Sunday, 16 September 2018

Beer Review 61 // Resting Brew Face by Mikkeller

So my bad. Haven't reviewed a beer since July. Don't worry though as I have been drinking plenty. I could make lame promises of posting more but I feel that would be a lie. I need time to post as well as being in the right frame of mind. So until that becomes more readily available we will have to make do with random batch blogging.

Now back to the beer. I recently travelled to Albany NY state and came across Oliver's Beverage. Now this place is well worth a visit and had a crazy amount of beers on it shelves. After a good hour of walking and looking I settled on buying a load of Mikkeller and Evil Twin beers. So for a little while the beer reviews will be all about these breweries.

Details

Name: Resting Brew Face
Style: NEDIPA ( New England Double India Pale Ale).
Brewery: Mikkeller San Diego
Country: USA San Diego
ABV: 9%
Commercial Fluff: "RBF was created to be a reflection of the epitome of New England style IPA’s. Without the use of any bittering hops, the beer’s juicy hop aroma prominently features sweet, tropical melon characteristics that are supported well by a slightly robust body.  This particular batch finally reached it's proper gravity so expect the deliciousness of past batches but with an extra kick."


Own Opinion

Label: Henry and Sally have the perfect faces going on. It is a great label perfect for the beer name.
Pour: Thick, orange, full white head. Looks chewy.
Aroma: Tropical juice bomb, peach, pineapple, guava. So much fruit.
Taste: Sweet, orange peel, grapefruit, pineapple. Quite bitter finish.
Would I buy it again: Yes! This was a great beer, if I knew how good it was going to be I would have bought more than can. One to look out for.

Book Review 32 // Rebel Winter by Steve Parker

Well that didn't take long! In less than a week I completed book Seventeen of my Books of 2018 challenge. Now was it because it was a epic book or a short read? Guess we need to look at the stats first:

Book Stats

Title: Rebel Winter
Author: Steve Parker
Publisher: Black Library
Format: Paperback
Page Count:
Commercial Fluff: On the brutal battlefields of the 41st Millennium, the life of an Imperial Guardsman is harsh and short. On the snowy wastes of Danik's World, a regiment of Vostroyans is ordered to hold their ground to protect the retreat of other Imperial forces. When their own orders come to move back, they discover they have been stranded behind enemy lines. Cold, hungry and running out of supplies, trapped between rebel forces and hordes of orks, can the Guardsmen ever fight their way back to safety?

Review

This book I discovered in my Mum's house after a resent visit back home. I remember buying it way back in the day because I wanted a Vostroyan army for 40k. For those not familiar with 40k: Vostroyans are an Imperial Guard force from the setting of Warhammer 40k. They hail from a factory world (imagine no grass, just factory after factory) and they specialise in urban warfare and have a lot of similar qualities to Eastern Europe and Russian culture. Now lift all those qualities and throw them on a world suffering from a never ending winter, due to volcano eruptions. These guys are not in their comfort zone.

The story beings in a Courtroom with the main character on trial following his latest military campaign. Through this character's memories we are then transported back to the campaign to experience it first hand. We learn of how this once populous world suffered a natural disaster that plunged it into the never ending winter. We also find out that due to a lack of aid, there was a military coup that has lead to this war. Here enters the Vostroyans, believing themselves to be superior they land planetside to crush the coup. Only problem is the rebels retreat north forcing the Vostroyans to begin a war of occupation. Slowly as the war grinds on the Vostroyans spread further out securing abandoned towns and looking after refugees. It is at this point a new foe enters the war, mankind's oldest enemy Orks. Throughout the book it is hinted whether the Orks arrived by chance or did the rebels invite them? Either way it doesn't really matter as the story progresses the Orks become more of a background occupational hazard. The Vostroyans themselves are well rounded characters but with there being a whole company of them it is hard to truly care for them and you ultimately end up worrying about only three or four of them.

In a classic war/action adventure the Vostroyan Company is cut off and must fight it's way across an unforgiving landscape hounded by Orks and rebels. We meet characters and then watch them die, we experience heroic levels of bravery on one page then never hear of a character again. Overall a few negatives but I did enjoy this book, hence why I finished it so fast. Ultimately it felt like an intro novel and the ending left the tale unfinished. How does the war end? Why are the Orks there? Why is the ********* so creepy? What happened next to the survivors?

