Em Sauter is a cartoonist and visual beer educator who delights readers daily on her website Pints and Panels. During her career, she’s worked in breweries and been an advocate for good good beer.
This week she has a new book out – her second – called Hooray for Craft Beer! An Illustrated Guide to Beer, published by Brewers Publications. In it Sauter takes readers on a journey through beer history and styles in her usual engaging way. It is engaging and can be read straight through or just picked up for a few minutes here and there.
While the style of the book and her work might be whimsical, the material is serious and factually accurate. Sauter works hard to make sure what is in the book not only serves entertainment purposes but also can be used as a study guide or learning tool.
She spoke to All About Beer editor John Holl about her new book.
John Holl: Your new book is titled Hooray for Craft Beer! There can be some cynicism in the beer space by some fans or worry by brewers and owners. What are you excited about with beer today and what do you want to remind readers of when they think about their pints?
Em Sauter: I’m excited by the aspect of choice in today’s beers. Beer encompasses so many flavors, ideas, aromas, emotions. Don’t drink alcohol? There’s NA beer for you. Can’t drink gluten? There’s beer for you. Want to support a brewery that gives exclusively to nonprofits? Beer’s opportunities are infinite which means there’s so much to explore and dive into. It reminds me a lot of music- everyone has a music style they gravitate to and the same is for beer.
JH: On your website Pints and Panels you’re often pairing beer styles with events, holidays, or items. How do you come up with these beer and life pairings? Is it a feeling or do you have a scientific method?
ES: It’s a feeling. I kind of meditate on it- picture myself with the beer and go, okay, what do I want to be doing with this beer? The thing is- there are no wrong answers. Your ideas about where to drink an IPA may be different than mine and that’s great. Beer can go with anything from activities to baseball teams to seasons. That’s the fun part about pairing beers – it’s more about the state of mind than anything else.
JH: Your drawings are very detailed. You focus on period clothing when talking about historic beer styles and work to make sure ingredients are represented in a proper way. What have you found to be difficult to draw and get right? What do you enjoy drawing the most?
ES: My work is quite simple so I feel like intricate details can get lost when discussing the deep ideas of the science of beer. I feel inhibited by the art style sometimes but it leads to fun challenges like- how to show spaces, perspective, the brewing process while only using a few sparse lines. P&P aims to be as accurate as possible so I really enjoy the research of it. Okay- I’m drawing an 18th century pub- what would people be wearing? What does the decor look like? What are they drinking out of? I love doing the research to make sure even the smallest details are accurate.
Hear more from Em about her new book, how she creates “beer and life” pairings on Pints and Panels, and the overall state of beer education by tuning into Drink Beer, Think Beer with John Holl. The weekly interview podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Podcasts, and everywhere podcasts are downloaded.