All posts by Terry Jones

Jonesy’s Journal: Arkham Knight

Good evening, America. Gather around whilst I tell you a tale. A tale of a young man, and a dark knight. A tale of high’s and low’s, ups and downs, rights and…ok, I’ll just get on with it.

Let’s go back in time a bit, to when Batman: Arkham Knight was first announced. I can’t tell you when that was off-hand, but I do recall trailers and information for it near the beginning of last year. I remember this because a good friend of mine was still currently serving with me in the Marines, and he brought to my attention something that seemed pretty noteworthy: “Bro, it’s going to have the Batmobile.”

I was instantly hit with a feeling of…apathy, mixed with slight disappointment.

“But Jonesy!”, you scream at me, flailing your arms like a madman, “the Batmobile is totally radalicious and groovy funkadelic! (Is that what the kids are saying these days?) Why on earth would you have issues with the Batmobile?!” The answer to that is simple. When you are younger, and still delving into the idea of video games and creating experiences and memories, you are able to see the full potential of things such as the Batmobile. You let your imagination soar to new heights, wondering what could possibly unfold before you on your journey as the Caped Crusader. As a slightly more experienced player, however, the only things I could imagine was the joy of “Pursuit Missions” and “Escape Missions” and the such that is involved with automobile’s and video games. Though many people may be fond of these types of missions (hence the vast success of car games like Need for Speed and GTA), I am not too keen on them. Something about a lack of hand-eye coordination and skill at gaming. Who knows.

I would like to fast-forward to now. I have currently beaten the main storyline to Arkham Knight, and though I am glad that I took the time to play this game, I was left with a feeling of general lack of enthusiasm afterwards. Don’t get me wrong, the game was very well designed and had some great qualities to it. I am just still currently trying to decide if it was worth it. I will now do the world a favor and voice my disappointments on the Internet (I know, it’s a new concept).

(WARNING: THERE BE SPOILERS AHEAD!)

To me, the greatest disappointments came in a few different forms. Of these upsets was the notable inclusion of the Joker in the game, despite the fact that the entire first few minutes of the game are him being incinerated. Now, I completely understand the fact that he was all part of Batman’s fear-induced trip (Bats was gassed by scarecrow’s toxin), and truthfully my encounters with the Clown Prince of Crime were some of the most enjoyable of the game. The writing for him was superb. I just…wish that we could have a game focusing on the other villains. In the end, I was glad he was added as a character, but my initial (and still somewhat lingering) feeling was that it would have been interesting to see a world for the Detective without his nemesis.

My other regret of the game was that I allowed myself to figure out the big plot twist of the game. The main bad guy, the Arkham Knight, is supposed to be this intense enemy of Batman due to his incredible anonymity and deep knowledge of Batman’s skills and playbook (none of which seem to matter, as you tend to trounce his armies pretty easily). SPOILERS! When the game was close to coming out I looked at one of my co-workers, as we finished reading an article during our union break, and half-joked that the Arkham Knight was most likely a prior Robin. As I went through the game and had my interactions with the Knight, I realized more and more that this had to be the case. I continued to play the game, knowing that it wasn’t Tim Drake (the current Robin) or Dick Grayson (currently Nightwing) underneath that mask. As the game series had never mentioned the existence of Damian Wayne, there seemed to be only one likely suspect: I figured it out for certain about three missions prior to the big reveal, and the scene in the game where joker is internally taunting you about Jason’s death nailed the door shut. When the big reveal came and the mask came off, I was left feeling emotionless and, frankly, not very interested. I was more emotionally stimulated by the side missions than I was with the super-duper plot twist. I enjoy being surprised by these things, and generally they get me pretty good, yet I saw this twist a mile away. To top it all off, you have a big fight, you punch the dude in the face a bunch, you let him go, and then…he comes and helps you? Batman seems to be in on the joke, but I was not amused.

Of course, there was also the aforementioned Batmobile. It was surprisingly really easy to handle and use, and was pretty fun from time to time. Unsurprisingly, it was used excessively throughout the game. I found myself taking the long way to get from place to place with gliding. This was all to be expected, though, so I won’t go into it too much.