Unfortunately it seems like we never find out as eleven years have passed with no follow up.

This book is the perfect train read and I recommend to fans of 40k. Especially Vostroyan fans. Next on my reading list: The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett. 

Also if you use it I have started up on Good Reads so join me over there: Beers with Peps

As always thanks for reading this.


Saturday, 8 September 2018

Book Review 31 // Scourge the Heretic by Sandy Mitchell

Welcome to September! Now the summer holidays are over and the children are heading back to school. Soon leaves will change to Orange and my favourite season will be upon us Autumn. I was lucky enough to enjoy a quick weekend break recently, during this time I was able to finish book sixteen in my Books of 2018!

Unsurprisingly I am delving into the Grim Dark worlds of 40k. It's just a franchise I really enjoy, be it the sci-fi or just the wide scope for adventure it just works. So without further ado let us jump in:

Book Stats

Title: Scourge the Heretic

Author: Sandy Mitchell

Publisher: Black Library

Format: Paperback

Page Count: 416 pages

Commercial Fluff:

When an Ordo Hereticus warband is sent to investigate an inter-planetary people-trafficking operation, they soon find something much more sinister than people being smuggled…

Review

So let's begin with some basics. This tale is set-up in a sector of the galaxy known as Calixis. Those who are new to 40k may not know about it, but it is an area designed purely for the 40K roleplaying game Dark Heresy (a now defunked Fantasy Flight Game). The idea behind the game was to be a character who worked as a henchmen for a powerful inquisitor. Here enters this book.

The way the story is written and portrayed is almost like a game written up into fan fiction. The team (aka player characters) are sent in to investigate a smuggling ring and as they discover more, the more the story unfolds. What should be a straight go in and bust the bad guys suddenly becomes a full on detective series that could span the entire sector.

The cast of characters is the classic character archetypes: A Psychic (Wizard), An Arbite (Leader Warrior), Two Guardsmen (archer and Barbarian), Assassin (Rogue) and a Techpriest (Priest), led by an all powerful Inquisitor (NPC). As the story progresses we get weird love stories, backgrounds and and some pretty well thought out characters.

The planet the adventure is set on is the best part for me. I love the idea of deep mines that a mutant population work over, a population prone to psykers, a military prison under attack and rich nobles lording it over everyone in their noble household made of glass to make the most of the weak sunlight.

Throughout the book there are hints of bigger plots and sinister villains and we are left with a story designed to be spread over at least one or two more books. With a pretty open ending we are left wondering what will happen next, unfortunately the second book is extremely hard to find. Overall an okay read that can lead you to a lot of fun playing Dark Heresy and I hope to one day find the second book.

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

End of Summer

We just came back from our final Summer trip of 2018!

The Road to Burlington is stunning.
Over the Labor Day weekend we travelled from Ottawa to Albany to Boston to Burlington to Ottawa. It was a great way to end what has been a busy and hot summer!

After crossing the oh so friendly border into the USA we arrived at Albany NY. First time here and realistically the last. Very much a working town and though I'm sure there are nice parts we didn't really get to see that side. We arrived early evening visited a grocery store and then Oliver's Beer Store. This place was the highlight, just row upon row of beers. I found a huge stockpile of Evil Twin and could have blown the whole budget there.

Then we were onto to Boston to stay with family. I love Boston, the only thing I need to locate is a model nerd shop and then I would most likely never leave. We explored Trillium and Fort Point along with Jamaica Plains, then Saturday we chilled hard playing a couple of Board games. Sunday was all about the food with brunch in Jamaica Plains, then beers, pasta and snacks at the family home, along with a three hour epic game of Catan.

Monday (labor) day rolled round and we journeyed to Burlington. Once more a City I love to visit, great breweries and coffee shops. Here we visited a few beer stops and drank loads of coffee..Waking Tuesday marked the end of the adventure as we headed back to Ottawa.

But now the leaves are turning orange, the temperatures start to fall back to a liveable amount. Which means only one thing time to kick the hobby into action. Here are the plans for the cooler months:

1) Kill Team - I've got some built but now it's time to paint them. This project is mostly to distract me from Aeldari and paint something different, this may also involve a gaming board.
Cult of the Kraken arises. 
2) Aeldari - I want to get the Spirit Host finished and a full list written out and then get the Eldritch Raiders started (aiming 1000pts).
Classic tiger stripes heading this way.
3) Drukari - Wych Cult here we come! This is a bold new project starting with 1000pts and going up!
Technically Storm Guardians but you get the idea.

