A Very Berry Beer To Savor This Summer – Not Berry Hefe – Knucklehead Craft Brewing

Fun fact – 40 lbs of raspberries were added to the fermenter to give Not Very Berry Hefe a noticeable berry hue. The brew is light and effervescent but not sweet, as you may guess from the name. Heck, my husband even liked it and he’s not a fan of fruit beers.

I love raspberries, I love beer – the choice wasn’t difficult.

Knucklehead Craft Brewing has a flagship lineup of the usual stouts, IPAs, a cream ale and a scotch ale year round but they regularly release a limited batch/seasonal offering. The last time I’d swung by was for their Blueberry Muffin Ale, which they served with some blueberries and cinnamon sugar on the rim (I declined that garnish and kind of regret it). It actually tasted like a blueberry muffin.

The Not Berry Hefe, though, I had never had before because it has sold out wicked quick the last couple of times they’ve brewed it.

I can now see why.

The brew is a lovely blend of berry flavors and the light refreshment of a witbier. We’re not talking the sticky, icky sweetness of something like Founders’ Rubaeus or Shocktop Raspberry. The closest equivalent is, not surprisingly, my perennial favorite, Harpoon’s Raspberry UFO.

The biggest difference between the two is the smell and taste. Their use of a traditional Weissbier does give it a bit of that smokey flavor you get with those beers over more commercially available Hefeweizen style beers. However, if you can’t get to Knucklehead before it sells out, again, the Harpoon one is your best bet. Then plan better next year.

It definitely tastes and smells like summer should and will refresh your body and soul during the few hot weeks we have left.

Not Berry Hefe – Knucklehead Craft Brewing – Hefeweizen – ABV Unknown

Throw One Back Thursdays – Kingdom/Kingdom: New Lands

Heya everyone! Yes, it’s been a really, really long time. Yes, I missed you. Yes I am sorry. Now that the days are longerish and it’s Summer, I hope to provide you with some new fun things in the land of craft beer and indie games.

This week, I’m trying something new with Throw One Back Thursdays, in which I will highlight a game I’ve played recently (probably an older one because that’s what I do these days, the sweet smell of nostalgia is strong) or a beverage you may find appealing.

I’ve decided to kick off the series with Kingdom and Kingdom: New Lands. The two games are mostly the same, but Kingdom: New Lands is available in the Steam Sale for dirt freaking cheap. (No, seriously, it’s 70% off, GO NOW: http://store.steampowered.com/app/496300/Kingdom_New_Lands/) I personally play it through gog.com, where I picked up Kingdom originally. New Lands adds some features and refinements and is more readily available, so it’ll do just fine.
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The game is in the pixel art style, which, if that bothers you, stop right here and return to what you were doing.  If you’re still with me and don’t mind this, you’ll start by selecting if you will be a queen or a king and what color variant you will embrace. This will also influence the banner that will appear as you grow your settlement, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

Keep in mind the tutorial will not tell you HOW to pick your poison so you will need to use your up and down arrows to pick it before the loading screen finishes.

You begin by galloping across an expanse and collecting some coins. These will be your seed money to start your Kingdom, be it ever so humble at first. Find your settlement and press down to fill the empty hole above you with a coin. Congratulations, explorer, you’ve got yourself a town.

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As night falls you will be assailed by these troll things that want your gold and ultimately, your crown. If they get your crown, you fail and you have to start all over. The more coins you have on your person, the less likely they will succeed, mostly because they will take those.  During the day you must “recruit” the beggars in the countryside and provide them with weapons, tools and other accessories, which will assign them to roles.

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In turn, the recruits will either defend, build/repair or do menial jobs around the settlement, which result in cash or protection. If you stop by some of them long enough, you’ll get even more coins that you can invest in people and expansion.

The further out from your initial spot you wander, you will encounter treasure chests, odd monuments, new horses, more beggars, etc, etc. The goal is to expand as far as you can without getting robbed by the greedy little trolls.

If you fail, you just start again, learning where you should invest your money, your people and your time. If they get attacked by the trolls, you’ll have to recruit and equip them again, but you’ll learn what’s best as you go.