This isn’t to say that it was a horrible game. There were some really great elements to it. The combat system felt incredibly clean, and the more complex combo’s felt accessible to a not-so-great gamer like me. The ability to tag team with NPC teammates like Nightwing or Catwoman was incredibly fun, and there were some great emotional set pieces throughout the game (the kidnap and “murder” of Barbara Gordon, the entire portion in the blimps, the reveal of Scarecrow and the twists and turns that came with it). And as mentioned before, I was eventually glad that the Joker was included so heavily in the game, despite his obvious demise. At the end of the day, however, I was not entirely sold on the idea that this game was better than its predecessor, Arkham City. Maybe the bar was set too high. Perhaps I was wearing my judgment hat more often than my fun hat. Overall, this game just didn’t live up to what I knew an Arkham game was capable of. Maybe next time, Rocksteady.

E3 2015: In Case You Missed It

Ahhh, E3. It’s a magical time for gamers, when we get to see what entertainment lies for us on the horizon. I must admit, however, that I felt a twinge of hesitancy. After all, A lot of the big games had already been teased last year. I was worried that it would be the same big tease. Yet, there remained within a feeling of hope. Hope for surprises, but mainly hope for more in depth information on the projects I have been looking forward to. I was not let down. Thus far into the convention everyone has brought their A-games (AAA-games?), and the tech demos have been pretty rad. So, here are the opinions of the Jonesy warlock on all the stuff that has happened thus far:

Bethesda

Bethesda had a killer E3 showing. I personally loved the Skyrim music at the beginning of the press conference. Here is what Bethesda presented at this year’s E3:

Fallout 4- The trailer looks gorgeous, and the real Pip-boy has already sold out on websites like amazon. For me, this game is my most anticipated of the games I am currently looking forward to, and so far I have extremely high hopes for what these people will do with the next Fallout. Boston has a lot of history to play with, so that will be fun to see what they do with it. The gameplay looks incredibly fun, and the crazy amount of customization you can do looks intense. I will be spending a lot of time in post-apocalyptic Boston.

Doom- Doom had a great response as well. Although I’ve never been drawn to the series, I was impressed with what Doom 4 had to offer to the shooter genre. The gameplay is stunningly beautiful, yet the truly impressive part is how the dev team managed to create a new yet simultaneously nostalgic feel to the game. This one doesn’t look like it will let down the fans of the Doom series. I could see myself playing this one.

Dishonored 2- I’m not going to go too much into this, since I haven’t been too drawn to the Dishonored games and wasn’t crazy impressed with the trailer. Perhaps fans of the game will enjoy it, but it looks a little strange to me. Like, why does that robot have such a strange face? It kinda creeps me out.

Ubisoft

I will be giving all my money to Ubisoft. They might as well just take my debit card and do with it as they please. Here are the games that Ubisoft presented, in no particular order:

South Park: The Fractured But Whole- Nope. Nope nope nope.

For Honor: This is an interesting concept, a Medieval setting for a multiplayer. You pick between three different groups: Vikings, Knights, and Samurai. It could be cool, but I think I might pass on this one. Unless Jonnydem talks me into it.

The Crew: Wild Run: A sequel to their cross country car game, the trailer for this made it seem pretty fun. I have a pretty deep love-hate relationship with racing games (They are so much fun, yet I’m so terrible at them). I might consider it when more in depth gameplay comes out for it, but for now it’s definitely near the bottom of my list of games to play.

Trials fusion: awesome level max- Ummmm…

The Division: I have been looking forward to some real gameplay for this game for some time now. Although the cheesy dialogue nearly ruins the gameplay (“let’s do some teamwork”?), I ignore it and focus instead on how awesome this game looks. It’s beautiful, and looks like a lot of fun. The fact that your people can betray you looks intense. I hope that the execution of it is as great as the build up.

Anno 2205: This interesting game for PC is a strategy farming game of sorts, where the end goal is to get to…the Moon? Some people might get a kick out of it.

