Saturday, 26 November 2011

Old Speckled Hen (Morland) - in an Old Speckled Hen Pint Glass

Old Speckled Hen (Morland) - in an Old Speckled Hen Pint Glass
Name: Old Speckled Hen
Label: "Strong fine ale - A distinctive rich malty taste bursting with character, fruity aroma and deliciously smooth"
Brewery: Morland
ABV: 5.2%

Rating: Continuing my current penchant for drinking ale out of branded glass receptacles, here's Old Speckled Hen in an Old Speckled Hen pint glass. Double quality.

Game: True Skyrim story: so I arrived at the College of Winterhold, cold, hungry and fantastically tired. I'd been walking for what felt like days, since the tragic incident where my horse decided to gallop itself off a cliff. Stupid horse, that was a 1000 septims badly spent. Anyway I chatted to a bunch of people in the college and I was a bit like "Yeah, whatever, I just need to get some kip, which way is bed?" but they insisted on trying to teach me magic. Right, forget your Lesser Ward spell, I'm off down the Frozen Hearth for a pint.

Stepping outside of the college I'm greeted by one annoyed looking dragon spewing flame in my general direction. Now armed with just my Lesser Ward spell, a steel sword and a carrot, I attempted to battle the beast as its sole purpose was blatantly to hinder my evening visit to the local ale house. As the conflict progressed I became ever more weary, and slightly toasted. But suddenly the dragon's health rapidly started to ebb. I knew it wasn't the effects of the carrot and so I turned my charred body away and noticed all the residents of the college had come out to battle the dragon with me. Standing shoulder to shoulder with my new found comrades-in-robes, the dragon was quickly vanquished and from this day forth I pledged my allegiance to the College and all who live there.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

March of the Penguins (Williams Bros)

March of the Penguins (Williams Bros)
Name: March of the Penguins
Label: "Smooth creamy stout - Microbrewed for maximum flavour! - Brewed in Alloa"
Brewery: Williams Bros Brewing Co
ABV: 4.9%

Rating: "A silky smooth stout brewed with a blend of chocolate malt and roasted barley combined with lovely hop aromas and a spicy, fruity finish." Drink this whilst fighting the Penguin in Arkham City. Gotta be done.

Game: Perrenial nipple-head MP Keith Vaz is at it again spouting his hateful bullshit in the direction of video games. This time he's linking Modern Warfare 3 to the July 7 London bombings. A pretty disgusting thing to say really just to gain some cheap publicity. One chap on Facebook added a great comment something along the lines of, "AGAINST pretend war, FOR real war. Interesting moral position."

I'd like to lob a little hate-filled hand grenade in Vaz's general direction, but I'm not a violent person. Even though I've been playing violent games for the past twenty five years!

Friday, 18 November 2011

Norfolk Bitter (Woodforde's)

Norfolk Bitter (Woodforde's)
Name: Norfolk Bitter
Label: "Brewed at Woodforde's Broadland Brewery, Woodbastwick, Norfolk - Smooth with a subtle hint of citrus fruits"
Brewery: Woodforde's
ABV: 4.5%

Rating: "A perfect match for... Caramelised crispy pork belly and roast meats."  That's proper food and ale right there.

Game: Got so many massive games on the go at the moment, Skyrim, MW3, Assassins Creed Revelations, Batman etc. I spend about half an hour each gaming session arguing with myself about which game to put on. Yeah I hate being bi-polar, it's awesome. Opted for Modern Warfare 3 tonight. It's very violent. In fact, it's quite horrible if you consider the level of realism. It just reminds you how shit war really is. War should be banned. From now on countries should settle all their arguments and power struggles on Team Deathmatch instead. No more senseless waste of life. Result.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Champion Double Ale (Broughton)

Champion Double Ale (Broughton)
Name: Champion Double Ale
Label: "Brewed in the Scottish borders"
Brewery: Broughton Ales
ABV: 5.5%

Rating: "The two beers are brewed and fermented separately in their own unique ways then blended together in a warm conditioning vessel to allow the two ales to mature. The result is a delicious beer, very drinkable with complex flavours and aromas." I agree, it is very drinkable.

Game: Hey ladies (and gents), do you want to see my massive ventral striatum? According to a recent BBC article, Computer gamers' brains 'differ' from all you normal folk, apparently. Now, being hopelessly addicted to video games means it's more than likely that I have an abnormally large ventral striatum, some bit of brain that acts as a "reward hub". The article doesn't say that this is necessarily a bad thing though, so having a generally positive outlook on life I'm going to assume it's a good thing. I'm now playing even more in order to get into the Guinness Book of Records with the worlds biggest ventral striatum, hopefully drinking beer also helps. Next stop, gigantic nucleus accumbens!

EPA (Marston's)

EPA (Marston's)
Name: EPA
Label: "English Pale Ale - Craft brewed"
Brewery: Marston's
ABV: 3.6%

Rating: "EPA is a refreshing lighter blonde ale with subtle citrus flavours and a delicate bitter aftertaste." B & M Bargains are doing some great ales at the moment, reasonably priced too.

Game: Well played to Amazon, they delivered Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim bang on time. Both games are absolutely brilliant, obviously.  And with Assassins Creed: Revelations arriving next week, I'll have lots of amazing games all with a colon in the title. Colon fans rejoice!

Monday, 7 November 2011

Frank's Ginger Beer (Kopparberg)

Frank's Ginger Beer (Kopparberg)
Name: Frank's Ginger Beer
Label: "Best served chilled over ice - Genuine Swedish Ginger Beer - Alcoholic"
Brewery: Kopparberg
ABV: 4.0%

Rating: "Frank's ginger beer is a traditional beer blended with ginger. Contains barley malt."  I used to despise ginger beer. After drinking the alcoholic version though, I must admit it's definitely an acquired taste, which I seem to be acquiring fairly rapidly. Who the heck is Frank though?

Game: Facebook and Twitter competitions are awesome aren't they. Usually I win absolutely nothing though.  However last week I won £50 worth of Amazon vouchers courtesy of Playr2.com and their newly launched Playr2 Facebook page.  Then I won a Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 t-shirt courtesy of the fine folk at Game's Twitter account @GameDigital!  A colleague said I should buy a lottery ticket considering this good run of fortune. I enquired whether he was mad and that I may as well just throw a quid down the drain - there's a fourteen million to one chance of winning the lottery you know!  No-one really wins any money anyway. The "winners" are just taken away to a secret island where they're eaten by rich, fat people with a penchant for human flesh.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Blond Witch (Moorhouse's)

Blond Witch (Moorhouse's)
Name: Blond Witch
Label: "A premium, light, refreshing ale with a sweet citrus dry finish"
Brewery: Moorhouse's
ABV: 4.5%

Rating: Named after an ex-girlfriend, this is just as feisty and tangy.

