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The Pick Six – April 29, 2016 – Jack’s Abby Smoke and Dagger, Post-PAX Depression and More

Sorry I bailed on y’all last week, kiddos. I was very, very busy on a covert mission into Bahsten for a little game convention called PAX East. But, it’ll all be for the best because we’ve got some awesomesauce everything for you this week.

Brews:

Jack’s Abby Brewing Smoke & Dagger Black Lager – 5.8% ABV, Black Lager – Born right down yonder from where I spent PAX weekend, this deliciously dark black lager gives you all the color and flavor of a stout or porter but without the thick aftertaste (which I don’t mind but you may not care for). So impressed was I with this that I tried Hoponious Union and bought some of their other offerings. Should I do a Boston Beer Haul? What do you think?

Lord Hobo Boom Sauce – American IPA, 8% – Boston is a magical city. So magical, in fact, that you can get craft beer in a train station. IN A TRAIN STATION, PEOPLE. The beer group I belong to (Holla FCBAA!) was RAVING about this. It’s a pretty decent IPA with a lot of flavor, a lot of color and…also brewed in Massachusetts. It was worth the hype and I managed to snag the last can at the store while I was buying a bunch of other beer…but if you happen across this brew, take a sample why don’t you?

Games:

Axiom Verge – I just met this game this week and the fact that it is made by a single person is impressive and gives me a lot of hope. I can’t wait to play through the whole thing since I failed miserably at playing only a little bit. (Sorry if you were behind me, I kind of suck at old school games). It’s got great reviews on Steam and while it’s “pricey” as indie games go, it’s worth every penny. Go support an indie!

Zelda Returns – Hahaha, Just Kidding. Well, kinda. Nintendo decided to play a cruel joke on all you Link fans by announcing that the next Legend of Zelda game will be coming to the Wii U; but you’ll have until 2017 to get your hands on it. To soften the blow of this bad news, Nintendo brought along some good tidings by saying that their next-gen console dubbed the ‘NX’ will be out in March of 2017. By that time, I’m hoping the internet will realize that Link is actually not named Zelda.

News:

Hardywood Park Expanding into Charlottesville – IN news that makes Jackie’s Virginia Heart Happy, Hardywood Park is headed to Charlottesville, VA. While the location is in the heart of enemy territory, it will help expand the reach of the brewery that brought us such delights as Gingerbread Stout and Sidoma Coffee Stout.

Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem are Coming to Mobile (eventually) – Nintendo announced the first two mobile applications based on popular Nintendo franchises. The games will be out this fall, however, prices have not yet been discussed. All we know for certain is that they’re destined to be a time suck and we’re not complaining.

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PAX East 2016 – Gearbox Opens the Lid on Battleborn and Teases What is to Come

With a line snaking around a significant portion of the third floor at PAX East, the Gearbox faithful gathered in hopes of learning more about what the studio had up its sleeve. What we got was some magic, a lot of Battleborn, and some news about a certain shooter.

Randy Pitchford is pretty up front about his love for magic. He was doing the audience a favor by showing us all the ways we could be deceived by engaging in some light pickpocketing, some slight of hand and a whole lot of distraction.

The panel was joined by Greg Miller, aka “Game Over Greggy,” former IGN star and current star of Kinda Funny. He made it very clear that his presence at the panel entitled us to some insight on the status of Borderlands 3 (or whatever they will choose to call it).

Mum was the word for most of the panel, which focused heavily on Battleborn, set to grace our computers and consoles May 3rd. It’s up against some steep competition with Blizzard’s latest offering, Overwatch, set to be released next month as well (convenient)?

Battleborn features a band of unlikely heroes that have gathered on a planet within the orbit of the final star in the galaxy. Predictably, someone wants to snuff it out and they need to stop him.

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Battleborn has been in open beta recently and Gearbox has been collecting some very useful data on who picks what hero, group composition, loot collection, etc.