So what is everyone else's plans for the cooler months? Drop me a comment as I want to know.

Monday, 13 August 2018

Book Review 30 // The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett

Boom! With this title I am now on book fifteen for my Books of 2018. I know for some readers it's not much of a feat but for me it is amazing; not only am I reading more, I'm writing more too. I've noticed an all round improvement in my concentration and a growing keenness to grab a book. It's becoming hard to not pick up a new title with every visit to a thrift store.

Enough about me, time to write about book fifteen. With this I return to a high school favourite of mine. The Colour of Magic. Written by Sir Terry Pratchett in 1983 (the year of my birth). It soon became a favourite read of mine and the setting is not only imaginative but also pretty crazy. Here are the stats.

Book Stats

Title: The Colour of Magic (Discworld #1)

Author: Sir Terry Pratchett

Publisher: Corgi

Format: Paperback

Page Count: 228

Commercial Fluff: The Colour of Magic is Terry Pratchett's maiden voyage through the now-legendary land of Discworld. This is where it all begins -- with the tourist Twoflower and his wizard guide, Rincewind.

On a world supported on the back of a giant turtle (sex unknown), a gleeful, explosive, wickedly eccentric expedition sets out. There's an avaricious but inept wizard, a naive tourist whose luggage moves on hundreds of dear little legs, dragons who only exist if you believe in them, and of course THE EDGE of the planet

Review

Now this is a book I haven't read since I was youngster. Though I loved the series I stopped reading them in my twenties for reasons unknown and I was excited to open up this thrift store copy. Straight away I am reminded why I enjoyed it so much, the book is just crammed full of all things, fantasy and sci-fi. Throughout the tale we are treated to wizards, assassins, pirates and dragonriders! The theme it would seem for this book is mainly Tourism and the destructive influence it can have on others. It is about showcasing the discworld as much as possible.

The book itself is in fact split into four parts. The first is set in Ankh-Morpork (this worlds version of London with a hint of Rome). Here we meet Twoflower's a wealthy but bored foreigner seeking adventure in the city. For all his well-meaning behaviour he can't help but find himself in constant trouble, especially if it means the locals separating him from his gold. Luckily for Twoflower he soon makes a friend by the name of Rincewind, an Unseen University drop out aka failed wizard. Rincewind reluctantly becomes Twoflowers' travel companion and guide. It's from this setup that we get the other stories as it follows the pair from the centre of the disc all the way to the edge!

What makes this book a good read is Pratchett's humor. Yes some of it is in the style of a cheesy british sitcom, but every few pages I guarantee you will at least smile. Pratchett's writing imagination is second to none, with him taking the standard fantasy themes and making them purely his own. In this book alone we deal with a thieves guild, translucent dragons created by thought, alien space trolls made purely of water, luggage with a hundred feet that never says a word but has some of the best scenes in the book. You are left amused, confused and dazed as the tale continues but at no point do you wish to stop. It's very addicting to read Pratchett and I fear I have become a addit.

I completely loved the book. It's reignited by passion for adventure on the discworld and so now I am searching for the next tale. So expect more reviews soon. Thanks as always for reading.


Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Beer Review 60 // Abattoir by Bloods Brother

I'm back with a beer review! This time traveling to Toronto, I was gifted a few bottles and a funky glass so just had to dive in!

Details

Name: Abattoir
Style: Saison/Farmhouse Ale
Brewery: Blood Brothers
Country: Canada, Ontario.
ABV: 8.5%
Commercial Fluff:
A mixed fermentation farmhouse-style ale, a portion of which was aged in Chardonnay barrels. Dry hopped with El Dorado, Wai-ti, Waimea, and Mandarina Bavaria hops, this strong ale features aggressive Brettanomyces funkiness and mild oak.

Own Opinion

Label: Creepy Pig head straight out of a horror film!
Pour: Murky but bright yellow pour with a thick white head. Looks delicious.
Aroma: Has a sweetness to it with the classic barnyard funk smell we all expect. There is also a spicy note along with green apple.
Taste: Surprisingly enjoyable. I'm not a big saison fan but this one has a sour note to it, which greatly helps out. Overall grassy hay, fresh, a little citrus and a finish of brett. Very dry and crisp finishing and was pretty easy to finish.
Would I buy it again? Yes. Super refreshing, moreish and just a damn tasty beer! Can't wait to try more.