Game: Just a quick one about FIFA 12.  The difficulty settings are broken or have gone AWOL.  I know this because me and one other person on Twitter have noticed the issue. Professional difficulty is too hard (help, I can't score or defend).  Semi-Pro difficulty is really easy (woo, winning by at least a three goal margin and opponent can't score for toffee).  I don't know whether this is a good thing or not. I'm just currently enjoying that winning feeling in every match, until the novelty wears off.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Pendle Witches Brew (Moorhouse's)

Pendle Witches Brew (Moorhouse's)
Name: Pendle Witches Brew
Label: "A light golden beer, soft, crisp and bitter-sweet flavours"
Brewery: Moorhouse's
ABV: 5.1%

Rating: Great beer, I've only drank it once before and that was at a beer festival about fifteen years ago. At least I think it was this beer, the memories are fuzzy, bordering on non-existent...

Game: In the last post I mentioned my Halloween date with Calendar Man in Batman: Arkham City. Well what an anti-climax that was! I didn't even get an invite into his cell. No meal, no coffee, no film. See you at Thanksgiving! When the heck is Thanksgiving anyway? And how come those lucky Americans get Thanksgiving and Christmas, whilst we only get Christmas?

Monday, 31 October 2011

Spooks Ale (Shepherd Neame)

Spooks Ale (Shepherd Neame)
Name: Spooks Ale
Label: "The official ghost brew for All Hallows - Drink if you dare - Gall of Shepherd, Slip of Neame, Silver'd in the Kents moon dream - Double double boil & bubble, hops brown & barley stubble"
Brewery: Shepherd Neame
ABV: 4.7%

Rating: "A classic beer of true quality, Spooks Ale is characterised by its huge biscuity malt palate, derived from three traditional roasted barley malts used in the mash, giving a glorious deep red hue. The excitingly complex malty flavours are wonderfully balanced by a huge citrussy, hoppy bitterness and aroma from a particularly fruity hop added at four stages in the brewing process. The memory of this beer will haunt you forever!" Scarily delicious.

Game: After this beer I'm off back to Arkham City as I have a Halloween date with Calendar Man apparently.  Not sure whether it'll work or not but he seemed to be saying that if I go and visit him on the 31st of October then something will happen. It sounds like nonsense to me but I'm curious so I've not checked the internet for clarification lest the surprise be spoilt. I'm just going to turn up to the date, hopefully for a candle-lit meal followed by a good rom-com.  I remember getting an achievement on Call of Juarez 2 when I had a duel at high noon (that's 12 o' clock our time) so anything's possible.

Pumpkin Ale (Saranac, Matt Brewing)

Pumpkin Ale (Saranac, Matt Brewing)
Name: Pumpkin Ale
Label: "The spirits of the Adirondacks - Ale brewed with pumpkin spices and other natural flavours"
Brewery: Saranac, Matt Brewing Company
ABV: 5.0%

Rating: "In celebration of the fall harvest, here's an autumn favourite that's as enjoyable as pumpkin pie. This hearty ale is brewed with cinnamon all spice, cloves and vanilla. Look for a full body and amber color. We're sure you'll enjoy this special brew!"  I've never had pumpkin pie. If it's anything like the beer though I'm sure it's positively ace.

Game: Finally got round to finishing Portal 2... with zero help from the Internet. Ok it's not that great an achievement I guess, it's not like rocket science or brain surgery or anything. It's more like creating portals to hard to reach places and then walking through them. But as far as puzzle games go, it's been the best one I've ever played. It definitely had me stumped for periods of time too which makes beating the game all the more satisfying. My rating: 8 out of 10.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Hobgoblin (Wychwood)

Hobgoblin (Wychwood)
Name: Hobgoblin
Label: "Brewed with roasted malts for a well balanced, rich, smooth taste packed full of mischievous character - The Unofficial Beer of Halloween"
Brewery: Wychwood
ABV: 5.2%

Rating: Halloween is just around the corner and the pumpkin's getting fat. The Halloween branded bottle of Hobgoblin is becoming an annual event. Different on the outside, but the same great taste!  Here's last years bottle.

Game: Boring FIFA 12 post alert. Kept getting beaten but finally managed to stop conceding so many goals and started a unbeaten run towards the end of the season finishing in the respectable(ish) tenth spot on Professional difficulty.  So with all good intentions starting my second season at the helm with Liverpool, I've vowed to play far better. So in my first two pre-season friendlies I'm on the wrong side of a 4 - 0 drubbing followed by a 3 - 1 defeat.  This is FIFA 12 telling me I suck at FIFA 12.  The Chief Exec has told me to finish top of the league too. Things are destined to end badly.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

St George's Glory (Batemans)

St George's Glory (Batemans)
Name: St George's Glory
Label: "What legends are made of"
Brewery: Batemans
ABV: 4.1%

Rating: "A blond English ale full of succulent English hops and malt.  Put some fire in your belly. It would be unpatriotic to drink anything else. Goes well with Dragon Steaks." I didn't have any Dragon steak so I had Unicorn rump instead. The beer is magical.

Game: Today is a bit like the morning after the night before. I woke up thinking, "Ar yeah, can't wait to play Batman tonight!", then the realisation slowly dawned on me through the sleepy beery stupor that I'd finished it last night. I'm pretty sure I did most of the side-missions too so it seems quite a short game. However I have played it every night for at least two hours since last Thursday... and all day Friday. I say all day Friday but it was probably equivalent to a working day interspersed with what every male does when they're alone at home: folding clothes, hoovering and stacking the dishwasher. So, although it seems a lot, I've probably put about eighteen hours in and with only 40% of the entire game completed according to the stats screen, there's still plenty to be done such as Riddler trophy collection, side-missions and combat rooms. So it's looking like very good value for money if you've yet to get your wallet out.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Elsie Mo (Castle Rock)

Elsie Mo (Castle Rock)
Name: Elsie Mo
Label: "Full-bodied & irresistible. Blonde & beautiful.
Brewery: Castle Rock
ABV: 5.0%

Rating: "Elsie Mo is named after the Low Colour Maris Otter Malt that gives our favourite golden girl her beautiful body and complexion.  With a distinctive, yet delicate blend of hops, she's not only full bodied and desirable but totally irresistible." Without trying to sound sexist the lady on the bottle is quite attractive, for a two dimensional drawing that is...

Game: Checked my stats for Batman: Arkham City and noticed I've completed 75% of the main storyline. I nearly wept. I want it to last for years, it really is that good. There have been some reported issues with the Catwoman DLC - this is the DLC available to those that buy the game new. Luckily my code checked out ok and for the record, the Catwoman chapters are absolutely sublime. Her playable chapters slot into the main storyline perfectly and as far as video games go, she is quite possibly the sexiest character you'll ever er... use. Her stealth takedowns are something to behold, it's all long legs wrapped around necks and fancy acrobatic positions. She cat wees all over Halle Berry and Michelle Pfeiffer and leaves them crying into their litter trays, that's for sure.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Tom Fool (Jennings)

Tom Fool (Jennings)
Name: Tom Fool
Label: "A Classic Amber Ale for the Foolish of Heart"
Brewery: Jennings
ABV: 4.0%

Rating: "Said to enjoy the odd tipple, Thomas Skelton - the ghost of Muncaster Castle is still fooling around today. His favourite beer named after his good self, is a golden amber ale with all the characteristics of a true traditional English beer." Ghosts like it, so it must be ace.

