For 2016, we are debuting a new column here at Games I Made My Girlfriend Play: Games and Grog. As the resident beer snob of GIMMGP, Chip is always on the lookout for new brews to sample. He also believes that a great gaming experience can be enhanced with the right beverage.
Written on a semi-monthly basis, Games and Grog posts will highlight the pairing of specific brews with certain titles. The beers and games will typically both be new experiences for Chip, with certain exceptions being made for time-tested combinations. Some of these pairs will be the match made in heaven, while others may be the couple from hell. Either way, Chip will review new games and beers for your reading pleasure.
To kick off this series of articles, Chip has chosen a modern beer based on an ancient recipe and a futuristic game with flourishes from the fantastic past. Prosit!
Over the life of this blog, it has been well-established that I enjoy making lists. I am a rather meticulous person; using lists to keep track of things I enjoy, things I despise, and those things that I have yet to experience. For this inaugural Games and Grog post, I chose the game and the beer that sat at the top of their respective, “Cool-Looking Things to Try” lists.
Kvasir is a beer that has been on my radar for some time. I am a big fan of Dogfish Head and their Ancient Ales. The beer nerd in me loves the idea of using archeology and science to resurrect brewing recipes from the past.
For Kvasir, Dogfish Head enlisted the aid of biomolecular archaeologist Dr. Patrick McGovern to reproduce a long-forgotten beer from Scandinavia. From their website:
“The recipe for Kvasir was developed with the help of chemical, botanical and pollen evidence taken from a 3,500‐year‐old Danish drinking vessel. The vessel, made of birch bark, was found in the tomb of a leather‐clad woman Dr. Pat says was probably an upper-class dancer or priestess. The analysis pointed to the ingredients used in this unique brew: wheat, lingonberries, cranberries, myrica gale, yarrow, honey and birch syrup.”
Just reading over that description blows my mind. The thought that a brewery would use such complex food science just to replicate a beer recipe is amazing. And instead of using the results of this experiment to produce a single keg of beer for an exclusive party, Dogfish Head is sharing this experience with the world. Thanks to their efforts, we get a glimpse into ancient Scandinavian history through our taste buds.
Kvasir is certainly a unique brew. This beer pours with a fizzy head and a gorgeous red-orange color. There are golden and pink hues that shine as light passes through the glass. The nose is very sharp; of herbs and tart berries with a hint of honey. At first sip, there is the crisp bite of cranberry with a bit of effervescence. As the ale settles across your tongue, the mouthfeel of a hearty wheat beer is present. The finish leaves no lingering alcohol flavor (despite a 10% ABV), and the aftertaste of a mulled white wine comes to mind.
I won’t lie: Kvasir is not a beer for everyone. There is little-to-no hop character, so Die-Hard Hop Heads™ may be left wanting. The crisp fruit flavors and effervescence makes Kvasir a great beer for fans of mead and mulled wine, or for folks who enjoy wheat beers and lambics. Overall, I really enjoyed this flavorful brew, and this Ancient Ale paired quite nicely with Destiny.
As 2015 was winding down, Laura and I had an important decision to make. It’s the sort of conundrum that faces any couple who has been married for a few years, and once we have chosen a path, it would affect our lives for years to come.
Of course, I am talking about selecting which console would bring us into the next generation. What did you think I meant?
There is a hard rule in our home concerning the purchase of video game consoles: there has to be at least five worthwhile games available for the system before we invest. We were already proud owners of Nintendo’s Wii-U, so the time had come to pick our second favorite child. In the end, there were more console-exclusive games for the PlayStation 4 that we wanted to play. After drafting such a list for the PS4, we tossed it out the window and just bought Destiny instead.
Both Laura and I are veteran fans of Halo, but we wanted something with a bit more flourish than the latest installment of Master Chief’s existential crisis. Destiny had the gameplay of our favorite first-person shooter, with a deeply immersive sci-fi world. Plus, a complete edition of the game had just hit the market with the release of The Taken King, so win-win.
Since starting our respective characters in Destiny, the differences in the way Laura and I play have been more apparent than ever.
Laura approaches Destiny as a creative loner. She enjoys exploring the gorgeously rendered landscapes on each planet in the Solar System. She takes the time to examine the flavor text of every weapon, scouring over the lore and history of this fantastic universe. Destiny meets her enthusiasm with an engaging story of a mysterious interstellar being and its ancient adversary. The missions she is given are meant for a team of Guardians, but with skill and patience, Laura continues to make progress in the main story. She is the Awoken Huntress; she travels alone and with grace.
I approach Destiny like I am roaming a gigantic playground with my friends. I refuse to play this game without at least two companions by my side, ready to shoot some badguys and blow stuff up. I normally skip all cutscenes, crafting my own story of traveling the galaxy in search of the biggest and loudest rocket launcher. I am always chucking weapons and gear that don’t enhance my ability to make a flashy entrance with a big explosion. I am the Derpy Warlock, and I will fit this car through that door.
Destiny has provided Laura and I with the option to play as we wish, and that is fantastic. The game is an interesting intersection of first-person shooter gameplay with the trappings of a massively multiplayer online role-playing game. We enjoy the tense and often hectic firefights, as well as the deep world-building that frames the entire experience. Destiny has a sense of a developed universe, as if Bungie took the time to write an entire alternate future/history for this world before unleashing it upon the market as a game. This feeling of a lost and magical realm pairs quite well with the ancient-made-modern flavors of Kvasir. I would definitely recommend this combination.