Monday, September 30, 2019

Beer of the Week: Dogfish Head SeaQuench Ale

Beer score: 6.6

Company: Dogfish Head

ABV: 4.9
IBU: 10

This was ... uh ... one of the more unusual beers I've tried. It wasn't bad, necessarily, but it didn't taste much like beer. To my taste buds, it reminded me more than a little of Fresca, that citrus soft drink that's been around forever, though that's not necessarily a bad thing.

It poured a light amber color into a glass. The head became quite thick and foamy and white, but it drifted away almost immediately. Right away a strong smell of lime and grapefruit hit my nostrils.

The flavor? Lemon-lime, apple, melon, all-around citrus. The sour of the lime grows stronger the more you drink.

Over all the sensation here is light, but the texture is quite carbonated, and that combined with the flavoring makes one think more of a soft drink than of a beer. Yes, this is an odd drink, and it's by no means a traditional ale, but it could be worth your time to try.

Is it a good beer? You know what? It's not bad. It's not something I'd want to drink often, and honestly it's not something I'd want to drink when I'm in the mood for a beer, but it is a drink I would taste again when the mood struck me. And what would that mood be? Looking for a good time on a hot day, preferably at a beach or by a pool.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Books read in 2019: No. 41 -- Bane of Nightmares (The Dream Lords, Volume 3)

by Adrian Cole

Started: Sept. 19
Finished: Sept. 26

Notes: I've been Facebook friends with the author for a little while now, but it occurred to me I'd never read anything of his. Then one day recently I realized I had one of his older novels on my book shelves just waiting for me. So, funny timing, sort of. And even though this is the third volume of a series, I feel fairly confident I will be able to figure out what is going on, mainly because I'm pretty familiar with speculative fiction tropes and because the author gives a short prologue at the beginning.

Mini review: This was more space fantasy than true fantasy, but it still rocked along with plenty of monsters and sword-swinging action. In the far future, Earth is ruled from another planet by the Dream Lords, semi-benevolent humans with vast powers of the mind. Yet the world of the Dream Lords is crumbling as one evil figure vies for their power. Fortunately, this evil being is thwarted by the mighty thews of our hero, an heir to being one of the Dream Lords. The battle rages from Earth to space and back with a final confrontation in an ancient temple. Not the best writing I've ever read, but also not the worst. It does come with some of the quirks of many of the short fantasy novels of the 1970s, such as plots that sometimes move so swiftly as to be practically unbelievable, but personally I find that charming rather than a negative.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

FASERIP Season 03 Episode 02 - Marvel Super Heroes RPG | COMIC BOOK UNIVERSITY

Yep, it's another session of the Marvel Super Heroes FASERIP game with Professor Bill and gang from Comic Book University.

Beer of the Week: Samuel Adams Octoberfest

Beer score: 7.1

Company: Samuel Adams

ABV: 5.3
IBU: 16

Though I tend to not care for holiday brews, I've had this beer several times over the last few decades, and in the past I've not cared much for it, but this year I actually found it to my liking. Being a seasonal brew, perhaps the recipe and/or the quality differs from year to year, or perhaps my taste buds have changed with age, or maybe my beer palate has grown. Whatever the case, I generally liked this beer in 2019.

Anyway, this beer poured a light, almost clear brown and had a slightly fizzy but frothy head to it. The taste is a little strong, but nothing overpowering here. There's more than a little caramel flavor as this drink goes down, and there are hints of citrus. It reminded me a bit of English brown ales.

As I said, I don't normally care for holiday beers, and in the past I didn't care for this one, but this year I found this rather enjoyable. Take that for what it's worth, but you might want to give it a try.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Books read in 2019: No. 40 -- Doc Savage: The Land of Terror

by Kenneth Robeson

Started: Sept. 13
Finished: Sept. 18

Notes: Though I'm well aware of the Doc Savage character, I've never actually read one of these books before, so I thought it high time. This is apparently the second novel in the lengthy series, and the author's name is actually a house name used by the publisher of the time (here the 1930s). The actual author was apparently Lester Dent. Also, if I should happen to love this novel, I know an antique store that has a revolving rack full of them, so I'll know where to go to get more.

