Monday, May 24, 2010

The Terrible Truth

Email from concerned and angry fans of this blog has been piling up in my inbox. People want to know why I have been so slow in writing new posts. They thirst for more delicious recommendations. I have indeed been lazy, but I want to make it clear that I have not forsaken video games, booze, or combining the two in ways most exquisite. To be fully honest, I have not posted new entries as frequently as I originally expected because I have lapsed in my recovery from that terrible drug, Diablo II: Lord of Destruction. Sure, as I have previously pointed out, Stone Smoked Porter is a great pairing. But I might as well run through some alternatives, since I have tried out a good number of them over the past few weeks. Here are some quick reviews:

Diablo II: Lord of Destruction with a 2005 Arceno Chianti Riserva Classico

This Chianti went quite well with Diablo. Given the amount of blood and red potions and fortresses that appear in the game, all but the lightest old world red wines should be a nice match. 2005 Arceno Chianti Classico Riserva was no exception. It was, perhaps, a little more restrained than would be ideal, but surely a relatively subtle red is more appropriate than a California fruit bomb. I particularly recommend this wine with acts I and IV.

Diablo II: Lord of Destruction with Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout

I'm not a big fan of most coffee beers. I love coffee, and I love beer, but I find that all too often, coffee beers taste like stale coffee grounds. Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout was an exception. Situated comfortably between dark-roasted and caramel malts along with the boozy vanilla lent to it by its bourbon barrel aging, the beer's coffee flavors were part of a beautiful balance. And most importantly, the coffee notes tasted fresh.
GIBCBCS paired well with Diablo II, which is not surprising, given the affinity that imperial stouts (and dark ales in general) have for fantasy games. However, at 13% abv, I found that it dulled my skills after a while, and by the time I was half-finished with my second glass, I began to die with alarming frequency. It's probably best to split this one with a friend, especially during Act V.

Diablo II: Lord of Destruction with Short's Huma-Lupa-Licious IPA

West Coast IPA's and swords do not go hand in hand. I enjoyed Huma-Lupa-Licious, though it did not enhance my gaming experience any more than any other decent beer would have. If I had been playing Act III while I drank it, I might have felt differently. Act II would probably have worked out okay as well. Unfortunately, this beer is inappropriate for Acts I, IV and V.

Diablo II: Lord of Destruction with a Jim Beam Perfect Manhattan

A little bit of sweet vermouth, a splash of dry, a few drops of Angostura bitters, all topped off with good ol' Jim. Jim Beam is not at all the best whiskey for Manhattans, but it does in a pinch. Similarly, Manhattans are not the ideal beverage to consume while playing Diablo II. But hey, after a hard day at work, they're not so bad together.

Only one option is left if I am going to rip myself from the clutches of Diablo and get around to playing other games: I need to play it so much that I become disgusted with myself. I'll get to work on that right now.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

World of Goo with New Glarus Wisconsin Belgian Red

I recently drove up to Madison, Wisconsin, with my brother in order to wait in line for 5 hours to buy tickets to the Great Taste of the Midwest. The Great Taste is a fantastic beer festival that is held in Madison every August, and I'm sure it will prove to have been worth the trip to get tickets. While in Madison, I was sure to buy some beers from New Glarus Brewing Company. New Glarus doesn't sell their beer outside of Wisconsin, and while I wish they would distribute to Chicago, I know that their small size has a lot to do with the quality of their products. I was most excited about picking up a bottle of their Wisconsin Belgian Red, a cherry lambic that I had only ever tasted a thimbleful of prior to last night.

Tiana (my lovely girlfriend) had recently expressed interest in re-playing World of Goo, a fantastic downloadable game that involves building structures out of little goo blobs in order to help them travel through strange and colorful landscapes. I thought that the Wisconsin Belgian Red might go well with this game, so last night, we fired up the Wii and poured the beer into large white wine glasses.

The pairing worked out pretty well. Wisconsin Belgian Red is the color of dried blood and has an intense cherry pie aroma. It tastes richly of cherries and spice, its refreshing tartness balanced by plenty of sweetness. Wisconsin Belgian Red is a tasty candy of a beer, with more to it than Lindemans Kriek or other sugary pseudo-lambics. World of Goo is similarly colorful and unique. They are cartoonish in delightful and thoughtful ways, and consuming them together was a lot of fun. Of course, good pairings are not always the result of similarity. Perhaps an imperial stout could have been just as good. I do feel that beer is probably the way to go with World of Goo, or failing that, some fine German schnapps.

Monday, May 10, 2010


A couple of people have posted comments to ask for recommendations for specific games or boozes. I am happy to give advice, so keep the questions coming. I will try to implement a feature that keeps all of these types of exchanges in one location on the blog, but for now I'll try to check all of the different comment sections in order to catch questions as they come in. I'm going to be trying out a new pairing tonight, and most likely I will post the results tomorrow.