Saturday, May 14, 2011

God of War 3 with Highway 78 Scotch Ale and Hellhound On My Ale

It's been way too long since I've posted. I've been busy rocking out with my band and brewing beer and figuring out the logistics of starting a brewpub, and I've severely neglected playing video games. Sure, I've gotten in a good amount of Madden and Tiger Woods golf, but I haven't had the energy to research any particularly interesting pairings. Fortunately, I had no pressing engagements today, and I found myself starting up God of War 3 for the first time. And then I played it for 10 hours.
Playing God of War 3 for 10 hours in a day is exhausting. I can't even count how many people I ripped in half and disemboweled. I beheaded Helios, belegged Hermes, and pounded Hercules' face into mush. I had never played a God of War game before today, and I found it disgusting, but entertaining. I clearly didn't find it overly objectionable, as I only stopped playing to eat and to go buy booze to pair with it.

It's not that I really loved the game all that much. It's pretty fun, and it's certainly well-paced, but mostly I was determined to do nothing productive today, and the game helped me to achieve that. God of War 3 builds on the story from God of War and God of War 2. This story is complicated and pointless. The real point of God of War 3, and I can only assume the first two entries in the series, is to whoop ass all the time. Our antihero, Kratos, is determined to kill Zeus, and nothing is going to stand in his way. A lot of things try to stand in his way, but they get whooped in the ass. That's a really polite way of saying that they get shredded by large blades attached to long chains. It's kind of like the newer Prince of Persia games, but with a little less platforming action and a lot more blood and evisceration.
I was tempted to get something Greek to drink with this game. If my local booze shop had had a red Greek wine, I probably would have bought it. But they only had a white Greek wine, and that hardly seems hardcore enough for God of War 3. I would have bought some ouzo, but thankfully they didn't have it. I do like ouzo, but if I had drank it while playing God of War 3 my brain might have exploded. Instead of going with Greek booze, I went out on a limb and got a couple of limited-release beers that I thought could work.

The first beer I opened was a collaborative effort from brewers from Stone, Green Flash, and Port Brewing. As is noted on the bottle, it is surprising that the three of the hop-happiest breweries in the world would collaborate to make a malt-focused beer. Highway 78 is a Scotch ale, and it is strong and delicious. It has a wonderful raisiny maltiness up front, a bit of yeasty breadiness in the middle, and a long, relatively dry finish. It made me feel like Braveheart, which is a good thing to feel like when one is playing God of War 3. Highway 78, like the game, is pretty intense. They were a good match for each other.
The other beer I opened, Dogfish Head's Hellhound On My Ale, is also intense. I almost followed up that last sentence by saying "Intensely shitty," but I try to reserve hyperbole for positive commentary. The beer is not intensely shitty, but it does not do justice to its stated purpose, which is to serve as a tribute to Robert Johnson on the 100th anniversary of his birth. It's a double IPA with some lemon thrown in as a nod to Blind Lemon Jefferson. This is stupid, and makes no sense. I'm not sure exactly what kind of beer would be most fitting to honor a Delta blues legend, but I'm sure that it is not a double IPA with lemon. If Hellhound On My Ale was extremely delicious, I might be persuaded otherwise, but it is a hot mess. It tastes like alcohol, with a lot of hops, and a little too much sugar. There's a little lemon in there as well, which only accentuates the overpowering booziness of this beer.

Fortunately, hot boozy beers aren't so very bad when one is playing God of War 3. I could have been drinking shots of cheap vodka or Night Train and it probably would have worked. Hellhound On My Ale was powerful, so it was appropriate. Adding to this appropriateness was the fact that over the course of my day I ripped many heads off of many many-headed hellhounds. Take that Cerberuses.
I was going to write a special post to mark the one year anniversary of The Art of Pairing Video Games with Booze, but then I forgot. Anyway, it's been over a year now and I've reviewed over 30 pairings. At times I thought I would run out of ideas, but more keep coming to me. Keep checking back, because we still have a lot of important things to learn together. Important things about life. And video games. And booze.

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