As a sort of resolution for 2016, I started a beer journal to document every new brew I encounter over the course of the year. The goal of this practice is to catalog the beverages I ingest, comparing flavors to see which beers I truly enjoyed. At the very least, this little notebook helps me to keep track of the beers I drink during hectic holiday gatherings.
Coming down from the Thanksgiving highs of food and family, I took a moment of respite to review my beer journal from the last week. With my brother-in-law visiting, I had the opportunity to share some tasty local brews and take part in trying new seasonal beers. While reading over my notes, I was struck with inspiration for a regular column for the faithful readers of Digital Drafts.
Weekly Brews and Reviews will be shorter articles highlighting the beers and video games I experience each week. These writings will feature tasting notes and quick thoughts on the brews and titles from the week prior. With that in mind, let’s dive into an indie game and some powerful dark beers!
It was still swimming season when my wife and I started playing Abzû. Since we thoroughly enjoyed Journey, Laura and I were eager to see the first game from Giant Squid Studios.
At the time, I was very impressed by the gorgeous visuals of the undersea world in Abzû. The vast number of ocean creatures present in the game was equally delightful, especially since I was raised on Zoo Books and National Geographic video tapes. But despite the vibrant colors and mysterious atmosphere of Abzû, I simply couldn’t engage with this game. Certain nuances of the controls proved awkward in my hands and I felt limited by the linear nature of certain areas, specifically the moments when our little diver was forced along narrow tubes by undersea currents. We shelved Abzû and moved on to other games.
The arrival of my brother-in-law was a revival for Abzû in our household. As a trained scuba diver, he was drawn to the game. While we were enjoying Thanksgiving leftovers and lounging for the holidays, he started a fresh dive into this underwater adventure, completing the game in a single sitting. This proved to be an ideal way for my wife and me to experience Abzû. We were able to witness the beautiful world and interesting creatures without wrestling with the controls or feeling confined by linear gameplay. We watched the game like an immersive documentary of a oceanic ecosystem, which was quite enjoyable.
In between gorging on Thanksgiving treats and watching a virtual deep sea dive, I had the chance to try an interesting porter from Evil Twin Brewing: Imperial Doughnut Break. Using almonds and doughnuts in the brewing process, the resulting beer is an appropriate coffee black with a foamy mocha head. There is a strong nose of coffee grounds, devil’s food cake, and a hint of bourbon. The brew starts of with roasted and smoky notes, giving way to a flavor of semi-sweet chocolate and dark bread. The boozy finish highlights the imperial nature of the porter, clocking in at 11.5% ABV. Considering the name of this brew, I was surprised at the lack of sweetness and decadent chocolate cake flavors. However, this is a rich porter that will definitely appeal to fans of powerful dark beers.
Closing out the Thanksgiving week, I celebrated the release of the second issue of my gaming zine, Component. Featuring writing and artwork from talented creators on the subject of role-playing games, Issue Two of Component highlights titles like Dungeons & Dragons, Xenogears, Skyrim, and many more.
To mark this momentous occasion, I indulged in a special beer from my little reserve collection: Trappistes Rochefort 10. As one of the most highly rated beers in the world, I was eager to try this beloved Belgian Quadruple. Rochefort 10 pours a hazy dark brown with garnet hues and a creamy beige head. A delicious aroma of bread dough, cloves, and overripe plums wafts from the glass, with hints of toffee and tawny port. The first taste is full of baking spice and rich plum cake. As the beer warms in the glass, stronger notes of nutmeg and dried fruit are introduced, along with a lingering aftertaste of orange zest.
Trappistes Rochefort 10 lived up to its reputation as a fantastic Quadruple. The rich and complex flavors were an optimal way to commemorate the completion of a year-long project. Issue Two of Component is available in both print and digital formats. Just like Issue One, 100% of the profits will be donated to charity: water to fund clean water projects in the developing world. So please be sure to check out Component for all sorts of gaming goodness!