That’s pretty much it. It’s a simple but sometimes frustrating title, but I kind of enjoy it. It’s something you can throw a few minutes into, or a few hours, depending on your time and attention span.

Again, right now it’s on sale in the Steam Summer Sale, and if you think you’d enjoy it, you have until July 5th to grab it at a fantastic price. If you miss out, it’s around  $14.99 list.

TL;DR:

Title: Kingdom: New Lands/Kingdom

Developer: Raw Fury/Licorice

Type: Strategy

Platform: PC/MacOS/Linux

Brewelist Advent Calendar 2016 – More Advanced Drinking Games – Drinking Quest and Exploding Kittens

We’re getting closer to that holiday but some of you are going to have gatherings sooner. So, it’s important to have PLENTY of distractions for your guests.

If you’re the king of your local nerd kingdom, sometimes the simple stuff simply will not do. It’s for this reason that we’re proposing two slightly more advanced games for your friends.

Drinking Quest is by the prolific Jason Anarchy (he’s also a pretty friendly dude). It incorporates humor (some bawdy, some not), RPG stylings and…well drinking. The game has some pretty clear drinking rules but you can adapt those to non-alcoholic beverages if you’re trying to be responsible, or, like me, lose a lot.

It looks like the original Drinking Quest in physical form is sold out, but you can get it on iOS for $3.99 or Android for $1.79 (prices are in USD).

Also worth the mention – obviously as this is a drinking game, it’s not suitable for minors (unless they’re playing with the non drinking rules or have an “advanced” sense of humor). It is, however, a ton of fun and worth looking into.

exploding-kittens

Exploding Kittens, which took the card gaming world by storm by being the most backed Kickstarter Game in history, is also a little more complex than the games we mentioned last time. You can still get the physical cards on Amazon and the like, and if you’re feeling particularly naughty, there is a NSFW edition you can obtain.

If physical isn’t your thing, or you are very, very pressed for time, this game is also available on iOS for a mere $2.79 US. Android users get a bit of a discount, paying only $1.99 US for the same privilege.

I’ve personally not played Exploding Kittens (yet) but my sister backed it on Kickstarter and raves that it is incredibly fun. While smart, wonderful and good looking, she also has great taste, so that was enough for me.

Also, kittens.

What are your favorite games to play with friends, family or your worst enemies? Let us know in the comments below or hit us up on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Brewelist Advent Calendar 2016 – Dark Beer for Dark Nights – Blue Moon Cappuccino Oatmeal Stout and Genesee Salted Caramel Chocolate Porter

Ok, I know I lost some of you with the title. Blue Moon? Is that even a craft beer? Well, not really, but it’s really delicious and worth your consideration if you like coffee-ish stouts and it’s hella available.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s chat a bit about these, shall we?

Blue Moon Cappuccino Oatmeal Stout – 5.9% ABV – Stout – This Limited Release from the company who brought you that obnoxiously common wheat beer that requires an orange garnish has actually done a great job on this one, in my opinion. The beer is simultaneously light yet creamy in taste but dark like night. Added bonus? Under 9 bucks a six pack. It may also appeal to your pickier guests who claim they don’t like beer.

Genesee Salted Caramel Chocolate Porter – 6.5% ABV – Porter – As much as Casey and I have talked about this beer, I’m not certain we’ve ever actually reviewed it. It’s a dark beer and packs a little bit of a punch in terms of alcohol, but not enough for you to be concerned. Unless you’re a lightweight, in which case, do the responsible thing and make someone else drive you. It combines salted caramel and artisan chocolate. It’s like drinking a delicious truffle out of a fine glass. Or a bottle. Whatever floats your boat. This one is a bit more expensive and less available, running around $11 for a four pack. If you’re local-ish to Rochester, NY you may also get to take advantage of places that do growler fills or make a quick trip to the brewery itself. From what I know, if you have access to a Wegmans, you stand a good chance of having access to this beer. Also if you’ve been “aging” some of it, I found last year’s batch kind of tasted a bit like maple syrup.

I’d also like to add that if you’re a person who does baking or makes sweets of any kind, either of these beers might be great flavoring for those creations. I’m not certain how you’d make them, but if you figure it out, let me know because I’m curious.

