Growing Your Own Hops: So Easy You Don’t Need to Read This

Thu 1 Oct 2015 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Michael

IMG_2024“Hops are a wicked and pernicious weed” said Henry VIII in 1519—at least according to a t-shirt I bought from the excellent Wicked Weed Brewing of Asheville, NC. Their point being ironic: ole Henry doesn’t know what he’s talking about; they love hops, we all love hops. Except, of course, for those of us who don’t—and not without reason: craft brewers have conspired to beat our taste buds to death with them. I sympathize with the hop haters. For years I counted myself among them, as becomes obvious on paging back through Literary Beers past on how to brew beers bittered with sage, rosemary, alehoof, sweet fern, chamomile, yarrow, wormwood, spruce, chiles and cacao. Inevitably, however, all-encompassing lover of fermented culture that I am, hops brought me back around. Take it from someone who’s devoted years of homebrewing experimentation to figuring out how to brew beer without them: hops are delicious. Thanks to an explosion of new breeds, they’re available in as many varieties and as complex flavors as wine grapes or cider apples. Used with discretion, they’re a balm for every palate. Used with abandon, they possess the palate-killing power to move even the hardcorest of neckbearded hopheads to tears—but this latter proclivity among beer nerds was only half the reason I spent years avoiding hops in my homebrew. The other half was what it took to get them. Hop shortages in the US and UK drove up prices, necessitating the importation of hops, at significant cost in dollars and fossil fuels, from Germany, the Czech Republic, Australia, New Zealand. I want my ingredients as local, low-cost and low-footprint as I can get them. Which motivation found me hunting hop substitutes in the woods, where footprints were literally all I had to give to get them. Once I found myself in possession of a little land, it was only a matter of time before I tried growing my own hops. As it turns out, it’s easy—ridiculously so, as long as you live someplace cool and wet, ideally within a half-dozen degrees of the 42nd parallel.

Follow me to learn how.

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Small Beer Podcast 20: Carmen Maria Machado’s “I Bury Myself”

Tue 11 Aug 2015 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Julie

Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet No. 33 is a strange and extremely personal cultivation. Guest edited by Michael J. Deluca, it themes and focuses and ponders on our ecological future in a way that doesn’t seem to limit the writing at all. LCRW No. 33 is about people and relationships. It is also about this new epoch we find ourselves in, the Antropocene.

These days, humanity’s impacts on the earth are like some virulent and ugly form of magical realism infecting our nonfictional world. And yet in other ways nothing has really changed. We living humans are no more immersed in our environment than our ancestors were two or five or ten thousand years ago. And just as it has always been, after we die our organic matter feeds and scatters and transforms.

In a way that I find surprising and occasionally gut wrenching, Carmen’s story “I Bury Myself” takes on one personal experience of the inevitable end. It is a wonderful addition to LCRW No.33.

Carmen Maria Machado is a fiction writer, critic, and essayist whose work has traveled across many fictional boundaries. As well as LCRW No. 33, her work has appeared in such places as  The New Yorker, NightmareGranta,  ShimmerThe Paris Review, LightspeedAGNI, Interfictions, and NPR. You can find more of her work at

Episode 20: In which Julie C. Day reads Carmen Maria Machado’s “I Bury Myself” from Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet No.33.

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Small Beer Press is proud to announce a special themed-issue of the award-winning litzine, LCRW

Mon 27 Jul 2015 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Climate change is one of humanity’s most pressing challenges. Researchers, environmentalists, and writers including Kim Stanley Robinson have called our societal failure to address climate change a problem of the imagination as much as one of economics or the environment. Previous generations of science fiction and fantasy writers provided inspiration for technical innovations ranging from cellphones to robotics to gene therapy. Michael J. DeLuca wanted to ask today’s writers: can speculative fiction help us find new ways to understand and approach the complex issue of global warming?

