Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Uncharted 2 and Sierra Nevada Ovila Saison: The First of My Contributions to Tech.li

I recently met a gentleman named Edward Domain. We both happened to be enjoying fine craft beer at one of Chicago's fine drinking establishments, and we got to talking about our websites. Mr. Domain founded Tech.li, a website dedicated to putting the spotlight on tech-related innovation and entrepreneurship. I told him about this blog, and he asked if I would want to contribute a monthly article to his site. I couldn't turn down a chance to further spread the gospel of conscientiously pairing video games with booze. The first of my reviews for Tech.li was posted here this morning. Check it out!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

I started playing Uncharted 2: Among Thieves a couple days ago. As I've mentioned before, I like to play through a good chunk of a game before I pick a booze that I'm going to pair it with. That's not to say that I don't drink any booze at all while I'm playing through the early stages of a game. I just like to get a feel for the game in order to help me choose a suitable booze. That rhymed! Anyway, I haven't had any great ideas yet, so chime in if you have any suggestions.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

L.A. Noire and Leopold Brothers American Small Batch Whiskey and Redemption Rye

This post has been a long time coming. It took me a while to get my hands on L.A. Noire, and like with most epic games I discuss on this blog, I wanted to get into the meat of it before I reviewed a pairing. Tonight I finally sat down with two fine American whiskies to investigate their pertinence to L.A. Noire.

Rockstar Games' L.A. Noire looks like a sandbox game, though it is fairly linear. You are put in the shoes of Cole Phelps, a veteran of the Second World War and a rookie detective for the Los Angeles Police Department. The game has you investigate crime scenes, interview witnesses, interrogate suspects and fight the occasional gun battle. Set in the late 1940's, the game does an amazing job creating an immersive environment. The music, graphics, and script all draw heavily on historical fact. The game is dark, and many of the crimes that Cole investigates are on the grizzly side. Grizzly crimes call for strong booze.

I had a bit of Leopold Brothers American Small Batch Whiskey on my shelf. I also had a bit of Redemption Rye. The Leopold Bros. whiskey is based on pre-prohibition recipes for America's favorite liquor. This struck me as being inappropriate for a game inspired by the noir genre. Noir is characterized largely by post-war disillusionment. After World War II, the liquor industry was not purveying pinnacles of craftsmanship. Characters is Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett novels drink bourbon, and sometimes rye. Redemption Rye, therefore, may have been a more historically appropriate choice, but since I only had a little of it left, and since LBASBW tastes pretty damn good, I decided to try them side-by-side while playing through a case called "Manifest Destiny."
L.A. Noire drives players through scenery both shocking and mundane. An analogy of Jekyll and Hyde may be a bit dramatic, but the two whiskies I drank with the game exhibited a similar polarity. LBASBW smells of black tea, prune and pear. It is not exactly mellow at 86 proof but it is well-balanced. It is distilled from corn and rye, and a subtle graininess comes through, along with a faint hint of confectioner's sugar. Redemption Rye is a substantially more brash whiskey. It smells spicy, and it tastes spicier. Clove, nutmeg and cinnamon dominate this rye. A bit of pear and citrus come through, but this is a 92 proof whiskey that burns the tongue. Neither of these whiskies has the degree of toasty vanilla that bourbons do. I liked them both, though I especially appreciated the more balanced LBASBW.
I'm not sure I've ever had a whiskey that wouldn't go well with L.A. Noire. For most of the case that I played through while researching this post, I preferred drinking the Leopold Bros. But towards the end of it, the action heated up, and the plot started twisting in surprising ways. At that point I started to reach for the stronger stuff. The combination of whiskies helped me develop a new strategy during gun battles that I call "Always empty your entire clip when you shoot at someone." It works pretty well.
In conclusion, whiskey is good.

Monday, August 1, 2011

People Who Know What's Up

Some people know what's up. Some people don't. My man Kesith at Kesith's Gaming Rants wrote a post on drinking Dogfish Head's Chateau Jiahu while playing Chrono Trigger. Kesith know what's up. Another person who knows what's up is my man Erik, who recorded my band playing at the Red Line Tap back in June. We've just posted three tracks from the show here. It's got little to do with video games, although it does have something to do with booze.