Nick’s Friday Brew Review! 4 Hands Brewing Co. Absence of Light

Can you say peanut butter and chocolate galore? Because I hate peanut butter but this might be enough to convert me.

4 Hands is based out of St. Louis on the Missouri side. This is another great craft beer coming from the Quad Cities region. Give them a look if you’re ever by the Arch!

The Taste.

As previously mentioned, it tastes like chocolate and peanut butter. It’s fantastic. It carries some sweet notes with it because of that chocolate an those sweet malts you find in your stout-style brews.

How’d it smell?

Again, just look at everything else. This brew nails everything on the checklist of beers that are supposed to have the advertised flavor and actually able to taste it. Subtle notes of chocolate, peanut butter, and malt.

The verdict.

This craft beer is fantastic. Holy crap. I highly recommend picking yourself up a bomber if you find one!

To see the full review, check out the video!

-Nick

Talking Nintendo on the podcast.

I just started doing my own podcast. My guests brought up some good points about the console I thought I’d share.

The Switch’s game shortages.

I’ve talked before about the Nintendo Switch. Many a time, come to think of it. One thing that stands out is a shortage of titles to choose from.

Sure, you have the newest Zelda title. That’s fine and dandy and I’m sure there are plenty of people who are still enjoying it.

What I haven’t much of yet is where all the future games are. It’s been quiet on the announcement front and there are some people getting restless.

My first guest, Jeremy Cable, hasn’t tried it yet or laid hands on a Joy-Con controller.

“Ocarina of time was pretty good. I liked Wind Maker, that was probably my favorite. But that was also one of the last good ones to me,” he said.

Future choices?

Hopefully they’re gonna be good. Peter Hart, my other guest, said he was on the line about them, and while he’s played them, never really got hooked.

“I tried a few of them here and there, but never really got into them.”

I brought up the idea of an open-world style MMO Pokemon game. While I don’t own a Switch, I think I would make the consideration for that title.

“Almost how they set-up Pokemon GO!, but just video game it,” Jeremy added.

Peter also agreed with the idea.

“Just start with the basics, first. Add in the newer ones along the way.”

We unanimously agreed that the Gold and Silver versions of the GameBoy cartridges did it best.

Of course we talked Call of Duty.

What started as a topic about MMO’s and the game Destiny, we had to talk about the newest release in the titular Call of Duty series.

We watched the newest trailer for it and got their impressions about it.

While we all agreed that you can’t beat a good D-Day opening scene, it still has a lot to prove to us. Like in another post about the game, the backdrops can look shockingly similar.

Jeremy agreed that they’re all kind of starting to feel similar. He misses the older games and like myself, think the franchise ran their course.

Only time will tell!

Check out the podcast to see the whole rant!

Nick’s Friday Brew Review: Toppling Goliath Brewing Co. Pseudo Sue Pale Ale

Do you like dinosaurs with stubby arms? How about the Field Museum in Chicago? Or hoppy craft beer?

This craft beer had it all!

Toppling Goliath is based out of Decorah, Iowa. If you ever find yourself in the quad cities region, give them a buzz!

How’d it taste?

Really light actually. It wasn’t overly bitter and it was a fresh taste of hops and some fruity esters. A pleasant mouth-feel with a bit of an after bite with every sip.

Now I don’t know if this batch had a particularly high yeast settle-out in the batch or if it was supposed to have some bits of flavoring hops still there, but it did.

I’m not complaining, it just wasn’t terribly crystal clear to look at.

How’d it smell?

Like a pale ale. Not super hoppy and a pleasantly dank aroma filled my nose after opening the can and each sip.

A bit fruity, some pine-ish scents, but it was all with balance.

The verdict?

Awesome beer. I’m giving it a 3.75 out 5 stars. Standard fare ale that goes down smooth. The cloudiness in the brew is what lost the full star.

Watch it on my YouTube channel, too!

 

NES Classic discontinued, Call of Duty gearing up for a new release.

That’s right: no more NES Classic consoles will be produced anymore. But we get a new installment in everyone’s (secretly) favorite FPS.

Bye-bye, NES Classic.

Nintendo recently discontinued their NES Classic mini-console. They’re sending out the last shipments throughout the month of April. Between the start of the month and the tail end, the console was difficult, if not impossible, to find.

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They released a statement to IGN explaining that the console was only a limited-run promotion and that supplies would eventually run out. They added a few more into the last batches of production to get a few extra out.

Heck, they were even sold out on Amazon. Best Buy released the last of their stock on April 24, both in store and on-line. I went to their website and looked for myself and sure enough, the Classic was gone.

You can make your own.

For reals. West Hart, a tech-savvy friend of mine, saw me talking about it on Facebook and told me that he just built his own. Obviously not a knock-off replica, but a system that does the same exact function.

“Get a raspberry pie 3 kit. Install retropie onto a mini sd card. Find roms of games you want to play. Install the games and hook up a USB controller and configure them and play the games.”

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This thing.