Mini review: A friend of Doc's is murdered and a long investigation eventually leads to an island where dinosaurs still roam! This was just a fun little romp. The writing is quite juvenile by today's standards, but it also has a fun, quirky sense to it that reminds one of old serialized television programs such as Flash Gordon and the earliest days of super hero comic books. I might very well venture forth into this territory again.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Marvel FASERIP RPG: Episode 1

I mentioned recently I took part in a tabletop RPG campaign from the '80s Marvel Super Heroes FASERIP game, and here is episode 1. Hope you enjoy! There will be more of these as I believe we did 10 or 12 episodes.

Beer of the Week: MacTarnahan's Amber Ale

Beer score: 6.2

Company: Portland Brewing Company

ABV: 5.1
IBU: 32

This one poured with a nice, thick, foamy head, so if that's your sort of thing, enjoy! It comes out of the bottle and into the glass with an reddish amber color, but that makes sense since this is an amber ale. The taste is that coppery "red" known in some premium "red" beers, but I have to say the flavoring here is stronger and doesn't have so much of that typical premium feeling. As for texture, its somewhat water but not overly thin, making it easy to drink. There are hints of fruitiness here, maybe citrus.

All in all, this makes an excellent drinking beer. You could easily guzzle down a few of these with your favorite buds at a pub. And speaking from experience, this amber ale does go well with pub food.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Books read in 2019: No. 39 -- Stormqueen!

by Marion Zimmer Bradley

Started: August 25
Finished: Sept. 13

Notes: I've never been a huge MZB fan, but I have been meaning for some time to try one of her Darkover novels since they were so popular a number of decades back.

Mini review: In a feudal world where the rulers have varying levels of mind powers, a group of young people find themselves embroiled in intrigue and war at the highest levels of society and politics. And that description barely touches everything that happens within this novel. I can't say this was a favorite novel, but it was actually pretty good, though I felt it took a long time before truly becoming interesting. This novel is apparently set in one of the earliest ages of the world of Darkover, so most of the other novels take place years or centuries after this one. I would like to add that the ending here is somewhat emotionally wrenching, but that's not a bad thing, at least not to me. Would I try another Darkover novel? Yes, I would, and perhaps I will, especially as they are still being written by other authors since MZB has passed away.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Beer of the Week: Old Speckled Hen

Beer score: 4.0

Company: Greene King

ABV: 5.0

This decent British ale has been around for about 40 years now, originally as a celebratory beer for employees of a vehicle manufacturer.

Very smooth going back after a nice, fluffy head. It's quite wet but has a cheap bitterness to it, almost like it's been sitting in a can for a good long while. That being said, it does have a nice copper color when poured, and there is a fine grainy and grassy flavoring here with hints of toffee or caramel.

Though that bitterness ... man, it's strong. For those not used to it, all that bitter can be quite the shock, but I could see how this ale could grow on you.

Would I drink it again? Sure. Would I drink it regularly? Probably not. Still, it's a different kind of drink, at least here in the U.S. where I live, so it's worth trying every once in a while.

Monday, September 09, 2019

Marvel Super Heroes tabletop role playing game, Session 0

Yes, folks, I'm in the above video with Professor Bill from Comic Book University, along with a few other hardy tabletop role players, and we are playing the old Marvel Super Heroes game from the 1980s, commonly referred to as the FASERIP game (because FASERIP is an acronym for some of the character stats in the game).

We played these session a few months back, and there were 10 or 11 episodes (sorry, my memory ain't what it used to be). Anyway, we had a lot of fun, and Professor Bill is now uploading these sessions so others can see.

Go, watch, have fun, and enjoy. And maybe you can break out some old '80s RPG action!

Monday, September 02, 2019

Beer of the Week: Sapporo Premium Beer

Beer score: 3.5

Company: Sapporo

ABV: 4.9
IBU: 24

From Japan, this beer pours a pale gold color. There is a lot of carbonation here, but this drink goes down fairly smooth. The taste is that traditional American taste common to many mass marketed beers a few decades ago and still popular in some places. There's some light bitterness here and a touch of sweet, but nothing overly strong.

This beer is worth trying, but probably only once. This isn't a brew you want to drink regularly.