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

 

 

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.

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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