Thursday, 28 February 2013

IPA Gold (Greene King)

IPA Gold (Greene King)
Name: IPA Gold
Label: "Brewed in Bury St Edmunds since 1799"
Brewery: Greene King
ABV: 4.1%

Rating: "Drawing on a heritage of brewing excellence that stretches back to 1799 and created at our brewery in the historic Suffolk market town of Bury St. Edmunds, Greene King IPA Gold is a light, refreshing golden ale that truly brings out the best in the unique and aromatic Savinsjki Goldings hop variety. The craftsmanship in this beer lies in the late hopping which creates a perfect blend of tropical fruits, mango and spicy notes and delivers a beer with a clean bitter taste and a crisp dry finish."

Game: Microsoft are having a games 'sale' on Xbox Live. This time though it really is a sale! The price cuts seem unprecedented. I've never seen the likes of it before. Some examples; Race Driver: Grid £2.69, Ghost Recon £2.69, HAWX £2.69, Halo games from £8! Admittedly these are older games but I think Microsoft are testing the water to see whether price points this low will encourage more people to download digital versions. I imagine very few people have downloaded digital copies of games from the marketplace at the ridiculous amounts that they are normally priced at. This sale looks like it will go on for a few weeks with more titles being added along with daily specials. I'm all for digital downloads if they are fairly priced so this is a welcome turn of events. Let's get buying!

Monday, 18 February 2013

Barnsley Blonde (Barnsley Beer Company)

Barnsley Blonde (Barnsley Beer Company)
Name: Barnsley Blonde
Label: "The name's Blonde... Barnsley Blonde - Who wa she wi? She wa wi er sen! - Seductive Golden Ale"
Brewery: Barnsley Beer Company
ABV: 5.0%

Rating: "Shimmers and shimmies with an attractive and seductively golden full bodied flavour that is sure to tantalise your taste buds. At 5.0%, with a fruity bitter aftertaste and deliciously satisfying aroma, this is a blonde to truly savour." I don't understand all that 'She wa wi er sen' stuff on the label... probably for the best.

Game: What I don't understand is, the likes of C&VG, OXM, X360 must all have had pre-release copies of Aliens: Colonial Marines in order to put together their reviews in time for release day. Sega and Gearbox execs pretended the game was going to be great in the run-up to release, increasing the hype around the game. Given that the end product was poor, surely the magazines are complicit with the developers in this deception?  Was it a conspiracy to achieve healthy pre-order sales?  Or maybe everyone new it was going to be crap and I just hadn't been paying attention...

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Get Thi Coit (Barnsley Beer Company)

Get Thi Coit (Barnsley Beer Company)
Name: Get Thi Coit
Label: "Tha's pulled! - Romantic Ruby Red Ale - Beautiful Beer - Affordable Prices.
Brewery: Barnsley Beer Company
ABV: 4.0%

Rating: "3 little words that mean so much. Romance has always been close to any Tyke's heart (and wallet) and now here's a delicious ruby red ale to help celebrate any special occasion."  In case you're not sure, 'Get Thi Coit, Tha's Pulled' translated to English means 'Please retrieve your outdoor-wear so we may leave this establishment as it appears you've succeeded in acquiring a potential mate for the evening.'  The joke here being that this phrase is not *actually* romantic yet it is being used as the name for a 'romantic ruby ale'. Oh, Barnsley Beer Company, you and your Valentine's Day-related wicked sense of humour.

Game: Aliens: Colonial Marines isn't actually *that* bad. It just suffers from poor production values and looks a bit rough. Once you get over the initial shock of the crummy graphics, poor story, and over-used gaming cliches, it's actually quite addictive, in that 'one more go' kind of way. I also recommend starting out on the hardest difficulty, 'Ultimate Badass,' as it makes things a little more tense and not quite as easy. I give it a flattering 6/10. It would have got 5/10 but playing the game makes me want to re-watch the awesome Alien films again, so it deserves an extra point.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Snowman's Revenge (Wentworth)

Snowman's Revenge (Wentworth)
Name: Snowman's Revenge
Label: "Best bar none"
Brewery: Wentworth
ABV: 4.1%

Rating: "A delicious chestnut bitter with a full malt character and finished with a delicate balance of Whitbread hops." The snowman may have melted but his revenge remains... in tasty beer form.

Game: Finished the rather exceptional Dead Space 3, now on to Aliens: Colonial Marines that I pre-ordered. Ever get that sickening feeling you've just dropped £30 on 'a bit of a shit game'? That's what I was feeling on Tuesday night when I started to play it. I can discuss it no more at this stage. To take my mind off wasting £30, here are Bickle77's gaming stats for 2012 courtesy of Raptr: 720 hours played (the average is 116), 53 games played (average is 12), 621 achievements unlocked (the average is 69). Game I most played was a split between Skyrim and Mass Effect 3 both clocking in at 8% each of total time played. Fascinating, I'm sure you'll not agree.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Up And Under Ale (Shepherd Neame)

Up And Under Ale (Shepherd Neame)
Name: Up And Under Ale
Label: "What a BOOTiful Ale - Master Brewer's Choice"
Brewery: Shepherd Neame
ABV: 3.8%

Rating: "Deeply coloured, rich and full bodied, this sporty ale has been brewed with a ruck of the finest roasted malts and a triple crown of the choicest hops resulting in a grand slam of a beer you will want to tackle. Try a fly half to ensure conversion."  I might be mistaken but I think there's a rugby theme going on with this beer...  I'm more of a football fan myself but the ale is top notch.

