A Variety of Aspects of Small Beer

If you are sitting in a coffee shop resting from reading one of Mr. Anthony Trollope’s series wondering quid nunc? Quid nunc? and perhaps also wondering why newspapers no longer print hourly editions, well, this unjournalistic thing is a good place to find what goes on in Small Beer and LCRW land. As to the newspapers, we read our local paper and then the internet, hoping that the former will not be subsumed by the latter.

This is the mission statement we put together for our distributor, Consortium:

We started Small Beer Press in 2000, after putting out a do-it-yourself zine, and working for years in independent bookstores, in order to publish the kind of books we loved handselling. We publish literary fiction, innovative fantastic fiction, and classic authors whom you just may have missed the first time around. In our catalog, you’ll find first novels, collections both satisfying and surreal, critically acclaimed, award-winning writers, and exciting talents whose names you may never have heard, but whose work you’ll never be able to forget. Joan Aiken, John Crowley, Carol Emshwiller, Jeffrey Ford, Angélica Gorodischer, Ayize Jama-Everett, and Sofia Samatar are among the names on our growing list of innovators.

A cold beer in summer, hot tea in winter, good books all year round.

More on small beer:

“Doth it not show vilely in me to desire small beer?”
— William Shakespeare (Henry IV,Part 2, Act 2, Scene 2, l. 5-6)

“Art is Small Beer”
—W.H. Auden, quoted in Alan Bennett’s play, “The Habit of Art”
(courtesy of Greer Gilman)

“I will make it a felony to drink small beer.”
— William Shakespeare (2 Henry VI, Act 4, Scene 2, l. 58-60)
(courtesy of John Kessel)

“To suckle fools and chronicle small beer.”
— William Shakespeare (Othello, Act 2, Scene 1, l. 160)

George Washington’s recipe for Small Beer
(courtesy of Leslie Birdwell)

Here sleeps in peace a Hampshire Grenadier,
Who caught his death by drinking cold small Beer,
Soldiers be wise from his untimely fall
And when ye’re hot drink Strong or none at all.
—In Memory of Thomas Tetcher (gravestone photo)

A discussion on the relative obscurity of the phrase.

Another discussion.