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A novel idea: Books and beer for Booktoberfest

Booktoberfest at Patchogue-Medford Library

The Patchogue Medford Library’s Oktoberfest celebrations are in full swing.

You read that right. Oktoberfest. The library.

The librarians are calling it Booktoberfest. It’s a month-long series of events that pair two of the world’s most favorite things: books and beer. 

“There have been limited attempts at this at other libraries, mostly on the West Coast, and mostly as fundraisers,” explained Patchogue-Medford librarian Mike Buono. “We thought we were uniquely positioned to do this here, because Patchogue is a beer destination. Both Brickhosue and Blue Point [breweries] have really been a part of its turnaround story.”

The events kicked off Oct. 1 at Brickhouse Brewery with the first of two October installments of Novel Brews, which is a library-run book club that normally meets once a month at Hoptron Brewtique. The book being discussed at the next Novel Brews meeting on Oct. 15 is More Beer by Jakob Arjouni. That gathering will be at Hoptron.

The library is also teaming up with The Cheese Patch, Blue Point Brewing Company, and the Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts for special events.

(Check out our community calendar for details.)

Just to cherry-pick one event, the theater lobby will be playing host to a public airing of the feature length documentary Crafting a Nation on Wednesday, Oct. 14, at 7:30 p.m. (People should register for events through the library.)

The film details the rise of the country’s craft beer movement.

“It’s supposed to be nice and relaxing,” Buono said. “We’re not talking about anything too heavy hitting like the prison system. It’s fun, it’s light.”

“But the movie has some deep moments in it,’ he added. “It’s more like a Rocky of documentaries, as opposed to a Schindler’s List of documentaries. There are some underdog stories where these guys are really working their butts off to make it happen. And it’s not always easy, but it’s people trying to make their dream work.”

Blue Point and Brickhouse beer will be available on tap at the theater.

There are non-alcoholic events as well, including a “Make it, Taste It, Rate it!” root beer-making event for kids on Saturday, Oct. 17 at the library.

This is the library’s first Booktoberfest, which was the idea of part-time librarian Colleen Hutchens, but the librarians are confident it won’t be the last.

“The first time out is always a learning experience,” said librarian Laura Accardi. “I think we’ll just come back to the table and embellish or take away. We’re already talking about other places we could take it for next year.”

And when Booktoberfest is over, Buono reminds that the Novel Brews book club will continue throughout the year.

The group meets on the third Thursday of every month at Hoptron.

As for that concept, Buono, who targets the 20- and 30-something demographic, said it was all about giving the people what they want.

“The long running joke in libraries is that we would have 50 women join a book club if only we could provide wine, legally,” he said. “So I thought, if I’m trying to catch this age group that’s not going to quite come out to the library, then go to where they’re going to be.”

Tonight’s beer and cheese pairing at The Cheese Patch on East Main Street is already sold out, Accardi said.

The next Booktoberfest event is Saturday Oct. 10 at Blue Point Brewery.

mike@greaterpatchogue.com

About the author: Michael White

Michael White is a Bellport resident, longtime newspaper reporter and editor, and the owner of greaterpatchogue.com. Email him your story ideas or tips: mike@greaterpatchogue.com