Book and a Beer with Mike Schneider of Belching Monkey

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.

Mike Schneider (aka The Michael Schneider, aka Schneider Mike) is the man behind Belching Monkey, one of my favorite craft beer blogs. Mike combines his love of good beer and indie rock into an awesome, entertaining and regularly updated video blog. The social media ace that he is, you can connect with Mike on Twitter, Facebook and Friendfeed, and find his content on Tumblr and Flickr.

Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown

A children’s book, you say? Yes. This is the gold standard for children’s books. The story is soothing, calm and kind. Color images portray a potentially busy room on its way to dreamland while the black and white call-outs single out the good night routine. What is this book about? It’s about routine. Kids crave routine and in this day, it’s hard for the digital moms and dads to look up from their blackberries to keep their kids on task. Goodnight Moon is a subtle, yet effective reminder that simplicity is calming and that a little discipline is the pinnacle. Good night to the old lady whispering “Hush!”. A *must* nightly read for any kid ages 3 and under.

eliotness_bottleglassFAVORITE BEER
Eliot Ness from Great Lakes Brewing Company

Cleveland. My former town. I usually tell people that there are two awesome things about my old stomping grounds: leaving and the Great Lakes Brewing Company. It is not entirely true. The people are great and there isn’t anything quite like Panini’s, where you get fried meats, slaw and french fries on half a loaf of fresh bread. It’s a mistake-on-the-lake style heart attack waiting to happen, but who cares after you have had your fill of brews like Dortmunder, Edmund Fitzgerald Porter, Christmas Ale and Burning River Pale Ale?

The Great Lakes Brewing Company is one of the nation’s finest breweries. Don’t laugh. They have been recognized on several occasions by the World Beer Festival winning GOLD medals for Dortmunder and Eliot Ness, which is awesome in a town known for choking. The shame of Great Lakes offerings is that they do not yet have national distribution. I was lucky to get my hands on Eliot Ness Amber Lager. Boston’s wizard of copy, Jeff Cutler happened to be tweeting from Wegmans in upstate New York and it did not take much to convince him to bring me back a 12.

I cracked and sniffed. I did not realize that an Amber Ale could have so much personality. The beer pours a reddish brown color that is an ode to the rust belt from which it was born. The nose is deceiving. It’s on the light side. It’s very floral, almost dainty. But whirl it around in your mouth a few times and you realize that this is the beer that you have been waiting for. It starts bitter and ends bitter. It’s bold for an Amber. There’s a bit of sweetness – vanilla and caramel and a hint of peppery spice. The mouth feel is light to medium with little carbonation. You just want to savor every last sip of this one, but that said it is highly sessionable. At 6.2%, ABV you need to be a bit careful with this one because of its deceiving smoothness. This beer is the pride of Cleveland and should serve as a reminder to the people that they are capable of greatness.

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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