tl;dr: okay novel that’ll leave you more thirsty for beer than romance
You know that feeling you get when you see characters in a TV show eating something, and suddenly you are craving it like nobody’s business? This happened to me with this book. I’m dying for some beer. I’ll probably be running out to the store later, but first, I’ll tell you about this book.
Love on Tap brings two characters together from opposite sides of the supply chain. Wyatt Montgomery needs a spectacular beer to reinvigorate his struggling gastropub in Denver, and Bec Dempsey needs some capital to fuel her craft brewery after her ex took off with the funds and her heart. After Wyatt hears some whispering about a so-called legendary brew called Zoria, he packs up and heads to the town of Antero to find it.
Once he meets up with Bec, she sends him on this bizarre quest that has him tracking down the items needed to create a new barrel of beer, and all of the suppliers in turn send him on other errands. It begins to feel a bit like a video game racked with side quests. There’s even an evil villain by the name of Threadgood, who has slicked-back greasy hair and acts like a mafia don, who also wants to lay his hands on this legendary brew.
During the events of the quest, Bec and Wyatt begin to spend a lot of time together, and one thing leads to another… Of course, since Bec feels like mixing business and pleasure is a recipe for disaster, she keeps her emotional distance. Or does she?
The plot was fine, if mediocre. I didn’t expect the direct sabotage to the Zoria from Threadgood, and honestly, it didn’t make much sense. His character was too mustache-twirly to be believable; he wasn’t a well-rounded character at all. But neither were Bec and Wyatt, for that matter. They were cardboard cut-outs, and there was a lot of “telling” rather than showing. This book uses a lot of italic asides, in order to have some sort of weird back and forth in the minds of the characters, as if they were arguing with themselves. (“Did he really think that? No, he didn’t.”)
One thing that puzzled me a little was Colin. He’s the financial backer that took off. I fully expected him to return, maybe full of regrets, throwing a wrench between the couple before they could arrive at their HEA. But no, he’s mentioned, but never appears. It felt a bit like Chekhov’s ex-lover, he was given a lot of weight in the beginning of the story, but it never pays off in a real way.
The most vibrant thing about the book was the craft brewing aspect, which was just enough detail to get a sense of it without being overwhelming. The romance wasn’t entirely convincing, and I had a hard time buying into it. I felt like Wyatt came on really strong, almost pushing Bec into a relationship she clearly didn’t want. But if you’re in the mood to read about falling in love over beer making, then this is probably a good bet, as long as you don’t think too much about it.
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I can’t think of any other books that involve craft beer (a niche!) but for other pushy heroes, try Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ Nobody’s Baby But Mine.