Sunday, August 22, 2010

Playing StarCraft II as the Zerg with Victory Wild Devil

After recommending pairings for two out of the three playable races in StarCraft II, I was obviously on the hook to complete the trinity with a post on the Zerg. Whiskey is appropriate for the powerful and rugged Terrans, just as white wine matches the grace and finesse of the Protoss. The Zerg are a hive-minded force of monstrous creatures. Unlike their opponents, they necessarily produce large numbers of pulsating insect-like beasts that rage through the landscape, infesting any structures and lifeforms that they encounter.

Because individual Zerg troops (for the most part) are not incredibly powerful, because they are strange and take time to adjust to, and because they love to infect things, I felt that a wild ale would be very fitting for them. I chose Victory Wild Devil, as I felt that it possessed strong enough wild flavors and was extreme enough in its own way to work well.

A wild-fermented version of their well-known Hop Devil, Victory Wild Devil is moderately strong, fairly hoppy, and very funky. The wild fermentation makes Wild Devil very different from Hop Devil. The extra months of aging it takes for the Brettanomyces to do its thing causes the finished product to have less hop bitterness and a lighter body. It is creamy, citrusy, and possesses a deep barnyard-funk that I find very enjoyable. It was a good pairing for playing with the Zerg, as they share a sort of frightening organic quality that is very much unique.
I want to digress a bit to make an important point. The "Devil" in the name of the beer did not influence my decision to make this pairing. The Zerg are not demons. One of the overarching themes of StarCraft II is that all of the races do disgusting things to other races as well as to their own, and the hideous appearance of the Zerg should not indict them more quickly than the relatively familiar Terrans or Protoss. Don't judge the poor Zerglings just because they aren't as cuddly as a puppy or as beautiful as a swan. They wouldn't judge you. Instead, get yourself a nice funky wild ale and lead their forces to victory.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Further Thoughts on StarCraft II

I played several games of StarCraft II online tonight. Each time, I opted to have the race that I controlled be randomly decided. I was drinking a 2009 Gessami Gramona, a Spanish white made primarily of Muscat. It is a perfumed, fruit-driven wine with pleasant floral notes and a touch of residual sugar. While researching my original post about the game, I noticed that a glass of Scotch in my hand makes me feel like Bill Adama commanding the Battlestar Galactica. However, this wine was well-suited for the elegant and sophisticated Protoss.

For all those white-wine loving StarCraft II players out there who favor the Protoss, I would advise to avoid oaktastic Californian chardonnays. They lack the refinement that is appropriate to these particular extraterrestrials. On the other hand, the austere Sauvignon Blancs of the Loire Valley would not be meaty enough. After all, we are engaging in interstellar combat. Savennieres, low-key white Burgundies, or even Sauternes should all go quite well with the Protoss.
I have some theories about what to drink while playing as the Zerg. I'll put them to the test and post my results soon. And in case anybody reading this blog wants to play against (or with) me on, my handle is 'Berserker.' And I suck, so go easy on me.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

StarCraft II with Glenrothes Select Reserve

Somewhere around the time when I lost my virginity, I stopped caring as much about buying video games on the day they are released. However, when the clock rolled over to 10:00 AM PST on July 27, 2010, I was sitting in front of my computer, clicking the link to electronically purchase StarCraft II over and over until finally, after an excruciating 10 minutes, I was able to do so successfully. I blazed through the single-player campaign, drinking various boozes along the way but never wanting to stop to blog about it. I would have planned a great pairing in advance, but I was stumped. What could possibly match up to the sequel of the greatest real-time strategy game ever made? In my book, it's no sin to drink a fine Barolo while eating a shitty roast beef sandwich, but it doesn't mean that one should ever prefer to live that way. No, for StarCraft II, I would need something special.

Depth, refinement, balance, and above all, sheer enjoyability are the goods that StarCraft II have to offer. Though I did not purposefully seek it out in order to drink it while playing the game, a bottle of Glenrothes Select Reserve single malt Speyside Scotch found its way into my apartment. After tasting it, I realized that it might be just what I was looking for. The whisky is smooth, with exuberant notes of orange, toffee, and vanilla. It has a creamy texture and finishes with a hint of peat smoke.

I finally put this pairing to the test earlier tonight, while playing online with a friend. On a basic level, Scotch works well with StarCraft because there are no breaks in the action at all for the duration of a game, and the occasional sip is about all one can manage. But on a deeper level, it just feels right to imbibe such a fine whisky while commanding a fleet of Zerg Brood Lords or Protoss Carriers. I'm making the decisions, and Glenrothes makes me feel like I'm the decider, damn it. It adds elegance and sophistication to intense battles, and gives one confidence and comfort in times that can be trying. While many other single malts could probably work just as well, the somewhat lighthearted character of Glenrothes makes it a very good mach for StarCraft II.