Pumpkin of Ages: or How Two Unrelated Spherical Objects Make a Blog

This is the first 8bit beer review.  The point of this is to pair beer not with food, but with beer related activities.  In particular games, especially video games (suddenly the 8 bit makes sense no?)

This week we the reviewers (v1rgilmdm and fiddler’s elbow) got a few of the seasonal pumpkin ales and checked out Rock of Ages from Ace team (PSN and Xbox 360 Arcade).  Not to be confused with the Tom Cruise movie of the same name.

Smashy smashy -what’s not to love?

I had messed around with R.O.A. on demo a few weeks back and finally got around to buying the full version.

The first beer we cracked was Granville Island Brewing’s Pumpkin Ale during the Tutorial of the game.

First up – Granville Island Pumpkin Ale  650ml bottle – 6%  – 
v1rgilmdm:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Coming in at 6% ABV and 15BU it’s a very balanced ale.  The pumpkin spice flavor is what comes through the most for me.  A strong nutmeg flavor with faint nutmeg and clove aroma (oxygenating my beer made this aroma stronger).  The ale is slightly sweet with not a lot of yeasty notes making for a light, nicely carbonated mouthfeel.  Like that first whiff of pumpkin pie in the air. 
Fiddlers Elbow: 
We divided the 650ml bottle pours a  nice dark orange colour with a medium head that dissipates quickly. The Aroma is nice but mostly spice (Nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon) and not enough pumpkin. Flavour is very much like the aroma light on the pumpkin and very strong spice but is balance with a sweet malt and medium carbonation.Overall a descent pumpkin beer that focuses on spice and malts base with a whopping 6% alcohol is great for beginners beer geeks.
The game like this beer is straight forward and easy to use (read drink…no read ‘handle’).
Rock Of Ages is a first person roller, yes I made that up.  In the tutorial you will learn to roll down a hill quickly, smash into things and jump erratically.  And if you fall off the narrow course?  No problem, the hand of some random greek God picks you up and gets you on your away again.  This game plays on the story of Sisyphus and his sentient pet rock who apparently was being punished too for all his ups and downs on the mountain.  I’ll admit the opening sequence was a little vague but you don’t play this game for the storyline.  you play it to smash stuff.  Particularly the big door at the bottom that leads to the next level.  And to build catapults to smash the other guy.  The other guy?  Let me explain.
Beer #2
V1rgilmdm :
First of all let me say I really wanted to try this beer.  I was sold on the idea of Fast trax brown -with Pumpkin, even though I have yet to try the Fast Trax Brown.  Just the sound of it made my mouth water.  And it did not disappoint.  This ale pours with nice head retention, aroma of caramel and nutmeg.  The first taste is earthy with fruity (pumpkin) notes.  You can taste the actual squash in the brew, with sweet maltiness, augmented by spices of cloves and coriander.  The coriander is an interesting addition and adds to the overall body.  The finish is fruity and dry.
Fiddlers Elbow:
Both V1rgilmdm  and myself found this beer to be very interesting. Fernie took their brown ale and added pumpking and spice to create this delightful brew. Again we split a 650ml bottle pours a nice dark copper / brown colour with a medium tan coloured head with good retention. Pumpkin and sweet caramel malts stands out the most in the aroma with hints of nutmeg and clove. The flavour is a nice blend of pumpkin and caramel sweetness with nutmeg being the most noticeable spice but leaves a dry earthy fruit on the palate. Overall this one was my favourite out of the three focused more on the pumpkin and leaving a dry palate this one is better geared for intermediate beer drinkers.
While I am trying to come up with these descriptors I am slowly losing my first player vs. player match against Fiddler’s Elbow.   The trick is to destroy enough while rolling down the hill to earn money so you can buy defenses to slow down the other guy who is on your track.  The defenses pop-up in the ‘down-time’ while you wait for your boulder to get chipped out.  the defenses use two wheel tracks with different costs, and are easy to place with their top-down view.  The trick is setting up some good traps using natural terrain and the right defense.  Like a couple of elephants in a sink hole.  Or a line of catapults on a straight-away.
The first person to beat down the door at the end get’s to squish the little guy in the room.  The squishing is very satisfying.  Very satisfying.  And you can unlock different types of rocks, such as armoured, or on fire.   Generally whoever gets to the bottom quickest has the best chance to win.   Each door takes about 3 volleys.  here were ours:
Ball#1   Tie-with both hit each other’s door at about the same time.
Ball#2   I took the ball of “Fiery Flaming Death” but lost a lot on the way down, including the fire part.  Fiddler’s Elbow by a few seconds
Ball#3  Fiddler’s Elbow crushed me.  literally in the game and figuratively as In I didn’t even get close to the end.

Ball #3 brings us to Beer#3. 

Howe Sound Brewing’s PumpkinEater.  

V1rgilmdm :

I drank this alone while playing single player.  at 8% ABV it is a STRONG beer.  In fact it’s a monster.  Medium brown in colour, medium head retention but the aroma is pumpkin spice and cloves.  Taste at the front is spicy and sweet with light fruit tones and a malty body.  Like a pumpkin pie liqueur.
Fiddlers Elbow:
Last but not least – Howe Sound Pumpkineater Imperial Ale – 1 Liter – 8% – Due to time restraints we did not get to enjoy this beer together instead we divided a bottle and went on our separate ways. I enjoyed my half of the bottle while watching the new episode of Simpson’s pours a dark amber colour with a medium white head. Aroma of strong alcohol and spice dominate this beer leaving the pumpkin in their dust. Spice is very present in the flavour with a light pumpkin notes up front but leaves you with a light wet palate. Overall the beer is a good strong beer with big flavours just make sure this one doesn’t knock you on your butt. Best fit for the serious beer geeks.
I worked my way through a few levels with this sipper-ale.  I enjoyed the pop-culture references throughout Rock of Ages.  The 300 Spartans, Castle Tranyslvania and especially Gandalf when I reached the Middle Ages.   That’s when my beer glass emptieth and I turned off the box.
Fiddlers Eblows reviwe of Age of Rocks:
For the most part the game is similar to games such as Hamsterball & marble blast but with a twist.The premes is very simply smash the enemy’s door open before they can do the same to you. Game play can be broken down into two parts first you control a giant Rock which you race down a slopped path taking out obstacles for money and smashing the a huge door at the bottom. Once you have made it to the bottom you need to wait for a new boulder to be made so using the money which you earned players place obstacles on the tracks to slow down your opponent. Controls seem fairly easy left thumb stick controls your movement and right the camera also pressing “A” makes the boulder jump. Placing obstacles involves highlight item such as Ox’s from a circular list and pressing ”A” to place the item with the option to upgrade say an Ox’ to an Elephant at the cost of extra money. Overall Age of Rocks is simple but also very fun game with the option to play through the story or split screen against your friends. Controls make this game easy to dive into play and only issues is that the game is a little repetitive.

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