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!

 

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

 

 

Craft beer is a lot like a gaming.

I’m not talking about how great they go together. That’s super true, but not the point.

The world of video games has countless styles of play. You have your MMO’s, RPG’s, horror, survival and often a combination of some of these. They all have a distinct factor to them that each draws in a type of person.

The darkness…

Some people love horror movies. I have friends who live by quoting them at least once a day in their daily lives. He also happens to be a huge fan of games that have a more immersive element to them much like a horror film. It’s no surprise that he’s a huge fan of the latest Bat Man games out right now.

He’s also found himself to be a huge fan of the Resident Evil series. He played the newest release on RE:7 and fell in love with it. He had never played it before, but he loves zombies and zombie-themed game play.

I don’t play them with him because half the time he steals all the points and calls me slow. I have to remind him that I hate Left 4 Dead and 30 frames-per-second seems archaic when I’m used to high-res graphics at 60 fps.

The parallels.

Perhaps not coincidentally, he also loves dark, heavy beers. He has a collection of bomber bottles of various different ales that are all one style or another of stouts, porters, bocks, and barelywines. He lately has developed a liking for scotch ales, so I’m waiting for the inevitable “dude, I got a new game. Survival horror!”

The draw to him is the deeper flavor of these styles. They’re more involved when you’re trying to taste what’s going on. Not to say that all the other beers out there out there don’t have any character, I just think the flavor of darker beers makes you think a little bit more.

The speed.

When you drink a light ale like an IPA or pale, you know what the main flavor notes are gonna be right off the bat. Everyone has tried one at their point and it very likely has driven their preferences in beers of choice.

IPA’s are a lot like the FPS of the beer world. They’re fast moving, there’s always a lot going on but not too much, and you can knock them back if that’s your preferred style of play.

Not to say that they aren’t full of great flavor, but that light and crispness of the taste and that familiarity makes you drink it more than think about it.

Kind of like Call of Duty. It’s a bit repetitive and you’re asking yourself what next. It’s always how fast are you going to get taken out and you always need to reload after firing just one bullet. It’s force of habit but fun as hell.

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Now this may seem like a list composed mostly of your standard fare shooters. It is. That’s the realm that I stay in because I’m good at it. I play RPGs and racing games and some MOBAs. But they aren’t where I shine.

I’m sure you can draw parallels with them, but I haven’t played a Forza in years and the last MOBA I was on was League of Legends which has easily been three years or more.

Developers are the breweries.

It’s no lie that you have a favorite developer. Mine so happens to be EA Sports. I’m a hopeless fanboy of their games. I live on Battlefield.

And like game developers pumping out new titles frequently, so too must craft breweries. They always have to be on top of their game coming up with the newest and dankest flavor combinations.

It’s also this speed that can sometimes hurt a brewery. They may be moving too quick to really hear what their customers are saying. It can also affect the flavor of the brews and quality as well!

Overall…

You can draw as many parallels as you’d like and point out the differences too. But you can’t tell me they aren’t shockingly similar.

Thanks for reading and as always, let me know your thoughts too!