Just Dance 2016: Not much to say about this, as its just another installment of the known series. I’m sure it will be fun for those who like to bust a move.

Rainbow Six Siege: I’m definitely more excited about this game than I was. It looks like a lot of fun, and the Terrohunt gameplay looks cool.

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate: I’m a HUGE fan of the Assassin’s creed series, but Unity left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth. Fortunately, this game has renewed my love for the franchise, and I look forward to playing this game when it comes out.

Ghost Recon: Wildlands: HOLY CRAP. This game better happen. I would love to see some in game Co-op on this. Fortunately, Jonnydem loves the GR series as well so I anticipate several hours of killing bad guys and arguing about which approach is better.

 

Microsoft

Microsoft had a great showing at this E3. There was a lot of bombshells, and we finally got to see more about Halo 5 than the infamous poncho. Here was the showing for Microsoft and the XBOX 1:

Halo 5: Guardians: I’ll play this game simply because it has Nathan Fillion. In all seriousness, this game looks as beautiful as ever. I’m sure the storyline will be fun, and the multiplayer Warzone looks pretty chaotic and fun. It’ll be a great experience for the new system.

Recore: This game looks…interesting. I’m on the fence about it, and will give it more thought when I see actual gameplay.

Fallout 4- They talked briefly about this game, but the coolest thing they talked about was how people can transfer mods from the PC to the XBox for free. We’ll see how that goes.

Plants vs. Zombies 2: Garden Warfare 2: I’m sure fans of the series will enjoy it, I will take a pass.

Forza Motorsports 6: I really need to get back into racing games. The Forza series has been a big name in racing games for years and this one looks beyond gorgeous.

The Division/Rainbow 6: They covered the same basics that was covered in the Ubisoft conference, only this time they announced that Rainbow 6 Vegas & Vegas 2 would come free with Siege, so that is cool.

Gigantic: Another game in the MOAB gamestyle. This and the strange artistic style made me want to take a hard pass.

ID@XBOX: A program giving indie game developers a platform to showcase their games. Some look great, some look rough, but the concept of giving these games a chance is pretty amazing. It was pretty awesome that they covered DayZ, hopefully that will transfer well to XBox.

Rise of the Tomb Raider: This game looks really fun. I haven’t played the series since the old days of the Playstation, and I didn’t play the newest one. Maybe I’ll look up reviews for the last one. The over the top action looks fun. I will have to look more into it.

Rare Replay: Remastered older games like Conkers bad fur day and banjo-kazooie? Sounds pretty awesome to me.

Gears of War: First, they announced a fully remastered Gears of War, which sounds fun. Then they announced Gears of War 4. I can’t say I’m the biggest fan of the Gears games, though they are pretty cool. I’m curious as to what the story will be.

Of course, Microsoft is not just known for games. They had some interesting tech announcements as well:

Backwards compatibility: The crowds lost their minds, and with good reason. This is pretty cool, especially for those who are still catching up on past games (like myself).

XBox 1 elite controller: This thing looks pretty savvy. The hair pin trigger and ability to swap buttons is awesome, but I’m sold on the audio port. Playing with headphones is my thing.

Holo-Lens: The demo for this was incredible, as they demo’ed it with Minecraft. The technology potential is wild. Obviously, it will be awhile before this technology is truly ready for standard gaming, but it will be great when that day is here.

EA

EA started off with a bang, teasing Mass Effect Andromeda. Too bad it won’t be ready until Holiday 2016. Until then, we have plenty of great games to keep us busy. Here are the highlights from EA:

Need for Speed: This game is up there on the list of racing games with Forza, and one of the games that I’d love to get back into. This one is as good as any to get back into.

Star Wars: The Old Republic: The new expansion, Knights of the Fallen Empire, promises a storyline where your choices matter and determine your story. How they’ll pull that off in an MMORPG, I’m not quite sure. We shall see.

Unravel: A new IP that falls in with the Indie crowd, This Puzzle adventure holds a lot of promise. The preview looked hilarious, especially the part with the squirrel. Go watch the trailer, its fun.

