Thursday, October 6, 2011

Thirsty Thursday!

Hello, folks!  You all know what day it is...Thirsty Thursday!  And since I know everyone is as thirsty as I am, I'll dive right into today's selection.  I figure since fall is finally here, I'll go with the obvious choice and review one of the many Octoberfest beers available all season long.  This one comes from the vats of Samuel Adams, an American brewery based in Boston, Massachusetts.

This particular brew is lovingly crafted, per it's website, from "five roasts of malt to create a delicious harmony of sweet flavors including caramel and toffee."  I couldn't have said it better myself.  The first sip of this concoction sends a delightful medley of flavors splashing across the palate.  Ah, but I get ahead of myself.  The aroma reveals the malt blend, predominantly caramel, and reminiscent of other, headier spices.  The head quickly subsides and leaves little lacing on the glass. 

The taste of this Octoberfest is bready and strong, though not overwhelming, and slightly bitter, slightly creamy.  The one complaint I have is the aftertaste this beer leaves, a bit sour and somehow metallic (in contrast to the initial drinkability).  This is a completely accessible autumn beverage for novices (like me) and seasoned beer drinkers alike.  As an aside, I can't think of a better beer to sip while watching Major League Baseball playoffs: October-perfect. 

Overall Grade: B+


Style: Märzen
Alcohol by Volume: 5.3%
International Bitterness Units: 15

Color: Deep Red Amber

Glass Used: Pint
Food Pairings: Kielbasa Burro Verde/Chimichangas from Taxco (this pairing was BRILLIANT, with the spices of the food working to complement and enhance the spices of the beer)
Cellaring Notes: Enjoyed 69 Days Before Best By Date
Reading Material: The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Game Day

Hello, folks!  I don't know what it is about fall Sundays that gets me in a competitive mood (my guess is watching football may be a major contributing factor), but today is all about Game Day.  I love games.  I mean, who doesn't?  It's fun to sit down and match skills (or luck) with your friends and family.  Some of my fondest memories of childhood include playing board games with the folks and my kid brother. 

But are board games still relevent in the 21st century?  With everything digitized, pixelated, and virtual, how many people still take the time to set up a board with tokens, cards, and dice?  Me, for one.

Today, I want to run down a list of board games that I love to play and bring with them an overpowering sense of sweet nostalgia.  Incidentally, these games should always be played in as vintage a condition as possible to enhance said sweet nostalgia.  Here goes:

5. The Ungame (Talicor).  This isn't actually a game at all, in the traditional sense of the word.  Just look at the title.  Rather, it's a non-competitive way of bringing family and friends closer by fostering "listening skills as well as self-expression" (per the included directions).  As each player progresses through the game, they get to visit such sites as Fearful Forest, Worry Wharf, and Impatient Island, which prompt the questions each player is to answer.  I always thought of The Ungame as the ultimate game for sore losers.  Fun!

4. Clue (Parker Brothers).  Who among us hasn't studied his or her opponent across a Clue board, wondering just how much information the opponent knows about which of six suspects murdered poor Mr. Boddy in Tudor Mansion?  Was it Professor Plum in the Study with a Wrench?  Or perhaps Miss Scarlet used a Revolver in the Conservatory?  In any case, Clue gives each player the opportunity to play sleuth.  Few finer moments exist at a gaming table than making a correct accusation based upon the power of deduction. 

3. Scrabble (Hasbro). The ultimate word game.  Use letter tiles with various point values on a 15x15 grid.  Use all seven tiles at once to grab an extra 50 points.  I can attribute learning at least half my vocabulary by poring over a Scrabble board. 

2. Monopoly (Parker Brothers).  By definition, the dominance of a market by a single entity.  Not legal in the United States, but on a Monopoly board it is not only legal but a requirement of winning.  By rolling dice, move one of the classic game tokens around the board and buy up various properties in order to bankrupt your opponents.  What better game to play to prepare for the new impending recession

1. Stratego (Milton Bradley).  This game does for strategy what Scrabble does for words.  It teaches you.  Two opposing armies, one blue and one red, must move across a battlefield to capture the other's flag.  Be careful, though.  Spies and bombs lurk in unexpected places.  One wrong move and you could get knifed or blown to ribbons.  What's not to love? 

So, tell me -- are board games even worth the while anymore?  Has the world grown too fast-paced with FPS's and RPG's?  What are your favorite games, board or otherwise?  Let me know!