By The Numbers:

368 – Most matches by one player (“I love you and I’m afraid of you.” – Randy Pitchford)

9.5 Million – Pieces of gear collected

46 Billion – Shards collected during Beta

10,000 – Number of 2D hand-drawn animations in the game

7-800 – Number of lines of dialogue per character

25 – Number of Heroes the game will start with

5 – Number of Heroes that are in the works and will be available to players at no additional charge

41 – Percent of groups that contained at least one Miko

Randy Pitchford compared this year’s panel to the panel that happened right before Borderlands was released. Mere weeks before the game’s release, they held a panel for 400 people and no one knew how Borderlands would fare. Several years later, Battleborn is facing the same uncertainty but the team has poured their blood sweat and tears into the project and are hoping fans will be as excited about it as they are.

The most played characters have been Oscar Mike (a clone soldier with an assault rifle), Marquis (A Gentleman Robot/Assassin) and Rath (A vampire like guy that the developers were a huge fan of). In Beta, Oscar Mike did the most damage, while the mysterious mushroom man Miko did the most healing.

Fear not, though, the ladies of mayhem are well represented with Thorn (who had the most Open Beta Kills) and Galilea (whose players favored Duelist over Mirror Knight 66% of the time).

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They also revealed some of the backstory, with certain heroes having a proverbial bone to pick with one another. But there’s more to the lore, and it took three people one year to finalize everything. Bits of the lore are revealed in conversations that will only occur if you have a certain party composition, much like other games.

In addition to the base game, they also let us know about some of the other perks of playing Battleborn, such as Season Pass and what we’ll get for our hard earned dolla bills. The Season Pass will be a mere $20 and include 5 campaigns. Not one, not two, but FIVE characters will be free after launch, the first of which being Alani, who is lovingly described as a “weird little fish girl.”

But, friends, Battleborn will be more than just merely a game. No, it will take on many forms, as Gearbox titles are wont to do.

Miko and Thorn will appear in Rockband 4 in collaboration with Harmonix (You might recall that characters from Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel have also featured in Harmonix titles in the past).

Additionally, the game will have clues to Borderlands 3 (or whatever they choose to call it, as we’ve previously mentioned) in the form of Easter Eggs.

Which, as they let us know during the panel, is in the very very early stages of development with writing and art direction ramping up. However, the game won’t be full steam ahead until after Battleborn has run its course and all content has been delivered.

Finally, before they made any mention of Borderlands 3ish, they showed a rap created by fans, who were rewarded with plenty of swag for their trouble. It beats a cease and desist order, right?

PAX East 2016 – Axiom Verge, Chasm and Mages of Mystralia

Saturday I got not one, not two, but three games to check out.

Thinking I wouldn’t need the whole hour to take in Axiom Verge, Chasm and Mages of Mystralia, I approached the booth expecting to spend a few minutes on each and then call it a day.

What I found instead were three different but equally immersive experiences.

I started with Axiom Verge, which is out now for PC, PS Vita and PS4 and will be coming to Xbox One and Wii U (which was the platform I played it on at the show). The game, which is referred to as a “metroidvania” action-adventure does definitely resemble its Metroid predecessor. In the game, you emerge from a large egg structure after surviving a horrible science accident.

Well she looks intimidating...
Well she looks intimidating…

The game is an impressive feat as it was developed by one guy. I failed enough that it was time to move on to my next quest…

Chasm, graphics-wise, is a little bit more grown up than Axiom Verge and will be out later this year. Also along the “metroidvania” vein of gaming, you’re investigating the disappearance of villagers in a game that kind of reminded me a bit of the mechanics of Aladdin for SNES.

Nothing quite like a nap under a creepy tree.
Nothing quite like a nap under a creepy tree.

Unlike the games of our youth, the title from Bit Kid, Inc. has a procedurally generated environment, lending itself to many replays as you investigate the environment over and over.

I’m eagerly awaiting its release and look forward to getting my hands on the completed product later this year.

As my private session with these games was drawing to what I believed was the end, I was escorted back into the magical press area where I would be shown Borealys GamesMages of Mystralia. The plot is described as something like Harry Potter, in which a young girl named Zia discovers she has magical powers.

Ice Lizard was no match for my magic missile.
Ice Lizard was no match for my magic missile.

Another highlight is that Ed Greenwood, writer for the Forgotton Realms world for Dungeons and Dragons will be writing the story, which was still in a fledgling state for the sake of gameplay.

The graphics reminded me quite a bit of early Playstation titles and a little bit of Epistory (which you may recall from an episode of the Brewelist podcast…).