Game: So Batman: Arkham City went straight to number 1 in the UK All Formats Chart. Who saw that happening? Everyone, that's who. The game is quite simply stunning, both in looks and more importantly, gameplay. Some key points of note so far: there are an amazing amount of characters all inter-woven throughout the story via the main plotline or side missions, spanning the history of Batman and Detective Comics. As with Arkham Asylum, there are a wealth of upgradeable gadgets and combat moves. The combat is great. I start to struggle when surrounded by more than ten enemies at once as my feeble brain struggles to keep up, but now theres double counters, several special takedown moves and evasive moves to give Bats a serious ass-kicking edge. I did experience one glitch a few hours in where... nah never mind, it was only minor and I don't want to say anything negative about this masterpiece of a game.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Ruby Red Ale (St. Peter's)

Ruby Red Ale (St. Peter's)
Name: Ruby Red Ale
Label: "Our beautiful flask-shaped oval bottle is a faithful copy of one produced c. 1770 for Thomas Gerrard of Gibbstown, just across the Delaware River from Philadelphia. The original is now kept at St. Peter's Hall and is a rare example of an oval Eighteenth Century beer bottle."
Brewery: St. Peter's
ABV: 4.3%

Rating: "A rich, red ale with subtle malt undertones and a distinctive spicy hop aroma from Styrian Goldings. Brewed with skill and patience in one of Britain's finest small breweries."

Game: Can't stop playing Batman: Arkham City at the moment. Still to play/finish: Transformers: War for Cybertron, FIFA 12, Portal 2 and Dark Souls.  I did manage to take a break from gaming earlier in October to go on a course to work towards the much sought after Abbot Beer Diploma. After four gruelling modules, years of revision, and that "medicine" in Mass Effect that makes you clever at exams, Gaming Ales is proud to announce a "Pass with Merit" and has been inducted into the Abbot Alumni:

Abbot Beer Diploma

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Glencoe Premium Wild Oat Stout (TSA)

Glencoe Premium Wild Oat Stout (TSA)
Name: Glencoe Premium Wild Oat Stout
Label: "Triple filtered for added purity - Brewed and bottled in Scotland using pure Scottish water with malted barley, whole hops and yeast"
Brewery: Traditional Scottish Ales
ABV: 4.5%

Rating: "Tasting notes: Deliciously rich and full bodied stout with the characteristics of toasted oatmeal and chocolate."  I don't drink stout much, but when I do I always think 'Wow, I should drink stout more.'

Game: I can't discuss Batman: Arkham City because I'm literally lost for words for how amazing it is. Like I said on Twitter, why can't Rocksteady now make ALL superhero games, as they've done something incredible with Batman. Imagine them developing a Superman game? Or Marvel-ling it up with Spider-Man, X-Men or Hulk?

In other news, following my post on Inside Xbox Monday Musing, I also managed to get on last Tuesdays Tweetbate (18/10/2011) somehow!  The question: "What's the furthest you've gone in order to earn an achievement." My response: "I've been exercising like a madman trying to get all the UFC Personal Trainer achievements. I weigh about 3 stone now though."  It wasn't the winner, which I guess technically makes me a loser. To get on Tweetbate, check the Xbox dashboard (Inside Xbox Tweetbate panel) and tweet your answer to the question @IXTweetbate.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Lincolnshire Best Bitter (Batemans)

Lincolnshire Best Bitter (Batemans)
Name: Lincolnshire Best Bitter
Label: "A blend of English golding hops & maris otter pale & crystal malts that give a peppery, biscuity flavour. Sweet with notes of caramel".
Brewery: Batemans (brewed exclusively for Marks & Spencer)
ABV: 4.9%

Rating: Batemans beers are great, that's all we need to know. We also need to know that Batemans Brewery site is built around an old windmill that dates back to the 19th century and sits beside the River Steeping in Lincolnshire.

Game: Starting early tonight, Batman: Arkham City has arrived!  Check out my very first unboxing video on youtube.  Here I show you all the amazing things about the game during the unboxing, the snazzy 3D effect lenticular sleeve, the shiny new instruction booklet and, bizarrely, a voucher for a free burger! It's not as in-depth as I'd have liked because I was keen to get playing the game.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Yorkshire Best Bitter (Hambleton)

Yorkshire Best Bitter (Hambleton)
Name: Yorkshire Best Bitter
Label: "Malty with a nutty character & dry finish - this has a malty character with a hint of nuttiness from the crystal and roasted barley. Balanced with both Northdown and First Goldings Hops this ale is a true Yorkshire Bitter"
Brewery: Hambleton Ales (brewed for Marks & Spencer)
ABV: 4.3%

Rating: It's got a picture of cricket on the label. I don't like cricket, oh no. I love beer, oh yeah. I don't like that song, oh no.

Game: Currently playing Transformers: War for Cybertron. It's been a bit stop start though and played mainly during breaks from Dead Island before I'd finished that, and now because I'm genuinely too scared to put Dark Souls on. I'm giving T:WfC 7 out of 10. The missions are pretty dull irrespective of what faction you play as; shoot some enemies, press a button to open door / activate lift, shoot at bigger enemy and so on. The visuals are great though, if a little samey - it's all on Cybertron you see (which is a big metal planet) but the environments are vast, complete with awesome looking cityscapes. The story is what lifts the experience, getting to play as Optimus before he becomes a 'Prime' and seeing Iacon, the Autobot's capital city. Playing as Megatron as he tries to control a wayward Starscream before officially becoming leader of the Decepticons. It's all good stuff if you have even a passing interest in the subject matter. Energon cube, anyone?

Monday, 17 October 2011

Cheshire Chocolate Porter (Unicorn)

Cheshire Chocolate Porter (Unicorn)
Name: Cheshire Chocolate Porter
Label: "Based on an original recipe from 1899 created with the collaboration of renowned chocolatier Simon Dunn - Full bodied with ripe malt & velvety smooth chocolate taste"
Brewery: Brewed for Marks & Spencer by Frederic Robinson Ltd at the Unicorn Brewery
ABV: 6.0%

Rating: 'Renowned chocolatier Simon Dunn' gets around doesn't he, check out his other excellent beer related work here.  Chocolate doesn't agree with me so he's like my arch nemesis or something, but if you're normal and you like chocolate and beer, you should be drinking this by the gallon.

Game: Dead Island finished. Time to get that rotting corpse of a disc out of my Xbox and onto the trade-in pile. That sounds derogatory doesn't it, but it isn't meant to be. The game is brilliant and definitely worth an 8 out of 10. My only issue was whenever I found a vehicle I seemed to have the uncanny ability of getting it stuck on stuff or wedged between stuff and then having to abandon it. That might just be because I suck at driving though. Who needs vehicles anyway, mowing the zombies down in a jeep made things way too easy. Thrashing wildly about with only the "Feeble Wooden Spoon" equipped whilst completely surrounded by zombies is how it's meant to be played, right?