If you happen to live in an unfortunate place that does not have either of these brews, I’m finding that coffee stouts are quite common this year. If you’re super super local, Triphammer Bierworks in Fairport, NY has (maybe had at this point) a very tasty variant that brought me great joy.

What dark beers would you add to the list? Have a different opinion? Let us know in the comments or ping us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Brewelist Advent Calendar 2016 – Let’s Play a Game

I hope everyone had a restful and productive weekend. If you didn’t, we’re not here to judge.

The holidays can be stresssful, especially if you have a bunch of people in your house. But, we can help with keeping them occupied while you do other things like hide in the bathroom.

Just kidding. You’ll likely want to play with your friends and family. We’ll make some suggestions that are easy-ish and require/encourage varying levels of inebriation to provide the desired effect.

First off, Monopoly is NOT your friend in these situations. Unless, of course, you’re looking to decrease the number of people you have to buy gifts for by making them violently angry with you.

The first up is one of my favorite games for inexperienced players/people who may have had one too many or can’t be bothered to learn anything too complicated. I taught my dad how to play it in less than five minutes.

Zombie Dice – The game uses dice (either physical, or there is an app for your phone) that have a brain, an explosion looking icon and feet. The brains are the objective, as you want to obtain as many as possible before you get shot three times (the explosion looking things). Footsteps are those meddlesome humans that got away and are therefore useless to you. You can continue to test your luck by rolling more dice and risk losing all your brains if you collect three gunshots per round.

The game retails for less than $15 and comes in a handy tube if you go for the physical edition, and fits in your pocket if you are doing the digital version. The app is free to download with in app purchases and is available for iOS and Windows Phone (sorry Androids!). The physical game can be purchased any number of places, but you should definitely support your local game shop if they have it. There are also expansions and different versions of the game, but the base game suits my target audience just fine.

Our next recommendations will require a basic knowledge of how offend able your guests are and if you will be in the presence of minors (that will be drinking sodas and juice, not alcohol. Let’s make that clear). One will be better than the other for certain circumstances, which should be clear shortly.

Apples to Apples – This game is a perennial favorite and also very easily obtained. Each player is given a cache of nouns to pair with a dealer’s adjective card. So, for example, the dealer may present a card that reads “arrogance,” to which you can anonymously pair something along the lines of “Potbellied pigs” or “George Washington.” The dealer then reviews the cards for their suitability, and entirely at their discretion, determine a winner. The player who obtains the most adjective cards is the winner. Simple. This is better for company who may be easily upset by drinking, profanity or inappropriate topics. It’s still a ton of fun.

Cards Against Humanity – This game, and its seemingly infinite expansions, is quite possibly one of my favorite games to play with people while drinking. The rules are basically the same as Apples to Apples but the cards are more along the lines of sex acts, slang terms, and truly politically incorrect statements. If you’ve ever played, you know what I’m referring to. That being said, this is probably not the game for you to play with grandma or Aunt Maybel, unless they’re the tolerant fun kind of relatives.

Apples to Apples is probably the priciest of the bunch, but very easy to find. Cards Against Humanity (with a bit of planning) is actually free to print out and play.

If you’re lazy, pressed for time, or impatient, you can buy the cards at a lot of places, including Target. The base deck is going to run you around $25 and expansions run around $5-10 a piece.

It’s also worth mentioning that these make great gifts as well and won’t break the bank.

We’ll report back with some other fun games you can play during the holidays later in the Advent Calendar. Is there a game you’re a huge fan of? Something we should check out? Let us know in the comments or hit us up on Facebook or Twitter.

**image is from sjgames.com

Brewelist Advent Calendar 2016 – The Cure for Cabin Fever – Stone Brewing Company’s Cabin Fever Mixed 12 Pack

Buying beer for a crowd can be difficult. Like, very. You’ve got the guy who only drinks Bud Light, the guy who will only drink West Coast IPAs and the person who won’t touch anything they can see through. And then the person who swears they don’t drink beer because they don’t like how it tastes.

If you have one of those last people in your life, get rid of them. You don’t need that negativity in your life (though we kid).