One of my favorite aspects of the game was the spell crafting system. I found it to be pretty intuitive and powerful. My favorite cocktail of doom was 5 fire orbs that home in on your enemies and then explode. It was so powerful, in fact, that I broke the build. A couple of times. Not that I was counting. (If you guys are looking for a bug tester, I’m sure I can break a few other things for you before the release…just saying…).

After playing through the demo, there were some pretty sweet areas of the game that have not yet been revealed to the public.

The game was shown for the first time at GDC and is expected to be released in 2017. I can’t wait to get my hands on it again. And, judging by the fact their booth was mobbed, there appear to be a lot of other people who feel the same.

I would like to thank Dan Adelman, my guide and the PR guy for all three of these titles, and Patric J. Mondou who hooked me up with the preview stuffs for Mages of Mystralia.

TL;DR

Title: Axiom Verge

Developer: Tom Happ

Platforms:  Windows, MAC, Linux, PS4, Vita with Xbox ONE and Wii U coming soon

Available From: Steam, Digital Distribution

MSRP: $19.99 USD

Title: Chasm

Developer: Bit Kid, Inc.

Platforms:  Windows, MAC, Linux, PS4

Available From: Nowhere right now, unless you supported their Kickstarter or Pre-ordered

MSRP: ???

Title: Mages of Mystralia

Developer: Borealys Games

Platforms:  PC and Consoles

Available From: Our Dreams (We’ll keep you posted)

MSRP: ???

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PAX East 2016 – 20XX: The Return

20XX from Batterystaple Games has been out for a bit and is still in early access. However, it’s grown up quite a bit since the last time Brewelist reviewed it.

 

Like…a lot.

 

Mechanics and graphics have changed and there are some new bits to explore (like bonus rooms that make me want to throw my controller but that’s another story for another day).

Screenshot courtesy of 20XX/Batterystaple Games

I wondered why there was ALWAYS an update for the game but now I know. The developers have been working hard to put out a new update every two weeks to improve and add to the game.

 

If you’re not familiar with 20XX, it’s a Megaman-inspired roguelike side scroller that will brutally punish you for failing but provide you with that delicious nostalgia that keeps us all going. (Overheard at PAX: “I like it more than Mighty No. 9.”)

 

I played the newer build and EVERYTHING looks different. The BOSS battles are even different. It’s still challenging but is less buggy and more fun. And it might tide you over if you backed Mighty No. 9 and are still waiting for that to happen…

 

The team plans to continue to release new content and hope to have it out of Early Access soon. Which means buy it before the price goes up (even though it’ll only be around $15).

 

TL;DR:

 

Title: 20XX

Developer: Batterystaple Games

Platforms:  Windows

Available From: Steam

MSRP: $11.99 USD (price will increase when it leaves Early Access)

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PAX East 2016 – Read Only Memories is a Must Play

Looking for a cyberpunk mystery that recalls a simpler time in gaming?

Read Only Memories from Midboss, LLC may be your answer.

The story follows you as your home is infiltrated by a very talkative ROM named Turing. Your distant friend is missing and Turing needs your help.

Neo-San Francisco is the setting of this tale and promises many colorful characters as you try to unravel the mystery. The retro graphics reminded me quite a lot of early SNES games and I appreciated the simplicity.

The game was originally funded through Kickstarter and, as I was informed, has 70 drink recipes that can be created in real life. (Anyone else think this warrants a Brewelist episode?) The game will soon be brought to mobile platforms (Dubbed the Type-M Edition), PS4 and Vita with 2064: Read Only Memories.

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Screenshot from Midboss, LLC

It will include new characters, animations and full voice acting, the first public build of which was available for me to play in demo form at PAX East. While it took a little bit of time to play through it I thought the puzzles and clues were approachable and the brief taste of the game leaves me wanting to play more (so expect a full review in the very near future).

The game was available at the Playism booth, who will be providing localization for the Japanese market, where I feel it will do quite well.

The game is currently available on Steam, Humble Store, GOG and itch.io. The 2064 edition will be a free update once released so you have nothing to lose. Do it now!

TL;DR:

Title: Read Only Memories

Developer: Midboss, LLC.

Platforms:  OSX, Windows, Linux (PS4, Vita and Mobile coming soon!)

