Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Beast Bitter - Middle Ages Brewing Co., Ltd.

    Beast Bitter is an Extra Special Bitter (ESB) brewed by Middle Ages Brewing Co., Ltd. in Syracuse, New York. As you can tell from the picture, I apparently got a bad bottle (likely over-carbonated). When I opened and poured the beer it was all foam! As a result, I only get a little over half of the bottle to enjoy. The taste seems to be fine though, so I decided to continue on with the review.

    Beast Bitter pours a rusty orange color with a head that leaves lots of lacing, though I'm not sure if this is normal since I had a suds explosion.

    The beer smells of sweet caramel malts with a bit of an English Ale twist. The beer's hops shine through with a slight citrus twang. The hops also give the beer a slight metallic scent.

    The ESB is medium bodied, and mine has a low to medium level of carbonation. I suspect that the beer originally had a medium level of carbonation, before the bubbles all exploded out into my glass. This beast doesn't have much of a bite at 5.3% ABV.

Up for a game of Dungeons & Flagons?
    Beast Bitter is surprisingly hoppy for an ESB. Citrusy notes hit the palate first, followed by hoppy bitterness. The bitterness is quickly quelled by caramel and toasty malts, making the beer an interesting drinking experience. In my opinion, a good ESB shows some real bitterness, but also has a strong, sweet malt backbone to keep the bitterness from becoming all you taste. What results is a series of flavors in every drink. Beast bitter is a bit more watery than I would like, however. It would have been nice to see a fuller-flavored ale with these characteristics.

    While I can't really say that Beast Bitter is a monster of an ESB, it's still worth trying if you would like to experience an Extra Special Bitter brewed in the style of an English ESB. I'm pretty sad that I got a bad bottle, but at least I got a chance to try this one, even it was half-a-glass.

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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Alan Wake's American Nightmare - Xbox 360 Arcade

    Alan Wake is back, this time in Xbox Live Arcade and PC formats only. Developed by Remedy and published by Microsoft Studios, 2012's Alan Wake's American Nightmare picks up approximately where the downloadable content packs for the original Alan Wake game left off. Fans of the first game clamored for more after finishing the first entry in the series, so does the Live Arcade game do the original justice?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Star Ocean: The Last Hope - Xbox 360

    It's the year 2097. Human kind survives on Earth only by living underground after destroying their own planet in nuclear war. Research into space travel becomes humanity's only hope of survival. Humanities' eyes turn to the skies in the hope of finding a new, habitable planet on which to start over. Star Ocean: The Last Hope is actually a prequel to the entire Star Ocean series which saw its start back in 1996. The fourth game to release in the series, The Last Hope hit shelves in 2009 for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. Developed by Tri-Ace and published by Square-Enix, The Last Hope is a Japanese Role Playing Game with a Sci-Fi setting which is a bit different for the genre. But does the game stand up against other RPGs on the system?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Festivity Ale - Goose Island Beer Co.

    Festivity Ale is Goose Island's Winter release Brown Ale, and wouldn't you know it, the only bottle I had left has a wonky label.. Goose Island (Chicago, IL) releases a Brown Ale every year to celebrate the holidays. Each year they slightly alter the recipe for a new, unique brew each year. This year, Goose Island chose to highlight some of the sweet, dark fruit flavors that specialty malts can lend to ales. I can only hope this holiday brew brings joy to my mouth!

    Festivity Ale is a surprisingly clear, light brown color with a very thin head at pouring. There is very little retention to the head, though a thin ring of bubbles hugs the glass long after the foam has dissipated.

    The Brown Ale smells unsurprisingly malty, with sweet toffee and caramel aromas. There is an almost sour, fruity smell to the ale that I've usually only smelled in strong Belgian style ales. There isn't really any hops scent to the brew.
    Festivity has a nice smoothness to it, though there is a bit of a watery character to the ale. The brew is medium bodied and has a medium carbonation level which gives the beer a nice tingle on the tongue. Though the dark-fruit smells usually warn me that I'm about to drink a super-strong ale, Festivity Ale has an ABV of 7.7%; still not a weak brew, but not the 9-10% I would expect.
Ugly Sweatervests are the next big Christmas thing

    The Brown Ale tastes slightly roasty, though it avoids the bitterness that can sometimes come with roasted malts. Sweet toffee and caramel malts make up a portion of the beer's flavor with the remainder featuring dark, candied fruit flavors such as dates, raisins, and even a little bit of apple. I even taste a bit of brown sugar in the beer's flavor. The brew's hops add a subtle, grassy earthiness to the mix, grounding the sweet flavors.

    Since I was little I've been amused by flavors and how they can change depending on what you expect when putting something up to your mouth. I first discovered this when taking a sip of milk from a cup as a child, only to spit it out when it tasted extremely disgusting. As it turns out, there was iced tea in my cup, not milk. Once I realized that it was iced tea, the tea tasted fine. It was just the fact that I was expecting milk that changed my perception of what I was tasting. This beer is no different. I started drinking the first couple of beers in this six-pack not knowing that there were supposed to be fruit flavors in the brew. When I didn't know what I was looking for and expecting typical roasty Brown Ale flavors, I was disgusted by Festivity's fruity malt flavors. I actually opened one of these and refused to drink it, handing it off to someone else . After doing some research into the beer, the flavors suddenly make sense to my tongue.

    Even after knowing what to expect, I still find the dark fruit flavors to be confusing in a beer that is also somewhat watery. The beer's body tells my mouth that it should be easy-drinking, while the extreme flavors make me want to sip the beer slowly to avoid becoming overwhelmed by the flavors. Overall this brew comes off as too confusing to easily enjoy, though interesting in that it seems as though Goose Island pumped a good bit of flavor into a mass-produced, watery beer.

Amulets and Ale Rating:

Friday, January 2, 2015

Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood - Xbox 360

    Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood is the third game in the historically based Action and Stealth game series. Released in 2010 on Xbox 360, Playstation 3, PC, and Mac OS X, Brotherhood picks right up where Assassin's Creed II left off, and adds some new features to the already improved gameplay of the second game.