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Old Crafty Hen (Morland)

Name: Old Crafty Hen
Label: "Vintage Ale - Crafted by the Master Brewer of  'Old Speckled Hen' - Gold Quality Award Winner 2009 - Superior Fine Ale"
Brewery: Morland
ABV: 6.5%

Rating: "This strong fine ale combines a distinctive malty taste with a satisfying, smooth raisin finish. Brewed with a blend of the famous old 5X, which is aged using our vintage oak vat maturing method, this delicious dark amber ale is perfect for indulging yourself and your friends."

Game: Less than a week until Batman: Arkham City and the reviews are bigging it up as the best game ever invented.  No longer is it just the best superhero game, it's the best game, 'period'. And I want it 'stat' (whatever this means, presumably 'at once').  Now trying to avoid reading anything more about it, lest it be spoilt by over-zealous reviewers.  Skyrim is now less than a month away too and what better way to whet the appetite than a read of the following post from Games From the Void about all the awesome improvements and changes since Oblivion. I'm going to need a sabbatical from work this autumn.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Old Golden Hen (Morland)

Old Golden Hen (Morland)
Name: Old Golden Hen
Label: "Refreshing crafted beer - A refreshing golden beer with tropical fruit notes"
Brewery: Morland
ABV: 4.1%

Rating: "Crafted by the Master Brewer of Old Speckled Hen, this light golden beer delivers both flavour and refreshment. Brewed using the finest pale malts and the rare Galaxy hop to give a light golden colour, subtle tropical fruit notes and a deliciously smooth finish."

Game: I found out today that Batman: Arkham City for Xbox 360 has appeared on various torrent sites. This must be soul destroying for the developers and all who worked on the game at Rocksteady.  I can't understand how people try to justify illegal downloads, whether it be movies, music or indeed, video games.  It's just inherently wrong in my opinion. Just because you can make digital copies an infinite amount of times doesn't automatically make it OK to have stuff for free. Yes, games are expensive, that's why I only buy the ones I really really want.  And when I'm skint and can't afford a game I go without.  Anyone who downloads it is categorised as "thieving scum" in my book. Shameful.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Poacher's Choice (Badger)

Poacher's Choice (Badger)
Name: Poacher's Choice
Label: "Notes of Damson & Liquorice"
Brewery: Badger
ABV: 5.7%

Rating: "The wily poacher knows the temptations the lush Dorset countryside has to offer. Just like the Badger, the Poacher craftily seeks out its treasures and makes the most of sumptuous local ingredients. This rich, smooth brew has softly spiced sweetness with dark liquorice notes and a fruity damson aroma. A gutsy ruby ale that is well matched with hearty game pie or a tangy mature cheese." I think my Badger collection with revamped labels is complete now... *hic*

Game: You're no doubt aware that Dark Souls is a pretty tough game. You should definitely know now as I've just told you in that surprisingly informative preceding sentence. Whilst unboxing Dark Souls I could see the control-pad start to cringe at the prospect of being launched through the telly in a fit of game-rage. The telly is just glad the game's not Kinect enabled as potentially I could be launching myself through the telly in a fit of game-rage. Fear not though my little beige controllery-type device and slightly aging HDTV. Its true, the game is absolutely and horrifically solid, however upon death there's more a sigh of resigned inevitablility than a bout of full on anger. You're supposed to progress a little bit at a time as you get better. Last night I got killed by a massive dragon, then some ghosts, then I fell down a hole a bunch of times and got absolutely nowhere in the process. So I put Dead Island on and mashed some zombie heads for an hour. Love it! I will master Dark Souls though, mark my words...

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Abbot Ale (Greene King) - in an Abbot Ale tankard

Name: Abbot Ale
Label: "Bury St Edmunds - Gold Quality Award 2010"
Brewery: Greene King
ABV: 5.0%

Rating: "Brewed for quality of the highest order in the heart of Bury St Edmunds where brewing in the town's great Abbey can be traced back to 1086. Brewed longer to a unique recipe creating a full flavoured, smooth and mature beer. This irresistible ale has masses of fruit and character. A malty richness and superb hop balance".  Notice my swish new Abbot Ale tankard in the picture? Thanks Abbot Ale / Greene King!

Game:  I saw perhaps one of the crappest video game related play on words / jokes ever on Twitter the other day. It's either rubbish or I just don't get it, or both.  It referred to the CVG article EA shuts Australian Dead Space studio regarding yet another game studio closing and the resulting job losses etc. The "joke" on Twitter quoted verbatim was, "Shocking News! Ea shuts Australian in Davy Jones' treasure chest Space studio. (Dead Space studio)".  I'm no expert on comedy but that is just shit. Sorry.  I don't know why, I honestly don't, but just reading it again makes me feel confused and angry.  I had to unfollow them in a vain attempt at catharsis.  In other, happier, news I want Dark Souls and Rage. A lot. I will resist though until I've finished Dead Island. Don't forget, Batman is out in two tiny weeks, woo!

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Scarecrow (Wychwood)

Scarecrow (Wychwood)
Name: Scarecrow
Label: "Organic Golden Pale Ale"
Brewery: Wychwood
ABV: 4.7%

Rating: "Organically grown English Barley Malt & whole leaf Target Hops combine to evoke lazy, hazy days of summer in this serenely satisfying golden harvest brew." It's an Indian Summer at the moment too so get the Scarecrows in!

Game: Well that’s Gears of War 3 done. I’m at a loss for words to describe how great the single player campaign is. It’s a brilliant ending to round off an exceptional trilogy. Even the end credits are good, especially the music. I was wondering who wrote and performed the song that plays over the credits. After a seemingly futile search, up stepped @TheElderlyGamer who scoured the whole of the entire Internet in search of an answer and found out within about five minutes (the clever so and so). Body Count and Ice ‘mother f*ckin’ T are in the house! 

Never enough – WE WANT MORE
Body parts and brains
Blood on the floor

Never afraid – WE’VE BEEN HERE BEFORE
We are – THE GEARS OF WAR!

Here are the complete lyrics. Body Count are great, rap infused thrash metal way ahead of its time, For. The. Win.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

First Gold (Badger)

First Gold (Badger)
Name: First Gold
Label: "Single English Hop"
Brewery: Badger
ABV: 4.0%

Rating: The last of the Badger re-labels. "First Gold are dwarf hops that grow in low hedgerows more reminiscent of a vineyard, enabling a better quality harvest.  A clean, fresh, distinctive ale with hints of orange and spice from the hop, perfect with traditional English roasts and pies."

Game: Up to the final chapter of Gears of War 3. Now, either I'm suddenly really awesome at Gears or the difficulty is a lot easier in this third instalment. Months ago I think a vaguely remember that salesman from Epic (Cliff Bellicky or something) saying that the difficulty was going to be easier in order to try and cater for a wider audience. It does seem easier, so for my second play through I'm ramping it up to Insane difficulty, baby. On a more worrying note (for me anyway), I've just realised I'm nearly out of new ales to try! Big sad face thing.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

5 A.M. Saint (BrewDog)

5 A.M. Saint (BrewDog)
Name: 5 A.M. Saint
Label: "Iconoclastic amber ale - BrewDog: Beer for Clever Humans"
Brewery: BrewDog
ABV: 5.0%

Rating: Ever felt you're getting a bollocking off your bottle of beer? No me neither, until now reading the back of the label: "You don't understand beer. You don't know what good beer is or how pathetic mass-market beers truly are. This is condemningly ironic considering how much beer we actually drink in the UK. Would you apply the same lack of care, knowledge and passion in other areas of your life? What does this say about you?" Crikey, well that's me told, I'm off now for a bit of a cry.  The beer tasted great by the way *sob*.