Available From: GOG.com, itch.io, Humble Store and Steam

MSRP: $19.99 USD

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PAX East 2016 – The Real Future of Virtual Reality Has Arrived, 3D Scanning and I never knew a keyboard could do that

Just as important as the games on display is the technology that helps our favorite titles run. At PAX East 2016, many of the new and trendy technology was on display for us to get our hands on.

If you were a product of the 80s and early 90s you may have remembered Virtual Reality, or at least the huge bulky and expensive machines at arcades (remember those?). Nintendo even attempted to get in on the game with the ill-fated Virtual Boy console.

With the Oculus Rift (who was also at the show) making waves from their Kickstarter, other manufacturers have gotten in on the game such as Sony with the PS4 VR headset and the HTC Vive. Less expensive alternatives exist that make use of the mobile phones you already have, like the Google Cardboard.

I had the opportunity to check out the PS4 VR setup when I demoed Thumper, a title billed as “rhythm violence” built by Drool, a studio started by two Harmonix alumni, Brian Gibson and Marc Flury.

Most of the VR action takes place on the headset while the game is controlled by the controller and streamed from the PS4. You’re a metallic space beetle fighting an evolving entity. As you progress, you navigate an increasingly complex series of patterns. If you fail, the stakes are a bit higher as this will quickly wear down your armor and lead to your demise.

The patterns do resemble their Harmonix roots, so if you’re a fan of Rock Band or other titles in the genre, this will be an easy experience to pick up.

The game has already generated a lot of buzz and was one of several titles that were on display at the show for PS4. The headset itself will be available for the general public in October 2016.

Newegg also offered private demos of the HTC Vive, which is a headset with two Wiimote-like controllers that streams content from a PC. This provided more of the traditional VR experience where you are in a 360 degree environment and you are the controller. The game selected did a very good job of displaying the capabilities of the VR system and gave me a bit of a workout.

If you’re salivating at that prospect, prepare for the dream crushing reality – the HTC Vive currently has a list price of $799.99.

Their main booth on the Expo floor also gave showgoers the chance to play with the latest in PC gaming technology and some other fun peripherals to support their “Game like a Pro” campaign. The goal is to make you think of Newegg when you’re getting ready to build or upgrade your equipment so you don’t experience lag, performance issues or overall frustration with your hardware.

And while we’re on the topic of PC gaming technology, both Intel and Logitech had a presence at the show with some rather interesting tech I’d never seen in the wild before.

Intel offered “digital swag” in the form of doing a 3D scan of your likeness. In a week, I’ll be able to use the file to import my image into Fallout 4, Skyrim, FIFA and potentially other games so that my protagonist can look just like me. Cool huh?

Logitech unveiled a wall of keyboards that were programmed to show a video. Their keyboards had an impressive array of functions, the most compelling of which was the game profiles that can be imported to support your favorite titles.

The intention of this feature is to highlight only the hotkeys and in some games, even blink so you can quickly reload, heal up or perform some other function.

We’ll be looking forward to how the new VR evolves and I’m eager to get my hands on my 3D scan and a new Logitech keyboard.

As cool as the VR is, I’ll also be waiting for that to get a bit cheaper but it won’t stop me from longingly gazing at what can be done on it.

Thank you to Drool, Newegg, Logitech and Intel for sharing these experiences with us.

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The Pick Six – April 15, 2016 – Anheuser-Busch InBev Takes Another Victim, Perry’s Chocolate Stout Ice Cream Taste Test and Beer Does Good

Brews:

Perry’s Chocolate Stout Ice Cream – Last week we let you know that this magical unicorn of an ice cream existed and Jackie got her hands on it. It’s very creamy but still light with lots of chocolate flavor. As the creation contains no actual alcohol, adults and children can enjoy it just the same, but with all things, moderation is key. The ice cream is available in premium pints at scoop shops and grocery stores in New York State and Western Pennsylvania.

Everyone else can use their imaginations.

Great Lakes Turntable Pils – Czech-Style Pilsner, 5.3% ABV – There’s nothing retro about this flavorful pilsner from one of our favorite nearby breweries. Light in color but not flavor, this hoppy beer packs a bit of a punch. We hope it’ll stay for the summer and it’s worth getting your hands on if you’re #blessed to live within their distribution range.