Plants vs. Zombies: I’m glad I can fast-forward the internet.

Sports games: If you’ve been living in a hole for the past 20 years, EA puts out sports games every year. This year is no different.

Mirror’s Edge: This was high on my list of most anticipated games of E3, and it did not disappoint. The game looks gorgeous, and it looks like it will play as well as the last, if not better. This game will be incredible, even though it is unfortunately a prequel.

Star Wars Battlefront: I was on the fence about this game prior to E3, after hearing about how much stuff wasn’t going to be in the game. I wondered if this game would deliver anything other than a re-skinned Battlefield. The gameplay looked incredible, though I’m still under the impression that it’s definitely going to be one-sided for the empire. We’ll see. I’m looking forward to logging in some game time.

Sony

Sony had a great press conference that revealed a lot of amazing showcases. Though Playstation isn’t quite my cup of tea, I could still get into many of the reveals. Ere are the following Sony topics:

The Last Guardian: It looks like an interesting concept, and most of the art is impressive, but I think the anime-esque rendering of the kid is too strange for me. The design of the DogBird is pretty awesome, though. This one is definitely not my style, but it has potential.

Horizon: Zero Dawn: This incredible concept looks unique and wild. It is an interesting play on the man and machine balance story, and it involves hunting robot animals for…fuel cells? It could be legit.

Hitman: All we got was a trailer, which is pretty cool but doesn’t really show what to expect from the gameplay or story aside from agent 47 being back in business.

Street Fighter 5: Fighting games are my least favorite of the genres. Aside from a select few games, I just can’t get into them. Combine that with the fact that all they showed was a fast paced clip, I found I could not care less.

No Man’s Sky: FINALLY! I’ve been looking forward to some real gameplay for a long time, and it looks AWESOME. I don’t know how They are going to pull off this insane level of detail and depth. This game has skyrocketed on my list of anticipated games for the year to come. Now to get a playstation…

Dream Molecule: I think I just did a ton of peyote…

Firewatch: An interesting suspense story where the hero is a regular joe, doing a job. I see a lot of potential in it, hopefully it isn’t too much of a guided story.

Destiny: The Taken King: It could be a cool game, but I doubt it will get me into Destiny.

World of Final Fantasy: This is a strange thing, it’s a final fantasy story where everyone is tiny and…has big heads? Strange.

Final Fantasy 7: It’s getting a re-master, which is actually pretty crazy cool. We only got a trailer, no gameplay, but I’m sure Final Fantasy fans are going nuts.

Shenmue 3: I have never played the Shenmue games before, so I have no idea what this is about. Pimping out Kickstarter is always fun, though.

Arkham Knight: It looks like Playstation gamers get some exclusive content. Lucky jerks.

Call of Duty Black Ops 3: The game looks cool, but then again, they always do. I’m sure it’ll be successful, and it takes some interesting cues from Titanfall. It does look pretty fun. I’m guessing its exclusive to Playstation now? That seems strange.

Disney Infinity 3.0: Now involving Star Wars stuff.

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End: I guess it should be called The search for the working playstation. The demo seemed to freeze at the beginning. That must have been embarrassing. Or perhaps it should be titled Uncharted 4: Bulletproof Shirt. I know most games require you to suspend belief and accept that your character has Wolverine’s healing powers, but that shootout was rough. It does look like a really fun game though.

 

And that is that, Jonesy’s opinions on the major E3 press conferences. There is still so much content to discuss and voice my opinions about, but for now I’ll just say good night everybody!

Beer Review

SXNW, brewed by the Widmer Brother’s Brewing Company, is a truly artisanal beer. The name stands for South by North West, an apt name for a beer brewed with combined elements of the New Mexico landscape and the great Pacific Northwest brewing traditions. Brewed with chilies, chocolate, cinnamon, and toasted pecans, SXNW carries many intriguingly different elements that most beers don’t have. The aroma captures a balanced essence of the sweetness of the chocolate, the nuttiness of the pecans, the subtle yet present cinnamon, and the wild addition of the chili peppers. An off-white, creamy head and luscious dark color draw you in for the taste.

