Brown ales have a tendency to all taste alike – malty, smooth and otherwise unremarkable. I’m pleased to report that I’ve found is anything but boring. Continue reading “Brewelist Advent Calendar 2018 – Big Ditch Fresh Baked Winter Ale”
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.
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.
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.
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.
Title: Kingdom: New Lands/Kingdom
Developer: Raw Fury/Licorice
SPOILER ALERT: Be advised, this article contains spoilers relating to Fallout 4. If you do not wish to see or read story or plot information, please return when you have had an opportunity to play (and let us know what you think)!
After the unfortunately now-standard “release day” update that delayed my venture into the world of Fallout 4 by an hour, I was finally treated to the eagerly anticipated and already record-breaking title from Bethesda.
The game’s prologue sequence follows the military service of the Male Protagonist (who ended up being Nate, as I’d selected the female protagonist, his wife, instead) and conveys his uneasiness about the current conflicts. Then you are transported to Pre-War Boston, where Male Protagonist is talking to himself in a mirror with his wife close behind.
Customization, as shown in the E3 demo, is drastically changed. You are able to mold and shape your character as you see fit in more ways than one, right down to their physique. This alone could keep you occupied for a good long time as you craft your Wasteland Doppelganger.
Exploration of your humble abode reveals aspects of your life, including your young son, Shaun and your faithful robot butler Cosworth (Who, for the record, cannot say my name).
Ron Perlman makes his appearance as a stoic anchorman delivering the daily news up until you’re greeted by a friendly salesman with a clearly scripted pitch. You give him some information, and then he’s on his merry way, and you are left needing to attend to your crying infant.
Before too long, Codsworth is summoning you into the living room where news of atomic blasts in DC and other cities is being reported. The sirens start blaring and your exodus to Vault 111 begins.
This is the first time in the series where we get a glimpse of what Pre-War life was like and also a named protagonist. The tutorial/character selection is quicker than in Fallout 3 and the emotional toll is much higher as well. I won’t say what happens, but you do leave the Vault some two-hundred years later with a vendetta.
It’s also the most colorful incarnation of the series so far. You emerge into a lush post-apocalyptic forest with collectible vegetation. The sounds are also quite realistic and immersive.
Sanctuary Hills, your Pre-War neighborhood, also shows an evolution in the gameplay. Crafting is going to be a huge component in the game and every piece of supposed junk is going to have a purpose. The crafting and upgrades are similar in style to the housing in The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim but with more options and, obviously, more modern materials.
This is bad news for my inventory but great news for my inner packrat.
I’m looking forward to getting deeper into the game and exploring nearby Concord as well as the rest of Boston.
The city of Boston is near and dear to my heart. It is where I have family and it is where my video game journalism ‘career’ began. It is the place where I discovered indie video games and gained an affection for the men and women who make them and the community that surrounds this artform. While Fallout 4 is not an indie game by any stretch of the imagination, the fact it has chosen Boston as the setting is fantastic.
Fittingly, then, the beer that got me into trying craft beers was from Harpoon, a larger brewery in the city of Boston. It remains one of my favorite breweries, even though I have not yet made it out to their facility in my trips to the city thus far.
I may get some laughs/jeers/criticism but it was Harpoon R.A.Z UFO Hefeweizen that first tingled my tastebuds and changed how I felt about beer. I wasn’t opposed to beer beforehand, but I was mostly drinking Sam Adams at my fanciest and Blue Light/Molson Canadian at events because I had no idea what else to drink.
At the time, it was a summer seasonal, and has joined their year-round offerings as what I hope is a permanent fixture (chances are good, it’s been about 4 years since it went full-time). The color is a hazy dark pink color, due to the tart raspberries that complement the unfiltered beer. I hoarded bottles like bottlecaps and waited eagerly for it to return with the summer beers.
It’s very easy to drink and I haven’t had a raspberry beer that came remotely close to it until we reviewed Dark Horse Brewing Co’s Raspberry Ale. I find that many beers in the fruit category tend to go for sweetness and the result is often syrupy and not what I’m looking for in a beer. I would argue that this beer is a suitable substitute for the Dark Horse offering and is more widely available due to Harpoon’s distribution footprint.
While I’m certain it’s debatable whether or not Harpoon is a ‘craft beer’ I would argue that even if it isn’t, it is a fantastic entry beer if you are someone who wants something different, drinkable and reasonably priced (locally it runs between $8.49-$8.99 for a six pack). If you’re not into raspberry, they also make seasonal variations in Pumpkin and Gingerbread with the same base beer, both of which are also delicious.
Harpoon’s signature beer is their IPA, and if you venture ever closer to their base of operations, you can catch variations only available on draft, such as their Munich Dark. They’re also known for their 100 barrel series, which is a limited run of beers concocted by their brewers and has been the basis for some of their more widely-released flavors (the Raspberry UFO began as the Framboise).
The Harpoon R.A.Z UFO Hefeweizen clocks in at 4.8% ABV, making it possible to enjoy more than one without suffering ill effects. It is best enjoyed ice cold on a hot summer day, but in my honest opinion, works for hydration in the post-nuclear apocalypse.
On the final Saturday of September, Rochester brought a little piece of Germany to High Falls. Specifically the Genesee Brewery.
Ok, if you’re local to Rochester, you might have just gotten confused there. A brewery, known more for its Cream Ale and Genny Light than German heritage and strong beer doesn’t seem like the venue for an Oktoberfest celebration. Fortunately this was called ROCtoberfest.
My faithful companion and fellow beer enthusiast arrived at the Genesee Brewery earlier than the 3 o’clock start time. We decided to hit up the brewery itself, which offers tastings and growler fills on the bottom floor (it’s just past the gift shop). For a mere $2 you can sample four beers from their current selections. Added bonus? Most of the proceeds go to local charities.
And, in case you were wondering, I was able to find four delicious beers that weren’t Genny Light.
After enjoying our flights, we walked to the festival, located across the street in a parking lot. It was a nice sunny, warm day, the perfect setting for an outdoor event.
After seeing online that the event was tentatively going to have a $5 cover charge, we approached the entrance with our IDs and cash in hand. To our delight, admission was free and I got to apply that cash towards a stein.
It was bigger than my head and probably held a full six pack and cost me $17.
The band that began the day is Die Lustigen Almdudler, who played many traditional German songs and led the crowd in dancing, cheering and revelry.
It was a great excuse to get out of the house, enjoy the company of good people and honor my German heritage as well as some cold beer. Not to mention the venue has stellar views of the Genesee River and the Rochester skyline, for those of you into that kind of thing.