The Cabin Fever Mixed 12 Pack does a decent job of coming thisclose to giving a little something for everyone. Alas if you’re only into Pilsners/Lagers/Weak Beer, you won’t be well served here. However, if you’re feeling adventurous, like some flavorful beers and are willing to spend around $22 for the people you love, you’ve got yourself a winner here.

Stone includes 3 bottles of their Delicious IPA, their Ruination Double IPA, their Coffee Milk Stout and, the star of the show, their Vanilla Bean Porter.

The Delicious IPA is, as advertised, delicious. There is a subtle sweetness and fruitiness that lacks the bitterness that some people don’t care for. It’s the second highest alcohol content in the pack, so take it easy.

The Ruination Double IPA 2.0 takes things up another level (and increases your chances of misery the next morning). This isn’t my favorite but it’s strong. So if you’re just trying to get through that awkward gathering you went to as a plus-one, hide in the corner with one of these. It’ll be over soon.

The nights, and our seasonals, are getting darker. This one has a clear coffee taste and a smooth flavor that makes it perfect to unwind after a long day.

My favorite, overall, is the Cabin Fever exclusive, the Vanilla Bean Porter. It’s not too sweet and you can taste the freshness of the vanilla. It reminds me of a cold latte or a milkshake. Stone – won’t you pretty please make this a recurring beer and maybe make it possible for me to get a 6 pack of it in the future? It is THAT good.

Yes, this pack will run you more than most variety packs (ones that are similar in content and styles around me run about $17), but this is more than worth it to offer something a bit different to your guests.

The Stats:

Stone Delicious IPA – 7.7% – India Pale Ale (Year-Round, available in six-packs, 22oz bottles and on draft)

Stone Ruination Double IPA 2.0 – 8.5% – Double IPA (Year-Round, available in six-packs, 22oz bottles and on draft)

Stone Coffee Milk Stout – 5.0% – Milk Stout (Seasonal, also available in six-packs or on draft)

Stone Vanilla Bean Porter – 5.9% – Porter (Exclusive, only available in this pack)

Brewelist Advent Calendar 2016 – Day 1 – Gifting Glassware

Welcome to day 1 of the Brewelist Advent Calendar. Over the next 25 days we’ll bring you some gift ideas, gadgets or seasonal brews to help you make it through the Holiday season.

Today, we discuss that thing that you seem to have a ton of in your cabinets or habitually break. Both apply in my household.

I’m talking glassware. Have a friend or family member who lives far far away and may never taste the simple pleasures that come with the beers from your favorite watering hole? Have someone locally that you need to buy for and know they are a HUGE fan of a local place, sports team or game franchise?

Well, there’s probably a glass for that. I’m serious.

Despite multiplying inexplicably in your home, they’re really inexpensive and easy to get. The drawback is that they can be a pain to package and ship, but not really if you’re diligent with bubble wrap or package filler (pro-tip, plastic grocery bags can work nicely here…if you happen to have a huge stock of those also). You can also DIY a set with whatever you want if you’re crafty enough.

This time of year you can also find yourself a relatively inexpensive gift set of various types of glassware to accommodate IPAs, Lagers, Pilsners or Stouts for the person on your list who is trying to get into glassware, or is really picky about what they drink theirs out of.

Added bonus? They don’t even have to drink beer out of them. These vessels don’t discriminate and will happily accept milk, juice, soda (or pop) or whatever liquid joy your heart desires.

I personally love receiving a thoughtfully selected pint glass or shot glass from the magical places my friends and family visit. I’m also known to pick one up as I travel to remember the awesome places I’ve been or the events that I don’t want to forget.

Almost EVERY brewery you visit will have some form of glass that you can get really cheaply. The places I’ve been typically have them for $5 or less, maybe a little more if they’re a fancy goblet or huge stein, but overall, so inexpensive you could easily use them for a Secret Santa or an extra special something to put homemade snacks, tiny gifts or a gift card to the place that you got them from (so they can get a growler of something to enjoy out of it!).