What is there to say about the taste? It has a full bodied malt flavor that provides a basis for the explosion of flavor that follows. Every sip provides a new experience with this dark ale. With one sip you are enjoying the subtle spicy kick of the chilies blended with the also subtle spice of the cinnamon, the next sip you catch the sweetness of the cinnamon and chocolate. It even captures the unique texture and residue that pecans leave in your mouth, reminding you of their presence in this incredible beer. At the very end, when these flavors have challenged your taste buds, a delicate hoppiness rests on the back of the tongue.

This beer is part of the Brothers Reserve series, and is therefore a limited release. The Widmer brothers outdid themselves with this incredibly intricate and complex beer, and is a must try for anyone who is a fan of craft beer. I give it a 10 out of 10.

 

Author: Terry Jones

Mario and Luigi: Dream Team

Mario is no stranger to RPG’s since his original Square Enix jaunt, aptly named Super Mario RPG. Since then, he’s starred in dozens of titles from the two franchises Paper Mario and Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga. The latter being my main focus for this review.
The Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga captured the absolute zaniness of Mario RPG as well as its more traditional role playing elements. Surprisingly, it cut the cast of the usual RPG down to a party of two and focused more on teamwork as well as harrowing two target control puzzles. The blend was amazing and even to this day holds up as one of the greatest RPGs of all time. Then Nintendo decided it was time that the 3DS had a dream…team.
Enter the latest iteration of the series, Mario & Luigi: Dream Team. The first RPG outing for the two on the big N’s latest and extremely popular handheld. To be honest, the premise scared me quite a bit before I picked it up and started playing. After Iwata-san dubbed this the year of Luigi and showed off a game about him sleeping…my eyes rolled at what I believed would be a new addition to Nintendo’s house of failed gimmicks. But boy was I wrong.

Mario2
Story:

The story is very plot driven. Mario and Luigi are brought to a place called P’illo Island to vacation with Peach and her posse of Toads. Everything begins kosher as they enjoy a whimsical tour through the amazing amount of puns they can create with pillows and ends with Luigi finding a magic artifact. In his infinite wisdom, the green plumber decides to fall asleep on the artifact and suddenly a portal opens above his head. Long story short, the Princess ends up being kidnapped. Surprise! Anyways, from there the story continues to take quite a change in pace. With great twists and intriguing lore that I had not witnessed in a Mario RPG to date. Of course, the art style made it that much easier to get enveloped into the story.

Mario3
Art Direction:

I’ve decided to no longer focus on the graphics of games as they are not necessarily a feature anymore. Graphics are kind of the icing on the cake. If the gameplay and story are solid, the graphics can be crap as long as they don’t break the game in some way…like blue screening you because they failed to load. Anyways.

The art style in Mario & Luigi is exactly like the title: dreamy. From the little fluffy pillow guys to the weird bosses, it all has such a level of attention that most studios can only dream of. What really stood out to me the most are the way the character models are drawn. I was expecting a more hardcore cell-shaded look but it looked a lot like a cross between water color and a pop-up book, especially when the 3D is turned on. The appearance of a certain scaly, spiky bad guy was particularly exciting as, despite his design not changing, the level of detail to him was astounding, especially with the limited power of the 3DS. All in all, I’d say this art style pushes this RPG to great heights and may even be the best part of the game.

mario4

Gameplay:

In every RPG, gameplay equates immediately to the Battle System. However, this is a Mario RPG so I also have to mention the platforming. The platforming is wonky at times. There. Moving on!

The battle system employed is very similar to the old turn based games of yore with the Mario action buttons added in. You can hit A or B (Corresponding to Mario or Luigi) with the right timing to evade attacks or counter attack when on the defensive. You can also hit these buttons to add some extra damage while on the offensive ending in amazing results. In addition to jumping and using a hammer to smash your foes, you can also use powerful bro attacks which take advantage of the 3D plane and create a massive damage dealing mini game.