Game: Didn't get chance to revisit Dead Island because Transformers: War for Cybertron arrived. I'm a sucker for a Transformers game so when this dropped to £9.99 at play.com I transformed from miser to spend-thrift quicker than it takes to say "Autobots, roll out!". The game is surprisingly good, a bit like Vanquish but at a much slower pace. I'm not passing judgement yet as I've only played through the first Decepticon chapter.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

1845 (Fuller's)

1845 (Fuller's)
Name: 1845
Label: "Bottle conditioned ale matured to perfection for 100 days - Award winning strong ale - Celebrating 150 years of brewing excellence"
Brewery: Fuller's
ABV: 6.3%

Rating: When I was drinking this I thought it was like liquid Christmas cake (but in a good way), I might be getting better at this beer tasting lark as the back label says, "Being bottled conditioned and matured for at least 100 days before being released for sale, helps bring out the delicious fruit cake aroma from the amber malt and Goldings hops in the brew." Get in.

Game: Zombies. Lots of zombies. Played through Red Dead Redemption's massive Undead Nightmare expansion game and it was great: 8/10. Now playing Dead Island which seems to have received mixed reviews, possibly due in part to extremely high expectations generated by the rather exceptional and evocative official Dead Island trailer. This is probably one of the best video game trailers I've ever seen. Ever. No game could live up to the hype generated by that. Its selling well despite the mixed reviews. Most shops in town had sold out, Game only had a couple of copies left and had hiked the price up to £47.99, Gamestation had it pre-owned for £42.99!  So it's rareness suddenly meant I just had to have it. Asda saves the day though with plenty in stock for £10 cheaper than Game, their stock manager needs to win Colleague of the Month, Game's stock manager needs to be sent to an island full of flesh-eating zombies.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

A letter to Metro Newspaper

Today the Metro printed an article by Fred Attewill about how gamers are "trapped in virtual worlds".  C&VG have done a great article here and I wrote a letter to the Metro and Fred:

"Hi Fred,

Just read your recent article in the Metro this morning “Gamers are trapped in virtual worlds” and wanted to congratulate you on a brilliant piece of journalism which is very pertinent to some serious issues I currently face.  I have to confess I’m addicted to gaming so the notion of being trapped in a virtual world is so close to the truth for me now that I’m currently in the process of seeking professional help.

Only the other day I booked an appointment with my GP to discuss my issues.  When I got there the doctors surgery was under attack from a group of rotting zombie things who started to chase me because I’d set off a nearby car alarm.  So I found the nearest building and started to clamber up, fortunately on the roof there was a small garden for me to hide in whilst the undead hordes calmed down and ambled on down the street past my location. My map turned blue so I knew I was safe for the time being but couldn’t seem to get back down the way I’d come up so I leapt across to the local church and quickly shimmied up the 300 foot spire to the very top. The view was absolutely stunning, I could see the whole of town from up there and then an eagle flew past me and I took a photo of it and gained some PP.  Then I jumped off into a bale of hay. It hurt my back a bit but I ate an apple and my health was instantly restored.  I’ve since fitted a special augmentation device that allows me to jump from any height (within reason of course) and land without fear of injury or the need for hay. It looks ace next to my elbow blade augs as well. I tried my blades out on two security guards the other day and they worked a treat.

Anyway, still trying to get to the GP in the vain hope he hadn’t yet had his brains eaten, I boarded a helicopter gunship and sat in the gunners seat to use the massive gun they all seem to have. This enabled me to clear a path through the zombies, then the pilot got shot so I had to take over flying duties and managed to land it on top of the surgery building (even though I've never piloted a helicopter before, but the controls were so intuitive!). I got out, took some more photos of stuff and then shot the lock off a door to access the building.  I found a little maintenance room that contained some first-aid kits, a spade, a broom, a baseball bat, a box of nails and a shotgun (with ammo) so I took all these (there's never a retro-lancer lying around when you need one is there)?  Carrying all this gear caused me to become over-encumbered and I couldn't take a single step in any direction, so I ditched the broom and I could then move freely again.

I advanced down the stair-well and entered the reception area and there were two zombies in there that noticed me and started to wander over. I took the spade to them as it makes for a great melee weapon. After dispatching the zombies my spade snapped so I discarded it and switched to the shotgun.  The lady at reception seemed to be hunched over the desk so I asked whether my GP could see me now and she looked up and one eyeball was missing and her lower jaw was missing but this hadn’t stopped her enjoying the plate of brains and leg that was on the desk.  Luckily I’d turned on auto-aim (I don’t usually because it’s lame) and blew her head clean off with the shotgun. She dropped a keycard which I grabbed and ran to what I presumed was my GPs room as all the other doors were boarded up. I inserted the keycard and turned the handle and I was in.

The Doctor was there but he’d gone insane and was doing experiments and stuff to some of the patients so I threw some hypodermic syringes at him and downed him. I didn't even need to shoot the explosive red barrels next to him but I did anyway because the explosions look ace. Then I went home and had a romantic time with a blue alien I met (miles better than that green one Captain Kirk had) and we discussed how we were going to stop the Reaper threat in the current economic climate.

I’m not bothering with going to the doctors again as it’s way too much like hard work as you can see from my harrowing tale.  I’m off out now to steal cars and drive like a maniac. Please can you stop promoting games in your paper and take the gaming section off your website because it’s just fuelling my addiction.

Regards
Bickle77"

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Fursty Ferret (Badger)

Fursty Ferret (Badger)
Name: Fursty Ferret
Label: "Furst Quenching"
Brewery: Badger
ABV: 4.4%

Rating: Another new Badger label. On the back it says "At one inn, rumour has it that inquisitive ferrets would sneak to the back door to cheekily sample the local brew." Fursty Ferret furst appeared on this blog here, I'm not sure what the review was all about at the time. Anyway: "A sweet nutty palate, hoppy aroma and a hint of Seville oranges, give this tawny amber ale its distinctive personality. Recommended with smooth and creamy West Country Cheddar or indulgent pork pies and mustard".

Game: Happy Gears of War 3 Day to you! Want to hear my epic struggle to get the game?  No?  Tough. I pre-ordered it from Game, and guess what? It didn't arrive on release day, boo-hoo. So I ran (yes ran, nay sprinted) to Asda, bought the game and then ran home. Then I played the game. Whew, what an adventure! Oh and: It. Is. Ace.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Hardcore IPA (BrewDog)

Hardcore IPA (BrewDog)
Name: Hardcore IPA
Label: "Equity for Punks - Love the beer, own the company - Explicit imperial ale"
Brewery: BrewDog
ABV: 9.2%

Rating: Wow, crazily strong beer. Even though its so strong, it's a remarkably drinkable, smooth and citrusy craft beer. They also have what can only be described as a manifesto on the bottle label encouraging you to "Ditch the mainstream and say hello to BrewDog" and there's the opportunity to buy shares in the brewery, hence the "Equity for Punks" slogan. Excellent idea, I would invest if I had any spare money. Angry sad face.