What are your thoughts? Let me know either on here, facebook or google+ (yes I still use that). As always thanks for reading.

Monday, 23 July 2018

Book Review 29 // Annihilation Squad by Gav Thorpe

Welcome back to my nerdy corner of the Internet. Guess what I've finished another book! This book signals number 14 in my Books of 2018, leaving me with four books to complete before year end. It was also the perfect time to finish the Last Chancers omnibus, with GW releasing Kill team this weekend. If you didn't know this title is the third in the series, following on from 13th Legion, and Kill Team (follow the links to read the reviews) and follows Lieutenant Kage and his role within the Last Chancers. A group of military criminals, given the choice "die for the Emperor or die a traitor".

Book Stats

Title: Annihilation Squad

Author: Gav Thorpe

Publisher: Black Library

Format: Paperback

Page Count: 256 pages

Commercial Fluff:
Lieutenant Kage, convict of the 13th Penal Legion and probably its longest surviving recruit, has once more come to the attention of his ruthless old commanding officer, the Colonel. Joined with a brand new team of Last Chancers, Kage is sent on a suicide mission to the war-torn planet of Armageddon to hunt down and assassinate one of the most dangerous traitors to the Imperium - former planetary overlord Herman von Strab. However, the Third Armageddon War is still raging fiercely and the Last Chancers will have to fight through orks, rebels and even the planet itself if they are to succeed in their mission.

Review

As already mentioned this is the third and final book in Gav Thorpe's Last Chancers series and showcases the 13th Penal legion.

Once more the story is told and seen through the eyes of Lieutenant Kage. Kage is a convicted murder, who has somehow managed to survive two suicide missions with the Last Chancers. But it seems he is finally becoming unhinged.

The book follows the same path as the other two books. Colonel Schaeffer has a top secret mission for the Last Chancers, and it's one that they aren't supposed to come back from. We get to see them train, end up somewhere they shouldn't be and then complete the final mission with some personal lost.

Plus side of this tale is the setting. This time we get to travel the ground of Armageddon and visit the jungles and industrial hell holes of this amazing war world.

Like the last two books it does have it weak points. Firstly the cast, once more I found myself not caring for the other Chancers. They are purely filler and are almost forgotten by the end of the book. They seem to be there purely so Kage can comment about them, making this a real missed opportunity to expand the lore. It's a pretty dark tale which is saying something from the grim dark future of 40k, but the ending seem rushed and not fully filled out.

Overall the series was a good solid read and I do recommend it. It is always fun seeing the Astra Militarum overcoming insurmountable odds and this last book delivers. Four out of Five for this easy read.

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Book Review 28 // Kill Team Gav Thorpe

Hot on the heels of the 13th Legion review comes the sequel Kill Team. I was surprised by how quick I was able to read this, not sure if it was a sign of an enjoyable book or if my reading is actually starting to improve. What it does signal is the completion of book thirteen of my Books of 2018 series. So with five months left of 2018 I need to complete five more books. I feel energised and ready to do this.

With the Sunday morning motivation completed let's get into the review.

Book Stats

Title: Kill Team
Author: Gav Thorpe
Publisher: Black Library.
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 256 pages
Commercial Fluff:

"In the second volume of Thorpe's Last Chancers series, Lieutenant Kage, a convict soldier of the 13th Penal Legion, languishes in an Imperial detention center when his old commanding officer returns with a deadly assignment. Kage must whip into shape a new team of the very worst the Imperial Guard has to offer before leading them on a mission to assassinate a warmongering enemy general."

Review

As I read the Last Chancer series back to back the first thing I notice is the shift in storytelling. In the first book we have short style missions, characters that we grow to like and then a epic final showdown. In this one we get one big prison break, some training montage and then a final showdown. I found myself rooting for Kage and even feeling a bit sorry for him, dumped by the colonel and left to rot in a prison. Kage becomes a desperate and broken man. This all changes when the Colonel returns to his life and puts him in charge of a ragtag team of misfits. Here enters a cast of characters that to be honest weren't worth learning the names of.