 

If you’re keen to get them something of the gaming persuasion, actual online stores can provide options, like the Bioware Shop, Gearbox Shop or Bethesda Store. ThinkGeek.com can also be a great source for these things if you need a lot of different stuff for a lot of different people. Also, Etsy.com can give you an even wider variety and the possibility to commission a custom piece, but may run you more for the artisan’s time and may have a much longer lead time.

The Pick Six – June 22, 2016 – EA Goes Indie, Big Ditch Low Bridge and Steam Summer Sale!

Brews:

Big Ditch Low Bridge – Hoppy Golden Ale, 4.8% ABV – If you’re getting tired of the same old same old light beer and might want to get your feet wet with hoppier beer, this one may be the ticket. It’s light, extremely flavorful and slightly hoppy (that bitterness that you may taste with an IPA). Sadly it is only available in Western New York but if you’re ever visiting, seek it out!

Southern Tier Salted Caramel – Imperial Porter, 10% ABV – The new kid on the block in the Southern Tier Blackwater Series is Salted Caramel. It’s dark like our souls and offers a more savory caramel flavor (far less sweet than Genesee’s Salted Caramel Chocolate Porter, which is still a favorite on Brewelist). It’s also more widely available than its Rochester equivalent and available now to tide us over until SCCP returns in the fall.

Games:

Tee Time for Robots – If you thought Golf was a dead sport, think again. 100ft Robot Golf will be bringing this honored sport back to the forefront as you take control of a giant robot as it destroys obstacles that get in the way of their shot. The game will be compatible with Playstation VR and you can control your robot from your headset. Will this be the new Rocket League? Find out this fall and look at the link below.

We Happy Few Gets an Early Access Date – Compulsion Games – Jackie was all about this title before the hype. No, really, she was at PAX East 2015 and was among one of the first to play it. It’ll hit Steam Early Access on July 26, 2016. If you’re a fan of dystopian survival horror (think Bioshock with trippier 60s styles), you’ll want to give this one a gander.

News:

EA goes indie? – EA is launching it’s own EA Originals program which will let indie game developers get their titles out to a wider audience under the EA banner. They are taking a three step approach of giving us unique games, supporting small developers, and helping them get funded. One of the first games to be released under this banner is Fe, an explorative adventure game along the lines of Journey. Take a look at the trailer below.

Video web content titled: Fe Gameplay Trailer - EA PLAY 2016

Bdubs Eyeing Beer To Go – This fall you might be able to pick up some of your favorite beer to go with your wings from Buffalo Wild Wings. They’re collaborating with MillerCoors and Anheuser-Busch to figure out how to best enable their customers to leave with beer. So expect some options for growlers, crowlers and other vessel fills in a few months.

The Pick Six – June 15, 2016 – Sodastream Does Beer, Ohio lifts the ABV cap and Virginia Tech’s Fusion Lab Gives Rise to History-Based Video Game

Brews: 

Sweet Tang Lager With Grapefruit – Hamburg Brewing Company, 5.0% ABV – This lager has heavy grapefruit flavors. It lacks bitterness and is heavy on the citrus. It’s very crisp, very tasty, and very welcome on a hot summer day. And, at only 5.0% ABV, very drinkable.

 

All about the Hefe lifting – Widmer Brothers from Portland, OR is releasing its Hefe Shandy again this Summer. The seasonal beer features Hefe’s signature hazy appearance with the addition of lemon drop drops and natural lemonade flavor. It’s the perfect beverage to enjoy on your back porch with fireflies all around and a breeze through your hair. The beer only has 4.2% ABV, so it’s great for keeping you cool when things heat up. You should be able to get your hands on this beverage at a local brew stop near you.

 

 

Games: 

Our Pandemic: 1918 – Virginia Tech (Jackie’s alma mater) has created the Fusion Studio which allows participants across multiple disciplines to collaborate. In this case, a historian, a video game developer, an expert on pandemics and an artist joined forces to create a point and click game that explores the 1918 influenza outbreak. Also worth mentioning that Virginia Tech now has a microbrewery on campus and students can learn about brewing beer and whatnot. I’m glad to see my tuition dollars are being well spent long after I can no longer benefit from them (but I guess there’s always grad school?). The game isn’t out yet but I suspect it’ll be an interesting use of the medium.