Game: I think it would be remiss of me not to mention the newly released Star Wars saga on blu-ray. There's been a lot of moaning and gnashing of teeth about how "Lucas is ruining our childhood" etc by tinkering with the original films.  Personally I think the tweaks are great when seen in context. Obi-Wan Kenobi's new Krayt dragon impression scared me, so the Sand People who were actually there must have needed to change their underwear after hearing it. The films are George Lucas' invention in the first place so he's got every right to amend them. If you don't like the changes then stick to the original theatrical releases on DVD while I watch my blinking Ewoks.

Back to gaming, I think I've nearly finished Portal 2 and I've not used the internet once to solve the puzzles. Does that mean I'm clever a bit? *crosses fingers*.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Headcracker (Woodforde's)

Headcracker (Woodforde's)
Name: Headcracker
Label: "Very strong, pale Norfolk ale"
Brewery: Woodforde's
ABV: 7.0%

Rating: "Headcracker is strong and full-bodied, rich and surprisingly pale. It carries an interesting and complex plummy flavour throughout which is countered to some extent by a light bitter edge at the end. A consistent championship winner that will leave you positively glowing".

Game: I've found another grotesquely underrated game, Vanquish. Underrated by the game buying public anyway if sales are anything to go by. But, it received excellent reviews from the industry. I thought the demo sucked, maybe that had some effect on sales, but anyway the full game is pure 3rd person shoot-y, robot-y brilliance. There's even an amazing on-rails level, I'm not usually a fan of on-rails sections in games but this one just looked absolutely stunning. Gameplay-wise this on-rails section is the same as all the others (i.e. shoot stuff and try not to die), but it looked incredible, Act 2 it was in I think.

Just realised Batman Arkham City is out next month (October)!  And as Robin famously once said *: "Holy shit, Batballs! I can't f*cking wait for that game to come out!"

* Robin may not have said this.

Summer Swallow (Batemans)

Summer Swallow (Batemans)
Name: Summer Swallow
Label: "One swallow does make a summer - Gold medal winning beers"
Brewery: Batemans
ABV: 4.2%

Rating: "A golden pale ale with an aroma of biscuity malt, orange fruit and grassy hops"

Game: Maybe I was a little harsh with my One Word Review of Monsters the other day. It's not shit, it's more like, meh. It might be an allegory of war or something. A more in-depth review (with spoiler): the films protagonists both sleep a lot, she needs a wee a lot and then two massive octopuses shag. The End.

I'm giving Portal 2 8 out of 10 by the way. It's great but hurts my withered old brain.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Norfolk Nog (Woodforde's)

Norfolk Nog (Woodforde's)
Name: Norfolk Nog
Label: "Champion beer of Britain - 'Old' Dark Ale"
Brewery: Woodforde's
ABV: 4.6%

Rating: "This is a smooth, reddish-black, rich and rounded 'Old Ale' with a velvety texture. The beer oozes dark and sweet roast malt flavours including hints of chocolate, treacle and liquorice. These flavours really come through against the subtle hopping that characterises this previous Supreme Champion." - Another beer that is just so darn moreish!

Game: I've watched loads of films recently so... welcome to my new feature, "One Word Movie Reviews."  First up Monsters: shit.  Next up, Adjustment Bureau: ace. And finally for this round-up, Limitless: Incredi-pill.  Ok, that went pretty well. I'm not changing the title of the blog though, it stays as Gaming Ales. That's rubbish enough, Gaming & Movie Ales would just be ridiculous.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Summer Breeze (George Gale & Co)

Summer Breeze (George Gale & Co)
Name: Summer Breeze
Label: "Light & refreshing summer ale - Quality English ale"
Brewery: George Gale & Co
ABV: 3.8%

Rating: A classic, golden, summer ale brewed with a selected blend of malted wheat and barley, Saaz hops and Gales' unique yeast. It's light, smooth and crisp - highly refreshing served chilled and perfect for enjoying on a warm summer evening.  "Summer" is nearly over for this year and it pretty much sucked weather wise, this beer was great though.

Game: It's great when games remind you how stupid you actually are. Take Portal 2 for example, one minute you feel like the cleverest "mo fo" in the world for getting past a room, only to be completely befuddled by the next one.  Portal 2 is a little genius gem of a game and it's one of the first games to actually make me laugh out loud (I'm refusing to write LOL because it's annoying... even though I just wrote it nine words ago).

Friday, 2 September 2011

Betty Stogs (Skinner's)

Betty Stogs (Skinner's)
Name: Betty Stogs
Label: "2008 CAMRA Champion best bitter of Great Britain - THE Cornish Session Beer - Special edition Coronation bottle - The Queen of Cornish ales"
Brewery: Skinner's
ABV: 4.0%

Rating: Light hop aroma with underlying malt. Easy drinking copper ale with a superb balance of citrus hops, bitterness, Cornish malt and wheat. Named after the wonderfully wicked West Cornwall folklore character.

Game: So to try and stop myself from playing Deus Ex too much I've invested in several new games: Vanquish, Bulletstorm, Portal 2 and Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare. It's my birthday in a few days so I thought what the heck. And with a few days off work, what better way to celebrate the yearly reminder of my inexorable march to the grave than by playing loads of games and drinking beer? I'm giving Deus Ex 9/10 by the way, due to its sublime action, stunning visuals and immersive storytelling. And using the rather clever analogy of a page-turner that's difficult to put down, this is a game that's er... difficult to put down.  For a detailed review that makes more sense check the Games from the Void review here.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Golden Glory (Badger)

Golden Glory (Badger)
Name: Golden Glory
Label: "Gloriously peachy"
Brewery: Badger
ABV: 4.5%

Rating: "On a crisp winter's day, a cloudless sky fills the Dorset coastline with sunshine. Above a White-tailed Eagle can be seen soaring above the sea - the silhouette of its majestic wings a sign that Spring is near. This is the perfect time to enjoy the deliciously balanced peach and melon flavours of this award-winning classic. An ideal compliment to sticky bbq ribs or an indulgent vanilla cheesecake." Here's the original label and review. I absolutely love this beer. The fact I've not drunk it that often is bordering on criminal.

Game: Hey where the living heck did my evening go?  Oh yeah, I've just spent five hours totally transfixed by Deus Ex. Vaguely remember mumbling "G'night" to the wife about three hours ago.  This is how it's been for the past week or so now.  I've had to start setting my alarm to go off when it's sleep time as well as setting it to go off when it's time to get up for work. I hate my alarm clock.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Nelson's Revenge (Woodforde's)

Nelson's Revenge (Woodforde's)
Name: Nelson's Revenge
Label: "The Norfolk born hero of real ales - 200th Anniversary - The Battle of Trafalgar 1805 - 2005
Brewery: Woodforde's
ABV: 4.5%

Rating: "The rich and floral aromas initially excite the tastebuds. The following burst of combined flavours from the citrus hops and the blend of Norfolk malt confirms that this is indeed a delicious beer. The flavour then develops from the biscuity malt sweetness to a long hop-induced finish."