Highlights of this book for me in no particular order are (watch for spoilers):

  • Kage, broken beyond repair, no chance of redemption in the Emperor's/Colonel's eyes and now possibly psychic?
  • The Tau Empire from an Imperial view point. It was great to see inside their crafts and ride along in the cities. Doesn't seem this Greater Good is all that Good (see what I did there!)
  • The Alien bar, feel like Gav was watching some Star Wars whilst writing this. Loved all the different aliens described in this scene. I just wish GW would explore these options more often.
  • The death of Brains- as the saying goes curiosity kills the cat..
  • The Inquisitor, what is he up to? Did he manage to save some characters from book one? Will we find out?
  • Commander Brightsword - nice tie in to the Farsight release that was happening at the time. Though he died to easy it was nice to a villian taken down. Time for the Tau to get cloning again.

Sure it wasn't a perfect book, with some sections feeling more like an 80's action movie and what should have been a scary villain being defeated with ease. But I really enjoyed it. One of the quickest books I've read and it's filled me with excitement for Annihilation Squad and the chance to visit one of the most iconic Worlds in 40k - Armageddon! Bring on the Orks Waaaaaaaaaaaaaagh!

Monday, 9 July 2018

Beer Review 59 // (Extra) Terrestrial Imperial Brown Ale

Attempting to get better at posting beer reviews and more content in general. With that in mind here is this week's entry for the blog. Keeping things Canada this week with an offering from Wellington Brewery discovered in the local LCBO. Let us dive in:

Details

Name: (Extra) Terrestrial Imperial Brown Ale.
Style: Imperial Brown Ale
Brewery: Wellington Brewery
Country: Guelph, Ontario, Canada
ABV: 8.2%
Commercial Fluff:
From the depths of outer space, comes an (Extra) Terrestrial, a heavily fortified imperial brown ale with a maximum payload of american hops. We’ve taken our award-winning recipe for Terrestrial India Brown Ale and made it double, using twice as much roasted malts and more than enough bitterness to satisfy the most discerning hop-heads. This imperial brown ale clocks in at over 90 IBU, dry hopped to create an intense flavour supernova of citrus and lemon. You can’t escape this black hole of hops!

Own Opinion

Pour: The pour is super dark, you would think it black. After further inspection it is a very dark brown. The head is pretty small producing tight bubbles of a light tan colour, it ultimately dissipates quickly.
Aroma: Lots of caramel, herby, earthy notes and a good helping of chocolate.
Taste: Not as sweet as I had expected. Throughout there are flavours of caramel, dark fruits like raisins, dark chocolate and earthy notes. The earthiness really help balance out the sweeter notes.
Would I buy it again? No. Ultimately there is nothing wrong with this beer, I'm in fact very glad I tried it. There is just no real draw for me. I think I prefer my brown ales in the lower abv's so that I can enjoy a few. The flavour though interesting wouldn't have me reaching for another bottle.

What are your thoughts? Let me know either on here, facebook or google+ (yes I still use that). As always thanks for reading.

Monday, 2 July 2018

Beer Review 58 // Nickel Brook Cuvee (2016)

Wow I've not done a beer post in so long! Let's jump straight back onto the horse on review a big hitter today. This bottle was long forgotten in dusty basement and was a joy to find on a resent clean up. Here are the details:

Details

Name: Nickel Brook Cuvee (2016)
Style: American Strong Ale / Barrel Aged
Brewery: Nickel Brook
Country: Canada (Ontario)
ABV: 10%
Commercial Fluff: Aged in Bourbon Barrels. Our '16 Cuvée is a complex mixture of sweet malts, fruits, herbs and spices. We then blend this beer with ale aged in bourbon barrels for a year. To take our '16 Cuvée to another level of complexity we added a mix of bacteria for tartness and brettanomyces for a bit of funk to the barrels.

Own Opinion

Pour: From bottle.
Sight: As seen in picture it pours a reddish colour, with a very thin white head.
Aroma: Straight away sweet fruity aromas, backed up by caramel and finished by the bourbon.
Taste: Tastes like a boozy xmas fruit cake. The type your Grandma bakes, sweet fruits, scotch flavours and bourbon, plenty of bourbon.
Would I buy it again? Most likely not. It was an enjoyable beer but now I've had it, I doubt I need to again. Now on the search for the 2017 version.

Got an opinion? Would love to hear it!

Beer Review 61 // Resting Brew Face by Mikkeller

So my bad. Haven't reviewed a beer since July. Don't worry though as I have been drinking plenty. I could make lame promises of pos...