Tuesday, October 14, 2014

ApriHop - Dogfish Head Brewery

    ApriHop is an American IPA that is brewed with apricot juice. This fruity and hoppy beer is brewed by Dogfish Head Brewery in Milton, Delaware as their Spring seasonal. It also seems to be craved by psychotic, albino rabbits, so that's something.

    The apricot IPA pours a clear, brass color with a half-finger head with great retention.

    ApriHop's aroma is strongly fruity as the hops and apricot juice form their own unique smell. Citrus notes as well as the stonefruit scents can be picked out, as can an earthy undertone. Light malt sweetness lies underneath the fruit and hop scents.

    The fruity IPA is medium bodied and sports a medium level of carbonation. Overall, the beer feels nicely creamy on the tongue. Dogfish Head's love of higher-than-normal alcohol levels makes the beer's alcohol content of 7% ABV unsurprising.

Stay away from my beer, or I'll devour the little one's soul!
    ApriHop's flavor is actually kind of disappointing. I was expecting a nice, lightly fruity, hoppy beer. Instead the flavors I'm getting are mostly earthy and herbal hops notes with a strong ale flavor at the end. There really isn't much apricot OR hops flavor in the beer, especially when you consider that the beer's label describes it "massively hopped". The label goes on to describe that the majority of the "massive hopping" was dry hopping after fermentation, which explains why there is lots of great hops scents and not so much flavor.

    This beer's label has me really concerned that there is a population of apricot-crazy albino rabbits somewhere out there. Just looking at that thing's eyes tells me that it would stop at nothing to enjoy its sweet, sweet apricot nectar of the gods. Plus, it's a widely accepted fact that albinos actually consume the souls of their victims. All I know is that if I run into one of these things on the street, I'm outta there.

    I was very interested in Aprihop at first. I could easily see how apricot juice would go well with hops and was excited to give it a try. As previously stated though, I ended up being disappointed in it. The beer was still decent, but not at all as advertised..

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Sunday, October 5, 2014

Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine - Xbox 360

    Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine is a Third-Person Shooter created by Relic Entertainment and published by THQ. The game was released in 2011 on the PC, Playstation 3, and Xbox 360. Space Marine comes directly out of Games Workshop's hugely popular Warhammer 40,000 series, most known for the table-top miniatures game of the same name. It may come as some surprise that Space Marine manages to make the transition between table-top to video game quite well. In fact, playing the game actually stoked my curiosity into the rest of the Warhammer 40,000 world.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Pumking - Southern Tier Brewing Company

    The Fall season is upon us, and you know what that means! It won't be too long until we start seeing pumpkin flavored everything. Every year adding pumpkin flavoring to things seems to get more and more out of control, and for the most part, it's not even real pumpkin. To me, that's the worst part of the pumpkin craze; that so much of it is just adding chemicals which taste similar to pumpkin pie spice, not like the fruit itself! Beer also suffers from the "pumpkin season", but it's not always a bad thing!

    Pumking is, as you may have guessed, a pumpkin ale. This festive brew is created by the Southern Tier Brewing Company that is located in Lakewood, New York. While I lump Pumking in with the myriad of other pumpkin flavored items, it's actually released in mid-August and is usually out of stock by the time November, and a lot of the other pumpkin items come around. Honestly though, I can't think of a better way to kick off the season!

    Pumking pours a light amber color with an orange tint. A small one-inch head forms at pouring but quickly subsides into nothing.

    Right away the smell of sweet pumpkin pie hits your nose, and I mean real pumpkin pie, not that artificial chemically smelling/tasting stuff used in other seasonal items. The ale also gives off scents of vanilla and toasted sugars.

    The beer is pleasant on the tongue with a medium body and a low carbonation level. There is a nice creaminess to this ale that makes it a pleasure to drink. I really don't get any alcohol warmth, which is surprising to me as the beer has an alcohol content of 8.6%!