Game: Reached the first boss battle in Deus Ex, a big badass dude called Barrett. I almost thought at one point that this section had completely ruined the game... yes, it was tough. But then, a moment of inspiration - the old gaming cliche of explosive red barrels! Chuck barrels at Barrett, they go boom, Barrett dies, job done.

Tanglefoot (Badger)

Tanglefoot (Badger)
Name: Tanglefoot
Label: "Mischief's afoot - Since 1777 - Legendary"
Brewery: Badger
ABV: 5.0%

Rating: Badger have relaunched their beers with new labels so it's only right that I try them all again. On the back label it says that years ago Head Brewer John Woodhouse got up to leave after sampling the ale and "his mischievous companion, believing a walk was imminent, tangled his owner up with the lead and Woodhouse fell upon the perfect name for this new beer". I'm sure this is a different story than the last label but who cares, it's still great. Here's the old version.

Game: It's dead hard being God. I know because I'm currently playing From Dust, an Xbox Live Arcade game. This is where you have to get your tribes to set up villages and capture totems in order to escape the territory and get to the next area. Trouble is there are tsunamis, lava, water and other stuff to hamper your progress. I haven't played a God game since Populous and I'm beginning to remember why they're so great. Because the tribesman are a bunch of good folk, there are no smiting, disease inducing, or locust sending God powers included unfortunately. 8/10

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Chocolate Tom (Robinson's)

Chocolate Tom (Robinson's)
Name: Chocolate Tom
Label: "A blend of Old Tom and the finest English chocolate - Strong Ale"
Brewery: Robinson's
ABV: 6.0%

Rating: "Developed by Robinson's with the renowned chocolatier, Simon Dunn".  As a migraine sufferer whose trigger is chocolate, this has the potential to be pure doom in a bottle. I've not had chocolate for about eighteen months now so this tasted great with really strong, but not overbearing, aromas of chocolate. The morning after brought no tell-tale signs of migrainicity either, so rather than liquid pain this was liquid awesome.

Game: According to Robin Kaminsky, Activision's former executive vice president of publishing, innovation in video games has stalled. I'd wholly disagree. Admittedly some developers choose to just reskin their games each year like *ahem* Activision's Call of Duty. However a lot of devs are making constant innovations in terms of tech, user interaction and approaches to storytelling e.g. Kinect, LA Noire, Deus Ex Human Revolution to name but three. And personally I don't think encouraging "alternative payment approaches" is going to help innovation. That's just another way of saying they are looking to get more cash out of gamers wallets.

Admiral's Reserve (Woodforde's)

Admiral's Reserve (Woodforde's)
Name: Admiral's Reserve
Label: "Strong with great Norfolk character - 200th Anniversary - The Battle of Trafalgar 1805 - 2005 - Bottle conditioned real ale"
Brewery: Woodforde's
ABV: 5.0%

Rating: "The solid and generous sweet fruit flavours blend intimately with the luscious malted barley creating a complex and extremely satisfying dark chestnut-coloured beer. The combination of malt and the full hop flavour gives a long dry finish.  The beer is both wonderfully, and dangerously, drinkable." All of this is true, especially the last bit.

Game: Pre-ordered Deus Ex Human Revolution at the eleventh hour and it arrived on Thursday. Woo! Don't know much about the "IP" (Intellectual Property - business speak for "stuff I invented") but apparently it's quite a popular PC franchise. I fell out with PC gaming a long time ago so missed out on a bunch of stuff. Anyway, it's great and looks like it's going to be an epic sci-fi adventure. Blade Runner meets Mass Effect. I've only played a couple of hours of it and it's getting 89%.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

1698 (Shepherd Neame)

1698 (Shepherd Neame)
Name: 1698
Label: "Bottle conditioned strong ale"
Brewery: Shepherd Neame
ABV: 6.5%

Rating: This lovely bottle of 1698 now has a sexy new label. Check it out on the right. Here's the old label and original review.

Game: Currently having a blast on Dirt 3. The rallying is great, as is the buggy racing and the drifting stages. The only current fly in the motor oil is the Gymkhana events. Firstly I don't like the name "Gymkhana" - it's stupid. It doesn't involve a gym (thankfully) or a khana. According to Wikipedia the first element of gymkhana comes from gend meaning ball in Hindi/Hindustani/Khariboli. This element is distinct from the English word gym, short for gymnasium and gymnastics which has Greek and Latin roots. The second element, khānā is Indo-Aryan (ख़ाना) for place or compartment and Persian (خانه) term for dwelling, house. So it should be called "Ballcompartment", far more catchy and relevant. Anyway, I'm rubbish at the Gymkhana events so stop talking about them please.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Spindrift (Adnams)

Spindrift (Adnams)
Name: Spindrift
Label: "Refreshing English beer from the coast - Full of flavour with a touch of wheat to make it sparkle, a Speciality beer from our own Suffolk shores. Spindrift, with its bright, crisp taste, evokes images of sea spray blown off a cresting wave."
Brewery: Adnams
ABV: 5.0%

Rating: This beer is dry and crisp with aromas of tropical fruits.  Every facet of Spindrift is refreshing, from the name to the colour of the bottle!

Game: Been back on Mortal Kombat with a vengeance recently. Played through the game with each of the 27 characters unlocking achievements for fatalities, throws and X-ray moves used for all characters. The only question now is whether to invest in the downloadable content. Four new characters for a bargain 300 Microsoft points each (with the online pass thing). One of the characters is Freddy Krueger. Not sure what Freddy Krueger has got to do with the Mortal Kombat universe but some slashy knifey gloved moves and fatalities can't be anything other than awesome, right?

Friday, 19 August 2011

Golden Champion (Badger)

Golden Champion (Badger)
Name: Golden Champion
Label: "Thirst place - Countryside ales - Brewed in Dorset"
Brewery: Badger
ABV: 5.0%

Rating: Golden Champion - a headstrong but loyal stallion who enjoys the warm days grazing in the fields. The subtle elderflower aromas of this delicately floral brew are reminiscent of a summer's evening. This divine all-rounder is a great companion for smoky, chargrilled chicken and peppery rocket salad.

Game: Noel Gallagher seems to have added his two penneth into the mix blaming brutal video games for the UK riots.  Considering he used to be a nobody from inner-city Manchester (and as such used to have the opinion that if you're not good at music or football then you have no hope in life), you can't help but suspect that had he not found fame and fortune in music, himself and his brothers would have been at the business end of the looting and rioting.  I think Noel's rubbish music is to blame for the UK riots anyway. His radio-friendly pop mush is enough to drive anybody to violence.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Wherry (Woodforde's)

Wherry (Woodforde's)
Name: Wherry
Label: "Champion beer of Britain - Bottle conditioned ale"
Brewery: Woodforde's
ABV: 3.8%

Rating: A Supreme Champion beer of Britain, Wherry has a fantastic zesty aroma, and an initially crisp and clean floral flavour that evolves into a hop influenced citrus taste and a slightly sweet malt background. Give it the chance to develop and you will appreciate a late hint of grapefruit rind.