Stories, poetry, and nonfiction inspired by this question can be found in the new issue of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet (LCRW), the venerable, much-awarded indie fiction zine from Gavin J. Grant and Kelly Link’s Small Beer Press. LCRW #33, guest edited by Michigan writer Michael J. DeLuca, approaches its theme of humanity’s relationship with the earth with a little humor, a touch of horror, and seventeen different kinds of understanding.

DeLuca spent two months reading hundreds of submissions from all over the world. The table of contents includes writers from California, Florida, Massachusetts, Minneapolis, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington, Nova Scotia, Canada, London, U.K., and features stories, poems, essays and art from World Fantasy and Campbell award winner Sofia Samatar, Nebula and Shirley Jackson award nominee Carmen Maria Machado, World Fantasy Award nominee Christopher Brown and many other.

DeLuca says that asking this question of writers is ”not about pointing fingers or shouting down deniers. It’s not about politics. It’s about people, about how our actions affect the earth and how it affects us: physically, emotionally, spiritually. We’re part of the earth and it’s a part of us. I asked for optimism, I expected cynicism, I got both. I tried to find complexity and overlook the easy answers.”

LCRW #33 is now available in print from many independent bookstores or directly from the publisher at and in DRM-free ebook from as well as all the other usual ebookstores.

Michael J. DeLuca is available for interviews and excerpts are available for reprint.

About the Editor

Michael J. DeLuca is a writer, reader, dreamer, designer, brewer, baker, photographer, and philosopher. He produces both virtual and tangible goods in the form of bread, beer, tomatoes, websites, and stories. His fiction has appeared in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Apex, and Interfictions, among others. He can be found online at and

Discarded Titles for LCRW #33

The Humanity Versus the Earth Issue
The Earth Saves Itself from Humanity Issue
The 30% Non-Dead-Tree Issue
The Crying Indian Is Actually Italian Issue
The Women Turning Into Trees Issue
The What the Mushrooms Told Me Issue
The Jellyfish Inherit the Earth Issue
The Critical Mass Issue
The There Is No Such Thing as Critical Mass Issue The Change Is Inevitable Issue
The Inevitability Is Change Issue

July 2015
Magazine / $5.00 / 56 pages
Ebook / $2.99 / ISBN: 9781618731173

Media Contact: Gavin J. Grant, (413) 203-1636, [email protected]
Published by Small Beer Press.
Ebook distributed to the trade by Consortium Book Sales and Distribution.

Alan DeNiro in Chicago

Wed 28 Jan 2015 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Tyrannia and Other Renditions coverLook at me resisting writing Chitown! I am so strong.

What: Tuesday Funk with Alan DeNiro, Cameron McGill, Patty Templeton, Christa Desir and H.Melt, hosted by Andrew Huff and Eden Robins.
When: Feb. 3rd, 7 pm for 7:30 start.
Where: the Hopleaf (where the Bookslut readings used to be and very close to the excellent Women & Children First!), 5148 N. Clark St., Chicago 773-334-9851

Get ye along for there won’t be another chance to see Alan until AWP in April — where we will have a reading, a table, a banner, but probably not 100 mugs on a table the way Isaac Fitzgerald had on The Rumpus table in Boston a couple of years ago. Wait. We could totally rip that off.

Alan might read from his latest book, Tyrannia, which if you like weird political poetic poemic polemic stories: is for you.

In other news: Sofia Samatar has been burning up the internet! Here are a few links to keep you busy while we work on getting her second novel The Winged Histories ready to drop next year: twitter · The Guardian · Post 45.

Also: Karen Lord’s new novel The Galaxy Game just came out from Del Rey and is getting great reviews. You can read an interview with her here.

Ayize Jama-Everett is working on the final final line edits of The Liminal War. That book is going to Knock People Over.

Michael DeLuca was just out here in Western Mass. and we talked about his guest editing an issue of LCRW — and drank some delicious beer. He also shoveled our drive, whoa! Snow days!


