Beer of the Week 31 Blue Star Wheat Beer

North Coast brewing Company's Blue Star Wheat Beer

From the label:

Choice American barley and wheat malts are combined with a blend of noble hops to create this lighthearted, refreshing beer. Blue Star is unfiltered, the yeast adding a complex note to the flavor profile. Water, malt, hops, yeast & that’s all.

From my notes:

Beautiful, cloudy, straw color. Thick, fine bubbled, bone colored head, lasts a moderate amount of time, minimal lacing. High carbonation. Smells of citrus (oranges), and potpourri spices. Tastes of wheat with the hint of citrus, spice, and yeast. Delicate. Clean and crisp finish.

As I said beautiful star coloring and a nice thick head

Blue Star is a prefect beer for Spring and Summer. Clear, crisp and refreshing Blue Star would be a great choice for outdoor and indoor grilling, a afternoon at the beach or an evening spent around the campfire, great for session drinking as well. Almost as good as their Scrimshaw, one of my favorite beers.

Rating (out of five):

Let’s Play Quest for Glory II: Trial by Fire Part Two

Day 1: Exploring Exotic Shapier

First, first things let’s see if Ol’ Garcon made it to Shapier safe and sound?

*trinkering*

*hackering*

*some of that old time DOS magicking*

What was the very first thing I did after loading in Perseii? Why, delete those three pesky spaces at the end of his name! The very next thing? Well it is the most important thing you can do in QFG2:

I turned Silly Clowns to ‘On.’ Now we can get started! Jackson was in a new city and that meant all his money was no good here he needed to find a money changer (those people Jesus hated) He asked Abdulla about it

Next was finding out where the Guild hall was:

Danar doesn’t think Abdulla is going to be that helpful! Here is hoping Shameen can help!

When asked about the Money Changer:

the Guild Hall:

The Fountain Plaza:

Okay, so not so much help. That is okay though. ‘Cause in the promotional material Seepgood got from the Shapier Chamber of Commerce was a map. It wasn’t a very good one but it will have to do until he gets a better one. He knows that the Money changer is on Dinar Tarik which is right off of Naufara Darb which is right off the Fountain Plaza which is just north of here! Garcon pats himself down before heading out to make sure he hasn’t lost anything:

As soon as Perseii leaves the Katta’s Tail he’s assailed by street vendors:

Ali Chica seems especially keen to let the hero know about his wares. Annoying as he may be a map and compass would be helpful.

Maybe he won’t notice the funny money? Gold is gold, right?

Continue reading “Let’s Play Quest for Glory II: Trial by Fire Part Two”

Not a Review: Borderlands

Gearbox Software's Borderlands (2009)

I used to love first person shooters (FPSs). I think there was a stretch of a few years in my life where there were the only type of game I was playing: Qauke 2, Unreal, Half-life, Unreal Tournament , Quake 3. Even before FPSs went 3d I routinely played through DOOM,  DOOM 2, and Heretic. At some point though FPSs started changing, they started taking themselves too seriously, perhaps? This is probably Half-Life’s fault, with the the Call of Duty and Halo franchises being responsible for carrying it forward, poorly. Too much focus on (a crappy) story line and attempting to portray a real world-setting didn’t set well with me.  Neither did all the limitations designers started putting on the player: two weapons only, generic ammo, a non-numeric life-bar now accompanied by a non-numeric recharging energy or shield bar. The move towards recharging health and limits on weapons also meant that managing health and ammo was no longer part of the game. Ammo was picked up from fallen enemies and levels changed so that ammo dumps and arsenals were no longer part of the game, some how this also translated into the removal of secret areas on the map as well. Levels were no longer part of the puzzle to be solved merely the background canvas on which the player painted murder. As these changes were implemented and the focus moved increasingly from single player to on-line multi-player  I found myself wandering away from the genre… *rant off*

I don’t quite recall how Borderlands caught my attention in 2009. Perhaps, it was the touted ‘loot’ system so similar to how Diablo and Diablo 2 distributed weapons and armor? Or maybe I picked it up on the recommendation of friends over at Talking Time (I’m sure it was the latter.) I picked the game up hopeful that my fondness for the genre could be rekindled but prepared to be disappointed. As I had been with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (a franchise that now embodies everything I’m not looking for in an FPS.) Borderlands is a delightfully dark and playful FPS, much as its early progenitors were, in which you explore an alien planet with a Western ethic. This world is large populated by monsters, thugs, bandits, frontiersmen and contains a surprising number of secrets. Tasked with finding and unlocking a legendary treasure trove, players will have at their disposal an near infinite variety of small and large arms. There are seven types of guns one can use but they all have modifiers of quality and elemental damage, as well as stat and to-hit bonuses. I’ve been playing for 20+ hours and I don’t think I’ve seen the same gun twice.

The game succeeds by successfully marrying fast-paced FPS game-play with an inventory/loot system that kept me opening every crate, chest, and locker in the game looking for the next amazing gun. The game does keep many of the now “standard” elements of FPSs, despite them I find myself smiling and looking forward to the sequel that is coming later this year.