 

He told me this was all possible for about $80 on the high end depending where you shop.

A new Call of Duty!

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Image from callofduty.com

Sledgehammer Games just released the reveal trailer for the newest game in the franchise.  It’s been confirmed that we’re going back to World War 2 with this one and fans have been rejoicing, myself included.

I’ll admit I left the franchise behind after Black Ops. I was starting to get tired of the arena style combat and later on when the new games started to take on an incredibly futuristic and Major League Gaming feel to it.

The game’s history.

Aaron Berogan of RAM TV shared some insights with me on the latest release.

“(EA Games) Battlefield 1 did a bomb job with their take on WW1. And this isn’t CoD’s first go at WW2. They did World at War, which is by far my favorite. I’m sort of excited about this one.”

He added that with their repetition for releasing a new title every year, the games can have a similar feel about them and that it can feel like a new back drop sometimes.

Everyone is hoping this new one will break that mold.

 

Nick’s Friday Brew Review: Alesmith Brewing Co. Grand Crue

I won’t lie here. This was fricken’ delicious. The ale has sat in its various locations for the past few years.

Can you say cellar-ed? 

It was bottled on January 8 of 2014. The climate and conditions of the store I got it from were ideal for the cellaring method of aging beers. It was a strong taste and I’m not disappointed in the purchase!

How’d it taste?

Oak wood. That’s the strongest flavor I took away from it. The barley used also lends an intense taste, too. The unintentional cellaring helped with that certainly, I’m sure.

Intense, thick, and flavor all the way through.

The aroma?

Fantastic! It smelled great. I asked my significant other what he thought of it. He said gnarly. But his taste isn’t as refined, either. So there’s that.

The verdict?

Awesome is all I can say. If you find yourself in a Schnucks grocery store in northern Illinois, pick one up!

Nick’s Friday Brew Review: Tired Hands Brewing Co. Such Passion passion fruit IPA

Here’s a hint: it has passion fruit in it. And some hops. It’s f*****g delicious.

Tired Hands Brewing Co. is based out of Ardmore, Pennsylvania and they’re a popular spot for the craft beer drinkers in the East.

How’d it taste?

This IPA was delicious. Fresh notes of passion fruit and hops blew my mind at first taste. It had a rather delightful mouth feel and was super light; a great BBQ or session ale for those weekends with the friends taste-testing the latest haul of state-line crossing deliciousness.

How’d it smell?

The aroma was strong with that passion fruit-y goodness too. A strong hit of fruit hit my nose at first sniff and then the passion fruit was super close behind that.

Each sip reinforced that fruit flavor.

The verdict.

I won’t lie. Like I said before, I could sip this bad boy all day. 3.75 out of 5 stars!

-Nick

I made a batch!

I’ll be the first to admit that it’s been a while since I’ve made a batch of homebrewed craft beer.

I forgot how great brew day is. It’s an excuse to talk about, drink, and make beer.

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Rocking the Oskar Blues IPA for the brew session.

Where’d you start?

This may make some people cringe and others left in confusion. Dont worry, I’ll explain.

The extract kit I used was a bit dated. The best-by date was September of last year. Before that, it sat in a myriad of storage conditions ranging from hot garage to freezing basement. It was old.

Extract kits contain the basic ingredients needed to brew a home batch. The liquid malt canisters in the feature photo have an incredibly concentrated sugar syrup that provide the starches needed for the yeast to do its alcohol-making thing.

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Heating up 3 gallons of water to a boil on the world’s smallest stove.

Cleaning and sanitizing.

I used a soft wash cloth to wipe down my ferment bucket and ran my various tools through the dishwasher.

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My oh-so-clean cleaning area.

After they were finished, I filled the bucket with IO Star-San and threw them in it.

I’ve learned to streamline the process a bit by not cleaning every single piece used, including the racking and bottling tools.

The boil.

I let my grains steep in the water from the time that I fill the pot to the point that I’m adding the liquid and dry malt.

I let the batch get to a low roil and wait for the hot break in the surface.

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We’re almost to the ideal temperature. I also didn’t ever actually take ANY temperature readings for this.

For this specific batch, it was a 6-row 20L and 2-row 60L barley mixture. It smelled delicious.The hops used were Hallertau at the start and Fuggle hops 10 minutes from the boil termination point.

We then let the batch sit on the stove with the lid on for the next 4 hours for it to drop to our ideal pitching temp, which again, was getting eyed.

Sealing it up.

Once it cooled down, we moved it to the ferment bucket for the water topping, yeast pitch, and the lid and airlock put on.

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In case it isn’t clear yet, we did not follow proper cleaning procedures for any of this.

My friend has a rickety stair case that leads to his basement which this had to be carried down. That was probably the hardest part of the night. But once I survived the 10-step trek, I put the warming blanket on it to keep the temps around the sixty-degree mark.

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Pictured: fabulous climate control

His basement is chilly and the fermenting of the beer produces heat, so I planned ahead. Now to wait for the next two months.

-Cheers, Nick