 

Oxygen Not Included Announced at E3 – One of our favorite Indie Game studios, Klei Entertainment has announced their newest project, a space colony simulation called Oxygen Not Included. While no firm release date has been released, there is a Steam Page and speculation it will hit later this year or early in 2017. How will we fare as leaders in space colonization? Probably not well but we’ll have a lot of fun failing.

 

 

News: 

Beer on demand going too far? – Sodastream has begun selling their “Beer Bar” product, which allows you to, allegedly, brew a craft beverage at will using their system. They swear you can’t taste the difference but I suspect it’s going to take a lot more than a Sodastream and some flavored concentrate to dupe an actual beer. While I’m curious to know what it’s like, I’m going to sit this one out. I mean, I still have difficulty accepting that gas stations can fill growlers…

 

Ohio Lifts ABV Ban – Previously, if you were an Ohio resident and wanted any beer above 12%, you were out of luck. The state has voted to allow the beers to be sold in the state, but must be labeled “High Alcohol Beer.” Sounds like a reasonable compromise to me.

 

The Pick Six – May 25, 2016 – Snape-ricot Ushers in Denver Comic Con, A Succulent Growing Simulator and Ommegang Wins Big at World Beer Cup

Brews:

Breckenridge to release Snape-ricot Limited Edition Brew for Denver Comic Con – As a tribute to the late Alan Rickman, who played the ambiguous wizard Severus Snape in a certain low-budget film series called Harry Potter based on a few short stories by the same name, Breckenridge Brewery kept up the tradition of making a new beer to welcome the Denver Comic Con back for another year. Apricots and Ale seem like a good combination and we’d love to have our hands on it but it will (tentatively) only be available locally in Denver and makes its debut on May 20th. Attendees of the Con can also pick it up.

 

From Beers to Bottles – Rogue Ales has over 7 million honeybees at it’s farms and each one will visit up to 1500 flowers a day. To celebrate all of this pollination bee-havior, the brewery is releasing Honey Kolsch and Marionberry Broggot; both made with honey foraged from spring nectar sources including marionberry, cherry, jalapeño, cucumber, pumpkins and wildflower blossoms.  Both beers will be available the beginning of June for your bee-rew consumption.

 

Games:

Viridi, or a Game in Which You Can Determine What a Terrible Pet Parent You Can Be – From the world that brought you a simulator for pretty much everything else, if you ever wanted to try your hand at planting and growing succulents (the allegedly low maintenance and very resilient members of the plant kingdom), Viridi can help you. The game is free to play on Steam and will be out on mobile for iOS and Android sometime in the next year. I find the premise unusual but intriguing.

 

The Cleaner – If you remember Party Hard, you may like The Cleaner. The aesthetics take us back to the 70’s and our protagonist is a guy who cleans up crime scenes. It’s not out yet but we’re looking forward to trying it out.  See the trailer here.

 

News:

Ommegang Wins Big at World Beer Cup – Cooperstown’s own Brewery Ommegang came home with three awards from the…well…World Cup of Beer. Rosetta, their cherry sour, won gold, Three Philosophers and Gnomegang won bronze and Ommegang was named the 2016 champion for a mid-sized brewery and brewmaster. In the event you’re not familiar with Ommegang (and if so, what’s the going rate on Airbnb for the rock you live under?) they’re the craft brewery that makes the licensed Game of Thrones beers. Congratulations!

 

Labatt Contributes to Disaster Relief Efforts in Fort McMurray, Alberta with Canned Water – Hold the jokes, kids. Yes, Labatt’s typical beer offerings are either the light, easy-drinking Labatt Blue, Blue Light or the horrid Labatt North American Non-Alcoholic beer. Which means that they’re also really capable of canning a bunch of actual water really quickly. And they have, to the tune of 200,000 cans that they are donating to Canadian Disaster Relief to assist firefighters and evacuated residents of the Canadian City that is currently being badly affected by wildfires in the region. You may recall that another Anheuser-Busch/InBev property, Budweiser, also contributed canned water to storm victims in Texas and Oklahoma last year.