Where are they now: Michael J. DeLuca

Tue 20 Aug 2013 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Cat! the viewMy archery skills have severely deteriorated. I no longer get paper cuts. I haven’t mistakenly spent too much money mailing anything to Germany in quite some time. The mail room employees at the Easthampton post office have very likely forgotten what I look like.

I moved away from Western Mass, first to Boston, then Detroit, where I meet fewer pagans on a daily basis and not everyone agrees with my politics. I own a house now (real estate: significantly cheaper outside the Valley) and have begun accumulating books once again after a long stretch of itinerant downsizing, but despair at ever getting my house to the enviable state of the Small Beer office in 2005, where one expected any day to die of internal injuries following a tragic book cave-in.

I still write (I will always write) but am less afraid of writers. I still listen to and enjoy indie chamber-pop, but less of it. It has been years since I’ve opened a piece of mail with a tiny cutlass. Through a great stroke of luck and generosity, I once again on occasion get to look at a medicinal mushrooms poster. I still eat wild mushrooms procured from local woods and have not yet died of it. I still drink lots of quite good tea, but eat slightly less amazing chocolate. I ride 100% fewer freight elevators and no longer have much use for a pallet jack.

Otherwise, life remains much the same.

Michael J. DeLuca lives in Michigan. His short stories have been published in Urban Green ManAbyss & Apexand Beneath Ceaseless Skiesamong others.

Small Beer Podcast 14: Benjamin Parzybok’s “The Coder”

Tue 23 Oct 2012 - Filed under: Benjamin Parzybok, Not a Journal., , , , , , | 1 Comment| Posted by: Julie

My podcastery life doesn’t get much better than this. Two of my favorites in one audio track: Benjamin Parzybok and  Michael J. DeLuca. Benjamin Parzybok’s story “The Coder” was first published in Lady Churchhill’s Rosebud Wristlet No. 21. We bring it to you in audio for the first time. Not only that. Michael J. DeLuca makes another guest appearance on the Small Beer Podcast. Michael is more than a guest reader; he is a passionate advocate of “The Coder.” He spent long hours with his laptop, software and microphone getting the digital track just right. I can’t think of a better homage to this particular Parzybok story.

For those of you who follow such things, Episode No. 4 of our podcast features an excerpt of Ben’s novel, Couch. In other words, we are returning to the scene of the Parzybok crime. Ben is currently finishing his second novel, Sherwood Nation. You can find out about Ben and all his various projects at his site,

Episode 14: In which Michael J DeLuca read’s Benjamin Parzybok’s “The Coder.”

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Coming this week: book, podcast, freebies, &c

Mon 22 Oct 2012 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Monday: Publication day for our latest Big Mouth House title: Peter Dickinson’s new collection, Earth and Air: Tales of Elemental Creatures. It’s now available in hardcover, paperback, and ebook editions. The first story “Troll Blood” is also available in F&SF’s September/October issue. Here’s a short interview on F&SF about the story.

There are two strong reviews (from Faren Miller and Rich Horton) in the latest issue of Locus and Tom Shippey gave it a marvelous review in the Wall Street Journal:

“Mining folklore for ideas is routine in modern fantasy, but not many can add the surprising twists and novel logic that Peter Dickinson does. These are beautiful stories, deft, satisfying, unexpected. They deserve to become classics of the genre.”


  1. A new podcast from a lovely triumverate, Julie Day, Michael J. DeLuca, and Benjamin Parzybok—which I am listening to right now, awesome! Michael reads Benjamin Parzybok’s story “The Coder” from Lady Churchhill’s Rosebud Wristlet No. 21. Come back tomorrow (or subscribe now) and you too can get your coding joy on, too.
  2. The Humble Bundle ends. 77,000 people have partaken of the first ebook Humble Bundle so far. I think it’s a pretty incredible thing: pay what you want for a baker’s dozen of DRM-free ebooks. It’s been hugely popular, especially internationally, and I can’t wait to see 1) how it ends and 2) what the next one will be!


