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 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.


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.