A Quick Tuesday Pairing!

I started this blog based around craft beer and have been somehow trying to weasel in video games into it, too.

This article that I’ve gone back and re-written was the one that I first used for a pairing series where I match any video game with a type of beer. I saw this buried deep in my hard drive and thought I’d throw it up for all to see where I go the inspiration. I love doing it because what two things don’t go better together?

I’ve paired cheese with various wines (I don’t know anything about that), beers with different meat (I’m a good cook but I just drink my favorite beer at the moment and try not to burn the steaks) and one of my favorite questions of late which is the great debate of what kind of drinks to pair with video games!

The method to the madness.
I’m kidding. I didn’t really do this with any panache or method. I played each game for about 3 hours and in that span, I was only allowed 2 beers per game. That way, I didn’t end up too tipsy to play the game or start the typical online argument with random strangers.

I chose a popular game from the category of genre and that I still owned. That list ended up being pretty long and I like to think that my choices were solid because I’m limited to my XB One.

The standard fare.
Let’s start with the most popular genre that’s dominating platforms right now. The FPS (first person shooter for you n00bs out there). I used Battlefield 4 for this test and found it to work quite well. This is a fast-paced shooting game based on knowing the map and the best corners to camp out in and cheat ones happy little rear end off.
These rounds can go fast and get heated quickly or can last for upwards of 20 or 30 minutes playing Rush or Domination. As such, I decided the best thing to go with these games are an IPA’s or ales.

Preferably something that’s a session style and in the low ABV category as you get hooked pretty quickly and find yourself wasting hours trying not to let the constant deaths get to you. I drank a Zombie Dust first then decided that a Lagunitas Aunt Sally would perfectly sum up the bitterness of those near-constant deaths.

A disclaimer.
It’s important to note here that I forewent using Call of Duty for the sole purpose of everyone being so angry and constantly insulting my non-existent girlfriend or what they think of my mother. That’s just a buzz kill.

Endurance.
The next game I decided was best for this category was Forza 5, an Xbox One exclusive title that’s a simulation racing game. I found for this genre that a light cider worked pretty well. Something like Apple Orchard Crisp Cider or Henry and Forge Apple Cider (they’re really cheap too!) You really only have to drive fast and know when to push the brakes as to avoid slamming into a tight corner wall or other players.

Now, I decided to mix it up and go into a server that was hosting a 50 lap battle on the entirety of the Nurburgring track. The ciders barely lasted long enough for me to finish the race but somehow my car wasn’t completely destroyed. I thought that my favorite Honda Civic would get the job done, and while I finished dead last, I was proud that I powered my little beater across the finish line!

A blast from the past!

For the last genre was the ever-lovable Chrono Cross for the original PlayStation (remember those things?) This was an RPG game which set you on a placed path that you had to fight your way up via way of random enemy encounters. In the fight, you had to strategically choose your next attack move. Pick right and you won the match, choose wrong or pick the wrong elemental move, and it was back to the previous checkpoint. For this bad boy, I went with the Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout.

The taste stays delicious from start to finish which helps you stay focused on the next move and confident that you’ll push the right button from your rusty memory of a PlayStation controller (I haven’t touched a Playstation product in I don’t even know how long, don’t hate me). Given this was one of those old two-disk games that took upwards of 20 hours to beat, I didn’t make it that far in the story. But I could drink stouts the whole time and still rock out to this one!

Nostalgic.

These are just some brief thoughts on what worked best for me. I left each BF game on a positive K/D ratio and placed last in Forza which is pretty good for 3 hours of continuous racing. I ended up playing Chrono Cross for another 2 hours because I forgot how awesome it was only to be reminded by the rising sun that I just had inadvertently pulled an all-nighter and was now on the verge of falling asleep. But it was the most satisfying loss of sleep I’ve experienced in a while!

Advertisements

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 ale, 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.

better-reload-that-one-bullet-could-save-my-life-dies-17509796

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!

 

The Division and Tactical Nuclear Penguin: Getting bombed!

It’s that time again! For this round of pairing, I chose Tom Clancy’s The Division and BrewDog’s Tactical Nuclear Penguin!

A heavy hitting beer at 55% ABV and a game that gets insanely frustrating when you find yourself wandering around in the Dark Zone.

The Dark Zone?

The Dark Zone, or “DZ” as it’s better known, is the area in the game where the multiplayer component comes in. You can’t enter this area until you get your character up to level 5, which also controls how good the gear you can find is.

The DZ also has enemy AI present as well. Unlike the PvE area where AI enemy difficulty level matches to your player level, enemies in the DZ normally hover around the level 20 mark.

They say that the southern most area of the DZ has enemy level matched to yours, but I didn’t get that experience.

The very first wandering group of AI enemies I encountered spotted me even faster and completely wrecked me.

That was just the AI. The other players in the Zone are even worse.

See, Division’s multiplayer doesn’t have conventional modes of online play. It’s one area and players are free to enter and leave as they please. There are no teams in the typical sense.

Don’t go it alone!

It’s smart to group up with friends or other players you’ve met and go in together. Because of that enter-at-will component, other players love to grief those entering.

You also wouldn’t drink a bottle of 55% ABV beer by yourself. You do that shit with friends. Go it alone and there will be consequences.

Have a strategy.

Now, when you’re drinking a beer that has an insanely high alcohol content, you start slow. You may have a few sips and find yourself going “okay, this is good. I’m going to take my time with this.”

You don’t need to have a steadfast plan, but it’s smart to be looking ahead.

That’s how you need to enter the Zone. You have to pick your ingress point wisely and with tact. Guns blazing on entry will only serve to make you hate the Zone.

Players in the Zone are free to engage with anyone and they’ll try to goad you into firing first. Do not do this!

It makes you the bad guy AND allows for open-season on your triffling self.

The long haul.

If you drink a forty ounce bottle of liquor, you aren’t going to down it within a short amount of time. You’re going to sip it and make it last for a few hours.

You’ll be in the Zone for a few hours, too. Trust me. I went in by myself once and it was open season on me.

Anyone in the Zone by themselves is an easy target unless they have their skills picked correctly and know how to handle an onslaught solo. I didn’t have any of these.

I still spent the next two hours in there by myself.

The lessons.

At the end of it all, I hadn’t gained any experience but I had a few new toys at my disposal. I had to take breaks between fighting though to get my treasures out.

Going back to the bottle example, You have to take breaks to make it last. Too fast and you lose focus and get sloppy. That beer was also more than $650. You’re going to enjoy every sip.

And if you’re like me, you spent way too much on the season pass and a few extra DLC pieces.

Yes, I paid actual money for 5 new coats for my Christian Slater looking player character. They look fabulous, thanks for asking.

Extracting my new-found gear let me take a few minutes to recharge and resupply to head back into the lawless Zone. If I had been with a team or group of players, that extraction break would make the next adventure ten times easier.

Those friends sharing that treat with you will also appreciate that you’re taking it slow and that everyone is getting a fair taste.

How they go together.

You’re going to be working on that bottle for a little bit while you waste time in the Zone with those friends of yours. At the bottom of the bottle while leaving the DZ, You know that the experience was great and that you got some great stuff out of the adventure.

You also used some bomb tactics with your squad and had the penguin spirit guiding you. That and the buzz of victory will be even sweeter with some Penguin buzzing your head and knowing you dodged the bullets whizzing nearby.

Come back next time when I talk about how to play the DZ going it solo! I’ll be drinking a lower ABV beer, too. I’ll be able to keep better focus 😉

-Cheers til’ next time, Nick