Summer is in full swing, and whether you read romance on the daily, I’ve got 6 book boyfriends—both veteran and new to the block—you ought to meet. Since beer tends to be the popular male alcoholic beverage of choice, especially an iced cold one on a sweltering hot day, I’ve got a flight of 6 beers, too—one to go with each of these swoony male leads.
How on earth did I narrow down these men? Simple. I surveyed my Instagram followers on their favorite book beaus. The results were all over the map, but the following contenders were the top picks. Lucky for me, I’ve met them all, and if you haven’t, I recommend you meet them, too.
KOLSCH LAGER & Jason – The Happy Ever After Playlist
Though can be read as a standalone, The Happy Ever After Playlist is a sequel to Abby Jimenez’s The Friend Zone. It’s been two years since Brandon’s death and Sloan has wallowed, grieved, and stopped living because of the emptiness. Until an adorable dog Tucker jumps through her sunroof and after bonding with him for two weeks, she finally gets in contact with the dog owner. Enter Jason Larsen. Not only is he a rockstar (literally and figuratively speaking), he’s every bit of man Sloan adores. But, will she end up in grief again when he has a 14-month long tour?
A Kolsch Lager is an easy-to-drink beer. Like Jason, it’s light, simple, yet satisfying. It’s something you’d like to drink after a hard day, while you’re relaxing on your backyard patio, when you’re laying on a beach towel on the sand. Jason is the book boyfriend you’d want to take anywhere and everywhere, and no matter what, he’ll be that giant, refreshing hug of comfort.
BLUE MOON & Rhysand – A Court of Mist and Fury
The second installment of Sarah J. Maas’s A Court of Thorns and Roses follows the aftermath and destruction of Amarantha. Not to divulge in plot details, but the journey that takes place in this 600+ page novel will blow your mind. The romance that develops between Feyre and Rhysand, the High Faerie of the Night Court, is hashtag goals. There’s also camaraderie, intrigue, an intricate development of the fantasy world named Prythian, as well as the characters. If you are in the mood and have the time for a bingeable series, and this is coming from a non-fantasy reader, I highly recommend this one.
Make no mistake, Rhysand is a once in a Blue Moon kind of book boyfriend. He’s hazy and unfiltered, smooth and refreshing. He may be an arrogant prick and a shameless flirt, but his selflessness elevates him beyond other heroes I’ve met. Trust me. You won’t be disappointed.
STRAWBERRY GOSE & Max – Party of Two
Jasmine Guillory’s most recent release, Party of Two features a strong, African-American heroine Olivia and a Caucasian hero Max. The idealist and impulsive senator and private lawyer meet by chance at a bar, where they share an unexpected spark. A connection. When Olivia realizes that Max is searching for the complete opposite of a fling, she is a bundle of nerves, unsure if being in the limelight is something she can endure for a chance at love.
All the mentions of fruit pies and cakes remind me of a fruity beer. Respectable, reputable, and reliant Max jives well with a pint of Strawberry Gose. The light and airy, fruity notes are impeccable for even the most discerning palate. Max is not at all the sleazy politician; his impulsiveness hinders his ability to think things through, but he has nothing but the best intentions at heart. And, his love for Olivia is sweeter than the chocolate frosting on a cake.
WATERMELON WHEAT & Ryder – Only When It’s Us
First of the Bergman Brothers series, Indie and Own Voices author Chloe Liese tells an enchanted story of college love. Willa is an aspiring soccer player who needs to do well academically and Ryder used to play soccer but because of bacterial meningitis a few years prior, he suffered hearing loss and lost his voice. Starting off as enemies could’ve been a misunderstanding. But, their individual stories unite when they’re paired for a school assignment, and what they unlock within themselves and between each other are way more than what they bargain for.
Ryder, Ryder, Ryder. In all of his lumberjack glory—furry beard, constant plaid, large build—Ryder is all levels of sweet. Watermelon Wheat isn’t exactly sweet, but it is punchy. And, his banter with Willa sure is punchy, a complete riot. With his hearing disability, he communicates with texting, and boy can the guy flirt. Watermelon-flavored beer may sound strange, but I guarantee you the chemistry is totally there just as much as it is present in Will and Ryder’s relationship. All the feels. All. The. Feels.
SCULPIN IPA & Michael – The Kiss Quotient
Helen Hoang’s debut novel The Kiss Quotient was the first book I read that a) had an illustrated cover, b) inspired me to start a Bookstagram account, and c) made me buy more contemporary romance novels with similar illustrated covers. A beautiful story that stars Stella, an econometrician on the spectrum, and her road to being comfortable with sexual relations. She hires Michael from a male escort website to help her so that she can both mentally and physically prepare herself for when the right guy comes along.
Michael’s got the moves, and the Sculpin IPA has the hops! What can I say? They go hand in hand. I love Michael. He has a strong family relationship with his Asian mother, he has hopes and dreams in fashion design, and he’s a hard-working stud muffin who knows how to please a woman. The tender way he cares for Stella, the love that soon forms is evident that he is capable of all-encompassing passion. Savor the citrus hints of apricot, peach, mango, and lemon, along with Michael’s TLC.
GUINNESS & Jonah – The Simple Wild
KA Tucker will take you on an unforgettable vacation in The Simple Wild. A city girl, Calla visits suburban Alaska. Her dad chose his hometown and his love for being a bush pilot over her and her mother when she was still a little kid, and harbored so much resentment and ill-feelings over it. But, after receiving a phone call from one of his long-time friends, she visits Bangor in hopes to reconnect with him, to get to know him, to simply understand. Her visit turns out to be more than she could ever imagine—her dad, the people, and Jonah (she refers to as the yeti).
Looking for a brooding Neanderthal for a boyfriend? Look no further. Beneath the tough exterior and grumpy pants, Jonah is a stand-up guy who does what he does best, cares for his community, and respects Calla in the end. Guinness is full-bodied and delectable, creamy and rich, a specific kind of beer for a specific kind of drinker—an acquired taste to some extent. Though Jonah can be just like Guinness, he is the most popular book boyfriend loved by many. So, if you haven’t met him, I’ll let you be the judge of that.
Be sure to follow me on Instagram at @rcbooksandfood for future romance novel pairings!