write about his a few of his favorite books and beers.


On Writing, by Stephen King

I guess it’s a given that by living in Maine, you’re a Stephen King fan by default (I’m sure many will disagree, but come on, he’s a hometown hero). King pumps out huge amounts of pulp, some greats that turn into classics, some duds that would serve better as doorstops. Though his consistency is a bit lacking, King’s talent is undeniable. When he published On Writing — which reads like half memoir, half textbook (but a really exciting textbook) — even I was a bit leery. What could this pop writer who churns out candy-corn novels teach anyone about writing, let alone writing well? My mind was pretty much made up as I cracked the binding, but my brother — a trusted literary scholar in my eyes — told me that I must read this book, that I wouldn’t regret it. So I did.

I did not regret it.

It’s been some time since my initial reading, but I do recall finding myself unable to put the book down, reading late into the night until my eyelids could no longer support their own weight. King tells his story, starting with his early years as a child growing up in Maine, to his years as a student at the University of Maine, continuing through adulthood. Filled with stories of triumph and tragedy, the book weaves a rich tapestry of advice, information, and intriguing stories. King’s writing style is evident throughout, as he helps aspiring writers deal with writer’s block, rejection, and the trials of life. It’s a wonderful piece of non-fiction from which almost anyone can glean a nugget of inspiration.

Other Faves:
Rebel Without A Crew, Robert Rodriguez
Kitchen Confidential, Anthony Bourdain
World War Z, Max Brooks
Einstein’s Dreams, Alan Lightman

bostonlagerpintglassFAVORITE BEER
Samuel Adams Boston Lager

Aside from loving the taste of Samuel Adams Boston Lager, I love the story behind the brewery. Jim Koch is an inspiration to small business people around the world — or should be. I mean, the guy started out by brewing a batch of the lager and going bar to bar selling it himself. If that’s not dedication to your product, I don’t know what is. But more than that, there’s a passion that remains behind the brewing of this now mass marketed beer, and it emanates from each bottle. It’s a quality you simply don’t find in many other brands, and it shows. The Boston Beer Company produces a great selection of beers, including some very high end ones that resemble top-shelf liqueurs more than sudsy brews. Yet the Boston Lager remains the hallmark of the Samuel Adams brand, and with good reason. Its consistent blend of hops, malt, and barley combined with a time consuming — but ultimately higher quality — brewing process result in a beer that is both complex and smooth. It’s a bit of a heavy lager, one that pairs well with beef or chicken, but ultimately stands strong on its own.

Other Faves:
Sebago Runabout Red
Lakefront Cream City Pale Ale
Smithwick’s Irish Red Ale

Have a favorite beer and a favorite book?  Want to write a few paragraphs for Brews + Books?  Drop me a line at


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