  1. We send out 15 free copies of Elizabeth Hand’s Errantry to the Goodreads giveaway winners.
  2. Kij Johnson reads at 7 p.m. at the Big Tent at The Raven in Lawrence, Kansas.

Will there be more news and more goings on? Probably. Unless the debates fill us with such lethargy that we become slugs and end our days in a bowl of beer. Which, you know, is going to happen one way or the other.

Small Beer Podcast 9: John Kessel’s “The Last American”

Thu 12 Apr 2012 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Julie

The Baum Plan for Financial Independence and Other Stories cover - click to view full sizeI don’t know how many different people mentioned John Kessel to me before I ever read his work. Well, actually, that’s a lie. I know exactly how many people mentioned John Kessel: four. One of them was Gavin Grant and another was James Patrick Kelly. Mariel Morales and Taylor Preston, school friends of mine from the Stonecoast M.F.A. program, round out the list. In a weirder than fiction moment, while I’m currently typing up this blog post in Massachusetts, tomorrow John, Taylor, Mariel and I are having lunch in North Carolina. It feels like Jim and Kelly should be there as well.

Both this podcast and the next one are all about John Kessel’s fiction. Once you’ve read or listened to one of John’s stories, you’ll find yourself needing more, at least I did. One of my personal Kessel favorites is “Every Angel is Terrifying” along with his series of science fiction stories “A Lunar Quartet.”

It’s nice when it’s easy to share what you love. John’s collection The Baum Plan for Financial Independence is available as a free ebook on Weightless Books. So listen, enjoy and then download the rest of John’s stories and read them for yourself. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Episode 9: In which Michael J. DeLuca reads John Kessel’s “The Last American.”

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Small Beer Podcast 7: Zombie Plans, Beer & Maureen F. McHugh’s “The Naturalist”

Thu 8 Mar 2012 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment| Posted by: Julie

the_naturalist_tasting_beersHere at the Small Beer studios we find there’s nothing like  a great book and some damn fine beers to really get the conversation flowing. We’d already read Maureen F. McHugh’s zombie story “The Naturalist” (read | listen) and with the help of  Tru Beer in Easthampton, Massachusetts, we happened upon three beers that go perfectly with just about any zombie apocalypse.

The result? This week’s Small Beer on Beer episode, a podcasting love letter to “The Naturalist,” all things zombie and some very unusual beers.

Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t yet read Maureen’s story in her collection, After the Apocalypse, you might want to listen to episode 6, the audio version, before diving into this episode.

Episode 7: In which we talk of  beer,  Reynard the Fox & Maureen F. McHugh’s “The Naturalist.”

On Tap This Week:
Cerveza Cucapa’s Low Rider.
Sierra Nevada’s Ruthless Rye.
Avery Brewing Company’s Mephistopheles’ Stout.

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Small Beer Podcast 5: Three Messages and a Warning

Thu 2 Feb 2012 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , , , | 1 Comment| Posted by: Julie

It turns out the gestation period for this podcast is somewhere between that of a lion and a wolf. At the beginning of November, Michael J. DeLuca, Gavin and I recorded the first ever Small Beer beer tasting. Then we recorded two, yes two, stories from our latest anthology Three Messages and a Warning, a collection of the Mexican fantastic.

This podcast was something akin to a seventies concept album, think The Allen Parsons Project or Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. I seem to remember a intense discussion with the proprietor of the fabulous craft beer store, Tru Beer, in Easthampton, Massachusetts. A rapid convert, he donated a few beers to the cause. From Bread Euphoria, we acquired Day of the Dead bread. And then, like so many concept albums, the production requirements along with the obligatory aviator sunglasses and hair mousse almost brought the entire project to a screeching halt.

We are absolutely thrilled we’ve finally got our act together enough to finish this particular podcast.

Episode 5: Julie Day, Gavin Grant, Michael J. DeLuca and Three Messages and a Warning.

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