Game: It's official, Dead Space 3 is (still) amazing. A quick word on micro-transactions... you can spend real money / Microsoft points in-game to buy crafting materials and weapons. I'm not against micro-transactions per se, if the game is free. Having paid the best part of £40 for the game though, I'm totally against it in this case. Similar with DLC in general, it should be included with a full price retail game in my opinion.  So until the games are free they can stick their micro-transactions up their micro-arseholes. Luckily I'm progressing through the game quite nicely, without the slightest feeling of being hamstrung by my unwillingness to fork out extra cash for content. Still giving it 9/10.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Calypso (Itchen Valley)

Calypso (Itchen Valley)
Name: Calypso
Label: "The heart of Hampshire - An American Pale Ale"
Brewery: Itchen Valley
ABV: 4.1%

Rating: "Calypso is a richly golden American Pale Ale extracted from the finest Pearl, Amber and Wheat malts.Calypso hops from the USA are used because they can be more punchy (due to the climate and terrain). The beer has a sharp initial bitterness leading to a fruity finish, with hints of apples and pears."

Game: Reading some of the recent reviews of Dead Space 3 made me slightly concerned that one of my favourite game franchises of all time had turned into an actiony, shootery Gears of War clone. Happily this is not the case. Turns out it's Dead Space through and through. The necromorphs are faster, yes, there are a lot more action set pieces than the previous games, and there's the co-op campaign. But these don't detract from the experience in the slightest, they just enhance and build on an already solid experience. Dead Space has definitely evolved but it's still survival horror at it's finest. Don't listen to the bad reviews because when things progress and show signs of change, the naysayers will *always* say nay... Why? Because they're horses. Stupid horses. 9/10.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

American Pale Ale (Tap Room Brewing Company)

American Pale Ale (Tap Room Brewing Company)
Name: American Pale Ale
Label: "Genuine Craft Ale - Citrus aromas & malty flavours - Medium-bodied & crisp"
Brewery: Tap Room Brewing Company
ABV: 5.3%

Rating: "A Pale Ale with a true American character - complex and full-flavoured with citrus hop aromas, toasty malt flavours and a long crisp finish."

Game: DmC: Devil May Cry is still fantastic by the way. Although, it's one of those games that makes me feel like my fingers are really fat, slow and difficult to move. Like lead sausages covered in gravy and then frozen. I'm trying my best not to resort to button-mashing, honest I am. Not like during the overrated Bayonetta where I just wanted to mash my way through and get rid of it like it was some kind of hot turd potato. It's probably been mentioned before here but the soundtrack to DmC is the best thing I've heard in a looooong time! And all those extra 'o's in 'long' means *really* long!

Friday, 1 February 2013

IPA (Tap Room Brewing Company)

IPA (Tap Room Brewing Company)
Name: IPA
Label: "Bold with spicy hop notes - Full-bodied & smooth - Brewed and bottled in New York for Sainsburys"
Brewery: Tap Room Brewing Company
ABV: 6.3%

Rating: "This American IPA is a blend of 3 different hop varities which give it its characteristic bold hoppy aromas. It is smooth and full of flavour with a rich malty character, spicy notes and a long finish. Best served chilled in a glass."  This is the start of a clutch of American ales I've somehow acquired. And it's off to a good start too.

Game: The list of upcoming games for 2013 is eye-wateringly awesome. This is good news for a number of reasons, the main one being that it confirms there's life in the old dog yet. The old dog being the Xbox 360, not some random old dog. There are also negative connotations of this news however, the main one being my wallet is literally shitting itself at the prospect of vast expenditure. It's also taken exception to my recent cavalier 'f*ck you' attitude to spending during these austere times. I didn't hear the end of it when I bought my new gaming chair. Stupid wallet.

Games on my radar (yes, I literally have a radar that tracks upcoming games, what of it):
  • Omerta: City of Gangsters (maybe) 
  • Dead Space 3 (preordered) 
  • Aliens: Colonial Marines (at last) 
  • Metal Gear Solid Rising: Revengeance (not a real word) 
  • Tomb Raider 
  • Gears of War: Judgment (maybe if it's not too multiplayer focussed) 
  • Bioshock Infinite 
  • Splinter Cell: Blacklist 
  • Star Trek: The Video Game ("The Video Game"? What were all the other Star Trek games then, cabbages?) 
  • Grand Theft Auto V 
  • Disney: Infinity Stater Pack (not really) 
Wallet is now threatening to kill me...