Surprisingly, when you enter the dream world, Luigi (named Dreamy Luigi in the dream world) inhabits Mario’s body making him a one man wrecking crew. The battles in the dream realm differ quite a bit as you’ll often be one Mario vs. 10 – 15 enemies per encounter. Your power makes these matches even but one wrong mistake and you immediately are taken out. Worth mentioning is that your dodge/counter becomes a more active affair as you can move with the stick in some situations to better position your defense.

All in all, the gameplay is solid and is very rewarding with the additions of achievements for battle prowess, as well as a very traditional level up system that lets you pump the bros up to the highest of heights. All of this and a very decent difficulty scale make for quite a great foray into the world.

Mario5

Overall:

So, I loved the story. I loved the art. I loved the gameplay. But why do I feel a bit of emptiness inside when I reach the conclusion of this review? It’s simple. Potential. Nintendo has always wowed the world with their incredible innovation and genre bending elements. However, this game could hardly be called anything more than another Mario and Luigi RPG. It’s not a bad thing but when rating Nintendo games, you must weigh them against their predecessors. Games like Legend of Zelda are always 10/10 on almost every gaming site because they are made to perfection. This game as well is damn near perfect as a Mario and RPG but, compared to the magic I felt the first time I played the series, it seems to have lost its luster along the way.

I still played the hell out of it. It was like a dream within a dream within a doughnut within a cake within a turkey within a chicken. But after the whole experience, I was left with a bland aftertaste. Hopefully the next entry will re-spark my fire.

Gamer VS. Addiction

My last article discussed the relaunch of FFXIV and its many merits. Since then, the game has faced a myriad of issues. Countless progress halting errors, log in restrictions and server crashes have littered the first 2 weeks of this new game. In fact, the servers are currently so packed that Square Enix will be expanding the data centers so the people who bought it can actually play the damn thing.

Since its launch, I have dived into Eorzea just a few times. However, during these days, I found myself sitting there for 15 hours at a time, grinding away. Looking out the window, I would grow befuddled at the sight of the moon as I could have sworn I just got up an hour ago. When the log-in problems began, button mashing for over 2 hours to gain entry was the only way I could cope. Even if it was just for a half hour. I needed it….actually I still need it. Needless to say, I’m addicted….or am I?

Addiction is classically defined as the continued use of a psychoactive drug, or the repetition of a behavior despite adverse consequences. I have an issue with this definition as I don’t see my current addiction as having any adverse effects. I mean, women love the dark bags under eyes look right? Oh, and I guess I didn’t really eat much until the end of those 15 hour sessions either. That’s dieting though…it’s good for you!

Anyway, how do you really decide that someone is addicted? Based on this definition, repeating behavior that only has positive effects is not considered an addiction. So running every morning isn’t an addiction? I’ve heard some people tell me that they HAVE to run every morning or they don’t feel right. And I’ve seen it too! They turn into grumpy ugly trolls with pink hair. Pretty gross. Another example of an odd bending of this definition is simply people working. I work 40 or more hours a week and also write for Warlocks on the side., Now, since I wake up early and don’t get much sleep mean I’m addicted to working? I wouldn’t say so but there are negative effects from working too much. Lots of them in fact. But the benefits are so high that most people would never say, “This is an intervention, bro. You’re addicted to work and it has GOT to stop.”

From my point of view, an addiction can be a good thing. In fact, when you have this type of addiction. I would call it passion. The runner isn’t addicted…he’s passionate. I’m not addicted to work, I’m passionate about it. I really am! Really…. *cough*

That aside, where is that line drawn? Sitting in front of a tv smiling like a madman for 15 hours while meteors, chimera and black mages fly around the screen could very well be an addiction. But this is just one day out of a seven day week. The other days, there’s work, school and whatever else is needed to be done. The passion built up for video-games drives that person to play for long hours in their free time. On the other hand, there are some gamers that do this every day of the year with no break in the middle. Can we define them as addicted? Perhaps they are simply trying to be the best at the game. In a way, this is a great positive for that person. Would it then be considered passion?