Bow before your king!
    Pumking features flavors such as caramel malts, nutmeg, a hint of vanilla, and, oh yeah, PUMPKIN! I cannot express how happy I am that Southern Tier uses actual pureed pumpkin in this beer, rather than something artificial. And, honestly, this choice is what makes Pumking one of the absolute best pumpkin ales I have ever tried! Southern Tier manages to blend that pumpkin pie flavor perfectly with ale flavors so that you don't just feel like you're drinking a dessert, but rather enjoying something completely different while still reminding you of comfort food.

    The only bad thing I can say about Pumking is that, in both scent and flavor, the ale has a slight...candle-ness to it. By that I mean that the beer smells and tastes kind of how a Fall-themed, super-expensive jar candle would smell, the idea of which isn't exactly pleasant. This is easily overcome thanks to the balance of flavors in the brew. Plus, if you let this beer age for a few months, the unpleasant flavor diminishes and the nice, sweet flavors become more intense.

    Obviously if you're not a fan of pumpkin flavor, you most likely won't enjoy this beer. Pumpkin pie happens to be my favorite pie, so I love pumpkin flavor when it is done well. Pumking blew me away the first time I tried it and I had to track down another bottle to review. Definitely seek this one out, especially since it's one of the earliest (and best) pumpkin flavored foods of the season!

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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Apex Predator - Off Color Brewing

    Apex Predator is a Saison (AKA Farmhouse Ale) brewed by Off Color Brewing in Chicago, Illinois. In the past few months of living in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago, I've become quite proud to call Off Color a local brewery. To me, Off Color seems to be just two guys who love making beer, and make it however the heck they feel like at the time. What results is usually a dang fine brew!

    Off Color's Saison is a hazy, pale orange with a thick, off-white head of foam. Much of this foam slides down the glass as the cup empties, though it leaves a nice bit of lacing on the sides of the glass.

    The Saison smells of the spicy Belgian yeast used in brewing it. Additionally, there is a slight bit of a bubblegum scent to the ale, a result of the brewing processes and yeast. Hops lend a slight grassy scent to the ale, as well as some interesting juicy, tropical fruit scents.

    Apex Predator is light to medium bodied, but is enhanced by the high level of carbonation. This carbonation is likely the reason that so many scents were perceptible, since the bubbles were propelling them out of the beer. An alcohol content of 6.5% ABV keeps things at what I would call an average level of booziness for a craft ale.

Don't trust his stories, especially when he's drinking. He's always lion.
    The Saison tastes very much like it smells with the exception that those juicy tropical flavors are much less pronounced, though definitely still there. The main event here is definitely the Belgian yeast. White pepper, cloves, and yes, even bubblegum flavors are all present, and somehow work quite well together. Even with all the different flavors, the beer still manages to be thirst quenching, which definitely a plus in a Saison.

    Many wise people have stated that history repeats itself. It's been a common theme throughout time that once a civilization reaches its Apex it quickly declines into nothingness. Take the lion. Top of his game, king of the jungle. Before long he's too lazy to get up and hunt and makes the women do his work for him. Next thing you know, he develops a drinking habit. Lazy, half-drunk, and slow in the afternoon sun, the lion sits just waiting for the younger, stronger generation to take his place. Just remember, it takes a lot of work to reach your apex, but if you relax and let your guard down, even at the top, you could soon find yourself at the bottom once more, or, you know, in a zoo.

    Apex Predator is a great take on the Saison. Time and time again, Off Color seems to take a classic beer style, put a slight spin on it, and make it great. I can't wait to try more!

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Sunday, August 24, 2014

'Splosion Man - Xbox 360 Arcade

    'Splosion Man is a Platforming game developed by Twisted Pixel and released in 2009 on the Xbox 360 Live Arcade. The game was one of the first highly regarded Xbox Live Arcade releases, and really set the standard for the Xbox Live Arcade games to come.