Game: Apparently games are "toxic" and rioters are addicted to them. So says Supertit Jo Frost in the latest example of sensationalist knee-jerkery. Considering she bases her career around fixing bad parents, she seems completely oblivious to the fact that bad parenting is a key contributory factor to the recent riots in London and other major cities. Supertit.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Summer Ale (Fuller's)

Summer Ale (Fuller's)
Name: Summer Ale
Label: "Refreshing - serve chilled"
Brewery: Fuller's
ABV: 3.9%

Rating: Summer is great, except this summer it's rained constantly for about three weeks (where's that climate change I ordered)? Anyway, this ale is very refreshing especially when chilled. Pale gold in colour, and brewed with malted wheat, pale malts and Czech Saaz hops for a perfectly refreshing summer beer.

Game: Bargain hunting is great and it generally means cheap games. This time it's Homefront up for inspection for just £9.99.  A competent shooter, some excellent set-pieces, some morally ambiguous choices (enemies on fire, shoot them quick or let them burn?). The premis, a unified Korea invades America and you are part of the American resistance.  There are some quite poignant cutscenes towards the beginning of the game but why, oh why, did they feel the need to put "Press A to skip" in big letters right across the screen? It's like watching a movie and then seeing "Press >> to fast forward this bit". Totally distracting and spoils any immersion and emotion the cutscene could have had. Apart from that, so far so good.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Sundew (Woodforde's)

Sundew (Woodforde's)
Name: Sundew
Label: "Deliciously golden and refreshing - Woodforde's Norfolk Ales - Bottle conditioned real ale"
Brewery: Woodforde's
ABV: 4.1%

Rating: Subtle golden beer - pale in colour and light on the palate with the distinctive hoppy Woodforde's finish. Fate decreed that the first production of this beer coincided with the revival of the beautiful and mysterious wetland flower of the same name, in the heart of East Anglia, much to the delight of naturalists everywhere. This is a perfect ale to compliment a warm summers evening, or a cold summers evening... or any evening for that matter.

Game: Not played a decent racer in a while so step up Dirt 3.  First point of note is that it looks absolutely amazing. The cars, trucks and buggys handle brilliantly too compared to the last racer played which was Need for Speed Hot Pursuit (seriously, the handling seemed totally broken to me on that one).  A neat feature of Dirt 3 is you can upload your triumphs and, in my case, epic fails to YouTube. Here are two reasons why this noob ain't a rally driver in real life: reason one, reason two. During the second clip the co-driver, or whatever he is, said something like "It's ok, I think I'm still alive" or words to that effect. Cheers for that.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Very Nutty Black (Thwaites)

Very Nutty Black (Thwaites)
Name: Very Nutty Black
Label: "Export strength - Bottle conditioned for a truer flavour"
Brewery: Thwaites
ABV: 3.9%

Rating: On the bottle it says that "Daniel Thwaites has broken all the rules with an export strength version of its award winning ale." That Daniel is a complete maverick! His ales are cracking as well!

Game: Just about wrapped up Deadly Premonition now. It seems to veer wildly between spookily gory and horribly farcical. In one chapter a woman has her tongue cut out, is stabbed in the chest and is then strung up ready to be dropped and impaled on a spiky tree shaped sculpture below, and in the next chapter you have to chase a dog around the street Benny Hill style, complete with ridiculous soundtrack. It's strangely addcitive, it's probably a work of genius that will gather a cult following and it's one of those games that will get remade or ported over to next-next-next-gen consoles. I don't know how to rate it, I don't know what score to give it. It's a 2/10 and an 8/10 game all at the same time.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

The Bishop's Tipple (Wadworth)

The Bishop's Tipple (Wadworth)
Name: The Bishop's Tipple
Label: "Rejoice & enjoy the fruits of our labour & be thankful that the Earth provides - Choicest hopped classic English ale."
Brewery: Wadworth
ABV: 5.5%

Rating: First brewed to celebrate the inauguration of George Reindorp as Bishop of Salisbury, this Wiltshire Strong Ale has a full flavour which is well balanced with hop bitterness for a clean finish.

Game: Two hundredth post today! To celebrate here's a list of the forthcoming games on my "must buy" list. Time to get the pre-orders in...

Gears of War 3 - 20/09/11
Rise of Nightmares - 30/09/11
Batman: Arkham City - 21/10/11
Silent Hill: Downpour - 28/10/11
Elder Scrolls v: Skyrim - 11/11/11
   Assassins Creed Revelations - 15/11/11
   Mass Effect 3 - 09/03/12
   Aliens: Colonial Marines - 30/03/12
   Kinect: Star Wars - ??/??/??
   I Am Alive - ??/??/??

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Master Brew (Shepherd Neame)

Master Brew (Shepherd Neame)
Name: Master Brew
Label: "Kentish Ale - The Local Hero"
Brewery: Shepherd Neame
ABV: 4.0%

Rating: Andrew Jefford describes it as "this amber-russet Kentish ale owes it uniquely invigorating style to a profusion of pungent Kentish hops infusing its mouthwatering base of crystal malts." Anyone who can use the word "pungent" in a positive way is alright by me.

Game: "Death by Xbox" hysterically screeches the headline of bag o' shite rag The Sun this week. The "journalists" involved should take note of David Staniforth's more level headed comments. Considering his comments come just weeks after the death of his son Chris, the chap deserves a medal. Rather than blame gaming, he recommends taking breaks during long gaming sessions. Personally I like to get up every once in a while and get another beer from the fridge. But without wanting to sound flippant, Deep Vein Thrombosis can be a real problem if you're sedentary for several hours at a time. Take a break after a few hours, go for a twenty minute run, have a walk around, anything to get the blood moving. Get UFC Personal Trainer, then you can play games and get fit at the same time! Oh, and one more thing, don't buy the Sun.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Explorer (Adnams)

Explorer (Adnams)
Name: Explorer
Label: "Serve Chilled - Beer from the coast - Brewery of the year 2011 - Awarded by the Good Pub Guide - Voted for by you, Thank you!"
Brewery: Adnams
ABV: 5.0%

Rating: I'm always a bit wary of any beer that advises it needs to be chilled in order to taste good. Examples being Carling, Carlsberg Special Brew etc - basically anything that would taste like piss at room temperature. But that's lager and this is Adnams blonde beer, and I can report that it is exceptional. It blends Chinook and Columbus hops from the New World and as it says on the label, the citrus attack will burst on your palate.

Game: Just been on UFC Personal Trainer. I've had a few problems tonight though, nothing to do with the software I hasten to add (it's awesome) but more to do with me being a bit rubbish.  This is probably down to 'bad form' but for this session my knees felt like they were crumbling whilst doing forward and backward lunges. Also, I managed to punch myself in the face whilst doing some 'rear elbow' moves. Still, I did it whilst sweating and being knackered so it must be doing some good...