In our latest Bitch Beer Book Report, our friend Leslie Rigoulot of Grapevine, TX tackles a romantic mystery novel set amidst the backdrop of a brewery.
Some of us do not consider microbreweries a fad but a blessing from on high. Surely authors Janet Evanovich and Dorien Kelly teamed up to write a romance / mystery novel thinking they would be educating the public about the actual workings of a microbrewery in between steamy kisses and brewery sabotage. But Love In a Nutshell can seem a little exploitative at times. Evanovich, a bestselling mystery writer pits the good-looking brewer against a mysterious someone trying to destroy his brewery while Dorien Kelly, President of the Romance Writers puts him up against a determined divorced blonde who doesn’t like beer.
What? She doesn’t like beer! Isn’t that just the stereotypical idea that we are trying to counter? And just as you are sure that Matt will end up with Kate, you know that Matt is going to win Kate over to beer. Along the way he will explain the hops, wheat, water and yeast of true beer making and the Great American Beer Festival – the Olympics of Beer. Kate will come to understand that a brewhouse isn’t the entire brewery but one part of it. And we will all be entertained by the idea of a ‘well-muscled’ brewer who is actually clean shaven.
Love in a Nutshell is a light brew, with obvious romantic outcomes. The real mystery would be how this brewpub is making any money because brewers and beer aficionados know the difference between a brew pub restaurant and a microbrewery. What would have been interesting would have been if Kate actually worked for InBev, which owns Anheuser-Busch and was there to destroy microbreweries one by one. That won’t happen. But there is an observation that Matt makes about microbreweries being a fad and that only the ones who are truly successful commercially will survive that does give a brewer pause. Not all of them have a good-looking millionaire running the biz. So maybe the brewers need to be reading Accounting for Dummies instead.
Published in hardback in 2012, Love in a Nutshell sold for the price of 3 high-end six-packs of microbrew but is now available in paperback for the price of one.
Leslie is a journalist and matriarch of family-owned Noble Rey Brewing Co., which has plans to open in Grapevine later this year under the helm of her son, Head Brewer Chris Rigoulot. Great people. Great beer. Check them out!