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!

 

Nick’s Friday Brew Review: 3 Stars Brewing Co. #ultrafresh

The first thing that I noticed when I took that first sip was the hoppy-as-hell bite. You can see me recoil just a little bit in the review video after the first sip.

How’d it look?

The design on the can is super-simple as well. The hops in the beer are also shown right on the side of the can and you definitely taste what each one brings to the flavor. And the can has a sticker on the side as opposed to the fully painted aluminum.

That means they don’t have to stick to just on design and can change out labels much quicker and easier.

How’d it smell?

The aroma was also intense. It had a fruity smell at first, but prolonged indulgence lent way to the smell of bitter hops and light malt.

And taste?

The combination works perfectly for the beer and made drinking it part of the fun aside from just drinking beer for drinking beer.

Overall, This beer takes a solid 4/5 stars in my book. Easily one of the better beers I’ve had and it was nice to A) get it for free, and B) something different than the normal variety I’ve had to grow use to.

Stay tuned for next weeks review!

Cheers! -Nick

 

The Friday Brew Review: Alesmith Brewing Co. IPA

To start off: You can’t beat a good ole’ IPA. And this IPA delivers your standard fair of the experience.

Alesmith is a San Diego based brewery offering up American classics and specialties alike.

How’d it taste?

Delicious. It’s like any good IPA. A fresh, hoppy taste with slight notes of grapefruit and citrus. The flavor profile is not unlike that of any other IPA. A light, dry mouth feel with a little bit of bitterness peppered throughout.

It had a great pour and like you can see from the video, a perfect head on it too!

How’d it smell?

Dank. It was delightfully light and fresh. When you took a drink, the smell made the taste even better.

The verdict.

A solid 7/10. I’m not saying it was bad by any measure, but it’s a standard fare when it comes to IPAs.

I’ve had better, but this is always going to be a solid fall back option when you can’t find anything else to quench that thirst.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments and as always, cheers!

-Nick

Let’s have a craft beer hashtag talk.

I use various social media platforms to connect with people about all things beer and gaming related. I, like almost every single person on the interwebz, am accustomed to using hash tags.

I use them on my Instagram and Twitter frequently, but with tact. I try to keep them to a minimum as too many just looks sloppy and/or starved for attention.

When I blog, I do the same. It’s understandable to use a few more than 2 or 3 for a written blog. It’s also why I’ve been keeping them to a minimum as of late.

BUT! Regardless of wild hashtag use, you have to keep them specific. I bring this up because I like to peruse craft beer giveaways on Instagram and then share them and comment. It’s just good etiquette for posting.

Why do I say this? Because if you’re using #beergiveaway, actually be trying to give away the beer. It’s why searching for that specific tag brings up countless unrelated posts that use the tag, but actually just turn out to be pictures of people’s beer.

Damn them and their teases of free beer. I don’t want to look at it, I want to drink it!

(Updated 4/4/17)

I went to Barb City BrewFest!

Here’s the crazy part. I only tried one beer. That’s not to say that there wasn’t plenty to choose from. Quite the opposite.

I had my camera out the entire and was meeting plenty of new people.

The day.

I ran into old friends like JD Heinrich who owns The Forge in Sycamore. He had let me hang out and interview while he was in the middle of making a new batch of brew.

We talked for a few minutes about his opening a new brew pub in the summer and starting the process of opening a production facility in DeKalb.

The need for a second location comes as he has grown short on room in the current building. The current set-up utilizes four large tanks in the dining room and shares space with the beer bar.

“I’m excited. It’s still a long road, but we’re past most of the hurdles.”

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Right next to the Forge’s table was Cademon Brewery. I had worked with owner Andrew Nordman on a previous video project and he let out a loud “Hello!”

He brought his IPA and another variation of the Eve’s Tuition porter. I gave it a sip and was not disappointed.

Like JD, he ran into room constraints at his current building and already opened a second location. Now  he’s working on the menu with a taco recipe that he’s proud of and wants to use.

“Right now, I’m leaning towards tacos as the menu building block!”

A great turnout.

On top of old friends, I floated around to different tables who had people from the breweries. As I found out, it was volunteers doing the pouring for a majority of the breweries represented.

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Overall, the festival was awesome and Alessandro was pleased with the turnout. Before I departed, he told me they were getting ready for the second of wave of ticket holders.

I burned through both camera batteries shortly after the VIP tasting and took my leave after.

I can’t wait for the next one!

-Nick

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

 

Giving Mass Effect: Andromeda a try.

I’ll start with this: I’ve never played any Mass Effect game before. Science-y space combat RPGs have never been my thing.

What is my thing? Games where I have skill trees to build and materials to scrap and reconstruct into other equally useless things.

As it turns out, Andromeda has exactly what I’m looking for.

How so?

The very first thing I noticed when I fired up my new digital copy was a slew of DLC points available. Mostly what looked like space dollars and different kinds of rocks. They wanted me to give them real money for these things.

Alright. Cool. I can deal with micro-transactions.

When I got into the first level after having just crash landed, I saw that my character’s scanner device could scan rocks and the aliens that I just vaporized. It gave me points for this and what looked like those aforementioned space bucks.

Boxes everywhere.

As I progressed through the level, I noticed that I had an inventory screen that was filling up with stuff. You could scrap it, consume it, or modify your equipment with.

You also found weapons and some other items that offered you blueprints. You could use these blueprints to craft new items to help you through your journey of taking over the galaxy.

There’s a space buggy, too.

You can travel across the galaxy and stop at different planets along the way. You can meet new traders and buy other neato items.

You have a space buggy that lets you traverse a planet’s surface too. You can drop homing beacons and set way points for fast travel.

Should you buy it?

Absolutely. If this game has even more features than what the trial version revealed, you can bet you’re going to be in for a treat.

-Cheers til’next time, Nick

(Updated 4/17/17)