 

Games:

Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture Comes to PC – Yesterday, the PC Master race scored another victory as the much lauded Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture indie game from The Chinese Room came out on Steam. The title was previously a PS4 exclusive which made me salivate and quietly contemplate buying a PS4 to play it. Now I don’t! Expect a more thorough review soon if I ever resurface.

It’s Not Really a Game But You Can Find Some Here – Casey recently told Jackie about bgr.com. Every week day they feature apps that normally cost money but are free. Get ’em while they’re hot because many of them are one-day only deals. They range anywhere from useful apps to help you make sense of your life to, you guessed it, video games. Even if you end up not liking them…they’re free!

 

 

News:

Anheuser-Busch to Acquire Devils Backbone – InBev has claimed another craft brewery, this time one of Virginia’s largest craft operations, Devils Backbone. Devils Backbone is best known for their Vienna Lager and European-style beers. The brewery will join other acquisitions as part of “The High End.” Anheuser-Busch is no stranger to the Virginia beer market, having operated a Williamsburg location for many decades. As always, the promise is there that everything that makes the craft brewery special will remain, but time will tell if this promise can be kept.

NC Brewers Using Beer to Fight H8 – Beer has been the great equalizer throughout history. In the legendary words of Founding Father, Benjamin Franklin, “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” Proving that not everyone in North Carolina agrees with the “Bathroom Law” aka House Bill 2, Mystery Brewing Company and Ponysaurus Brewing Company have created “Don’t Be Mean to People: A Golden Rule Saison.” In addition to protesting a law that regulates that which is none of our business, it will take advantage  of North Carolina grain and sorghum molasses. Proceeds will benefit Equality NC and QORDS LGBT summer camp program.

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The Pick Six – April 8, 2016 – Founders KBS, Chocolate Stout Ice Cream and Mobile Games

Brews:

Founders Kentucky Bourbon Stout 2016 – April 1 saw the very limited release of Founders’ always anticipated Kentucky Bourbon Stout. The beer is brewed with chocolate and coffee and then aged in bourbon barrels until it’s ready to be rehomed with many beer enthusiasts. I preferred this year’s variant over last year’s (which was a bit heavy on the bourbon for my taste) and look forward to seeing how it develops over time.

Perry’s Ice Cream, Chocolate Stout – Western New York’s own Perry’s Ice Cream has yet another way for us to keep cool this summer. They’ve released Chocolate Stout which gives you everything you love about chocolate stouts minus the alcohol. Sold in a premium pint, it’s a chocolate stout flavored ice cream with roasted chocolate stout swirls and fudge flakes. Sadly we’ve not gotten our hands on it yet but will report back when we’ve had a chance to sample it. Good thing it’ll be available year round!

Games:

Twofold inc. is a cute puzzler to pass the time – There are a LOT of puzzlers out there to waste time on your mobile device with and Twofold Inc doesn’t do anything to break the mold necessarily, but it’s still a fun time. It’s basically a mobile version of that old puzzle where you slide the tiles to get them all to match. The big difference is that there is a robot to guide you and a somber soundtrack. Check it out on iOS and Android for Free.

Attuned is the Ouiji Board Game You Never Wanted –  I was intrigued by the idea of a supernatural puzzle game on my phone. Summoning the dark forces of beyond any time I wanted was something I couldn’t pass up. Unfortunately, Attuned, did not satiate my otherworldy desires. The basic premise is to create different shapes by swiping with your finger.

Shadow Bug – iOS, Muro Studios – Released last week, Shadow Bug has you saving your forest home from an evil factory. Some of the landscape looks eerily like a Mass Effect 2 Praetorian but the rest of the graphics have a cool artsy feel. And all you need to do to fight is tap. What more can you ask for?

News:

Hey (Moderate) Beer Drinking May Be Good For You: Compounds from hops may help prevent cancer and other conditions like Alzheimer’s. Dr. Kristopher Waynant from the University of Idaho hopes they’ll be able to soon isolate the ingredients so treatments can be developed that don’t cause harm. Previous studies have linked the tasty beverage to stopping the development of prostate cancer, lowering the chances of getting kidney stones and dark ales and stouts can reduce heart attacks. Of course, all of these benefits mean nothing if you drink too much, so it’s probably a good thing that someone is trying to figure out what gives us those benefits without us needing to drink so much. No word if the compounds will be successful in helping you get through your next family gathering, however.

