A year and a half ago, I pretty much stopped updating this blog, as my time and mental capacity became consumed by the founding of Atlas Brewing Company. However, I've never stopped wanting to come up with more pairings. On Thursday, October 24th, a bunch of pairings are going to be happening in the most awesome way possible. Emporium Arcade Bar (1366 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago) is bringing in 8 of my beers for a night of beer and arcade game pairings. The menu will be:
Golden Axe with Glasgow Kiss Scotch Ale
Super Mario Bros. with Ramsgate Belgian Bitter (Collaboration with Lake Effect Brewing)
Super Off-Road with Atlas Golden Ale
Terminator 2: Judgement Day with Baskerville Cocoa Milk Stout (Collaboration with Letherbee Distillers)
Arkanoid with Hyperion Double IPA
The Simpsons with Diversey Pale Ale
Street Fighter 2: Championship Edition with Rongo Rye IPA
Adams Family Pinball with Phantasmagourdia Pumpkin Ale
My good buddy Paul has been recommending that we play Portal 2 for a long time, and a few nights ago, we finally got around to it. Portal 2 involves guiding a robot through various courses, having only the ability to move around and create portals in order to get around obstacles. It is a game of logic, and its two-player cooperative mode forces players to plan carefully in order to successfully navigate each level.
Paul had the wonderful idea of pairing a game that hinges on collaboration with a couple of beers that are collaborative efforts between breweries. As of recently, the craft beer industry has been cranking out beers like this, where two or more breweries get together and combine their skills to make special one-off products. The first we opened was Brux, a collaboration between two of California's most influential breweries.
Brewed by Sierra Nevada and Russian River Brewing, Brux is a Belgian-style farmhouse ale. It is pale in color and effervescent, with a funky, subtly fruity nose. It tastes of pepper and citrus fruit, with a hint of peach. It finishes dry, with lingering grassy notes.
The second beer Paul brought was Shewolf India Pale Ale, a collaboration between Half Acre and Three Floyds. Shewolf features fruity hoppiness in abundance. It tastes strongly of grapefruit with some tropical fruit notes in the background. Both Shewolf and Brux made great companions for Portal 2. While the breweries' collaborations had much better results than Paul's and mine did when it came to advancing quickly through the game together, the reasonably strong beers made it more fun for us to yell at each other.
I haven't posted for nearly two months, but I have a reasonably awesome excuse. About three weeks ago, along with my brother and our business partner, I opened a brewpub in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago.
Atlas Brewing Company is located at 2747 N. Lincoln Ave. While we're still awaiting our federal brewing license and don't yet have our own beers available for purchase, we do have some awesome guest drafts, a killer cocktail list and an extensive and delicious dinner menu. We open daily at 5pm.
While I haven't had much of a chance to play video games lately, I am going to make an effort to get to Emporium Arcade Bar, which recently opened at 1366 N. Milwaukee Ave. It's a bar with old school arcade games. I'm excited that I can now conduct my nerdy experiments in a more public setting. I'm thinking that a double Malort will be just the thing for Frogger.
After many long years of agonizing speculation and anticipation, Diablo 3 finally went live last week. Needless to say, I've been playing as much as possible ever since. While I've already tried out quite a few booze combinations with it, I saved something special for its release that I thought might go particularly well.
Russian River Brewing Company does not distribute to Chicago, but I try to pick up their beers (if I can find them) whenever I am in California. Though I try not to base my pairings on the names of boozes, I couldn't help but save a bottle of Damnation for this moment in video game history. Damnation is probably my least favorite beer from Russian River. Which is to say, it's a really fantastic beer in every way, but I find the brewery's other beers to be even more fantastic. When I visited their brewpub last year, I tried 15 beers, and every one of them was incredibly delicious and well-made.
Damnation is a Belgian-style golden ale. It has a beautiful creamy head, and features wonderful notes of pear and banana along with a subtle spiciness. It is strong enough to help embolden a mighty barbarian (I'm a sucker for warrior classes in Diablo games. I like to smash stuff), but not overpowering enough to hinder my reflexes. It made for a good companion to Diablo 3. But that's enough blogging. I have demons to slay.
Tonight I'm hoping to try out one of the inevitable hundreds of pairings that I will come up with for Diablo 3. However, Blizzard's servers are down for maintenance. This is hardly surprising, since half the world is trying to log on right now. It's taking every ounce of willpower that I have to stop myself from repeatedly attempting to log in, even though Blizzard has stated that the servers will be down for approximately 11 more minutes. At least it gives me a chance to write this post. But now I must go, just in case they got the servers back online 10 minutes early.
During a recent trip out to see my dad in California, I took the opportunity to try some beers that are not available in Chicago. Some of the best that I tried were from Ninkasi Brewing Company, located in Eugene, Oregon. One night after my dad had turned in, I found myself sitting in his kitchen with a bottle of Ninkasi's Oatis Oatmeal Stout and not a whole lot to do. I had no video game consoles, and my newly-reformatted laptop did not offer much in the way of entertainment. Fortunately, I did have my iPhone, and Angry Birds.
I surely don't need to go into detail describing Angry Birds. Unless you've been living under a rock for the past two years, you already know about this delightful game that involves shooting birds from a slingshot in order to kill evil pigs and the ramshackle structures they build to defend themselves. I really enjoy Angry Birds, and not too surprisingly, I really enjoyed playing it while drinking Oatis.
Like the heart of an Angry Bird, Oatis is dark. And like an Angry Bird, the beer is robust. It's not overly strong, but it is packed with delicious roasty, chocolatey flavor. Oatis is rich, but balanced. While damn near anything would go well with Angry Birds, Oatis was a particularly good choice.
Diablo III is being released next Tuesday. I have an epic pairing planned for it, but I'm not sure when exactly I'll get to try it out. Pretty much only one thing in the world could stop me from playing Diablo III the moment that it's released, and that would be getting to brew the first batch of beer for the brewpub that I'm helping to start up. Atlas Brewing Company will be located at 2747 N. Lincoln Ave. in Chicago, and will hopefully open in June.