Read the original, magical article here (www.foxwilmington.com).

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Miitomo and Alter Ego from Smartmouth Brewing Company

Nintendo launched it’s first Mobile app last week and Jackie and Casey couldn’t help but flip out about it. Miitomo is a Social Media time-sucker in the best way possible and we paired it up with Alter Ego from Smarthmouth Brewing. Want to know why? Take a listen and find out below.

You can pick up the game on iOs or Android devices. Visit the Smartmouth Brewing Company website to see where to get your hands on this brew.

Check our Facebook page for updates, along with our Twitter and Instagram. We also have an UnTappd account where you can see what we’re drinking; and you can catch us on iTunes for your listening pleasure.

Any ideas you have for a game to play and a drink to go along with it? Email us: brewelist@gmail.com.

Stay Thirsty and Play Indie!

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The Pick Six – April 1, 2016 – Blue Moon’s New Packaging, Stone/Dogfish Head/Victory Saison du Buff and Miitomo

This week there will be no beer news. Sorry.

(April Fools!)

We’ve actually got quite a lot of beer for you. Plus news. Plus some new games. Let’s get this month off to a fresh start in this week’s The Pick Six.

 

Brews:

Saranac Summer Pils – 5.2% ABV, German Pilsener, Seasonal – Summer will soon be upon us (once the weather makes up its mind) and its seasonals are starting to pop up. Saranac’s contribution to the party is a hoppy German Pilsener. It’s light, refreshing and just enough hops to keep it interesting. Now if only drinking it would bring on the warm sunny days we’re all looking forward to.

Stone/Dogfish Head/Victory Saison du Buff – 6.8% ABV, Saison, Limited Release – Stone’s been collaborating with some of their craft beer peers (last year they created North by South IPA with Sierra Nevada) and they’ve adopted “the more the merrier” with their newest release, Saison du Buff. This three-way collaboration with Dogfish Head and Victory is a Limited Release in the Saison style. The bottle describes it as “A farmhouse style ale brewed with parsley, sage, rosemary & lemon thyme,” which may make you think of an Italian dinner but it actually works well. There’s more hops and less effervescence than I’ve experienced in other Saisons but it is very tasty. So pick some up before it’s too late and decide for yourself.

 

Games:

Nintendo Miitomo Invades North America – iOS/Android – We get to join those lucky, lucky Japanese in Nintendo’s first mobile app Miitomo. If you’re ready to waste a lot of your future life with the rest of us, you’ll get the most out of it by creating a Nintendo Account and linking your Facebook and Twitter profiles. The game is still in its infancy so we’ll see how it evolves (and how long we’ll be able to go until we get bored).

The Star Wars game that I can’t stop playing – Yes, I’m well aware that Battlefront is the Star Wars game of choice for most gamers out there, but the one that keeps me coming back is Galaxy of Heroes. A turn based Roleplaying game, a la Final Fantasy; it boasts an endless amount of different characters, a fantastic leveling up system, and tons of different battle modes. It doesn’t take a huge time commitment and even with the Level 70 cap, there’s still more things to do after that. Lots of fun for Star Wars and video games fans alike.

 

News:

Blue Moon’s Packaging Is Getting an Update – Is it putting lipstick on the pig? A clever marketing ploy? The MillerCoors “craft” brand is releasing new packaging, set to start appearing on shelves today.  The goal is “celebrating the notion that creativity is always brewing,” says Ryan Hemsing, director of marketing for Blue Moon.

The company hopes to establish itself as a “gateway beer” to craft beer. If Blue Moon is the gateway, what should be the brand consumers pick once they’re ready to upgrade?

Virginia is for (Craft Beer) Lovers – Deschutes Announces Plans to Open a Facility in Roanoke, Va. – After vetting “hundreds” of potential cities for the East Coast operation, they settled on Roanoke, Va. The project is expected to cost around $85 million, $3 million of which comes from Virginia’s “Commonwealth Opportunity Fund.” The strategic location will enable them to better distribute beyond the Mississippi and becomes the second big craft brewery to establish a base in The Old Dominion after Stone Brewing opened a Richmond-based brewery earlier this month.