When it comes down to it, it’s all decided by whoever is viewing the habit. For instance, your raid group in WoW would probably love you and think you were dedicated if you decided to skip an important event to make a raid. But your girlfriend of 5 years, whose anniversary you just missed for some Tier 3 loot, will immediately start branding you with a big red A. But don’t worry, she’ll forgive you when you show her that cute unicorn mount you got in addition.

Soooo back to the main question. Am I addicted to FFXIV or simply passionate? Will I continue to spiral downward into the realm of Eorzea unable to see the crystal’s light? What fate lies for me at the end of this perilous road of 15+ hour play sessions? Who cares! FFXIV lets you fight an enormous cannon wielding tortoise with a chocobo wearing white mage armor! Come on, who wouldn’t get addicted to that!

 

Author: Andron “I’m not a robot” Hill

Illustrator: Michael “He-man” Heller

Beer Review: Rogue Juniper Pale Ale

Being a highly suggestible person (at least when it comes to food and drink recommendations) and piqued by unorthodox flavors I tend to gravitate towards the more exotic and eccentric flavor pairings. I’ve not ever had a juniper berry and it just so happened to be that I’ve not ever had a beer by the fine brewers at Rogue, either. This is a great place to start. The more interesting aspect lies in the fact that it’s a brew not with a flavor of a certain berry (which has been done several times over), but a cone. Yes, like a pinecone. Its scales, however, are malleable and merged giving it its berry appearance. Fascinating. Onto the pour.

As soon as I let off the last few drops the head sponged up a nice fluffy egg-shell white that sat atop a glowing outer rim of an almost opaque golden hue that deepened in the center, a lovely drink. On the nose the notes were light but distinct, and few (A snifter is ideal for this nosing). The floral, and the sweet, the hops were dominant here and amid all, a very distinct smell I couldn’t quite locate or find a reference for.  It washed down all the same – an opening of the piney floral hops suddenly followed by that mysterious note, but now on the palate was far more pungent. A permeating bitter and dark tart that stayed through the drink and the finish partnered by a subtle, sweet maltiness fading off with a touch of spice.  All flavors were suspended greatly by moderate carbonation and a slightly frothy medium body.

There are not a variety of flavors to rummage through here but there needn’t be. It is a close knitted combination that seems to suggest it would’ve been a fine pale ale without its seedling hero. Yet it’s the juniper’s distinct dark taste against the bright pastoral pale ale that makes for a beautiful and refreshing experience. This is a beer that traverses the seasons, perennial, if you will. Refreshing during the summer, and in between, through the autumn, and an accompaniment with its hint of spruce, to the winter. All springtime lime seasonals may be replaced by the juniper PA- a simple, elegant, succinct potation. 

 

Score: 4.3/5

 

Author: Joseph Herrera

There’s only one Return, and it’s of the Jedi.

Captain’s Log, stardate 2013-09-10:

2 years, 3 months, 22 days, and some odd hours. This is the time I have left in the Marine Corps. This is the time before I can return home to my family and friends and help run a business I helped create. Often I feel like the dead beat dad who knocked up Jonny with this great idea (it was a mutual idea. It takes two to tango, right?) and left him to raise it on his own. Sorry, Jonny! It is impressive to see how he has brought this idea to life. I mean, our beer for sale. Available to the public. It’s pretty freaking exciting to be a part of it all. Who knew that drinking beer and playing video games would actually lead to a viable career? take that, school counselor.

The exciting part is really having a passion to do something worthwhile. Beer may not save lives or anything, but sometimes providing a home away from home can be good for the soul. The craft beer scene is such a fun scene to be a part of, as those involved are usually just as passionate about good beer as you. And there is so much out there! so much beer, so little time. I find myself wanting to travel for the sole reason of visiting other breweries and microbreweries and the like. I hope that, one day, our home at Warlock’s can be such an establishment, where people will want to visit from all over just to meet those wacky folk that created Warlocks beer. We simply couldn’t do it without you. So please, feel free to let us know how we can make the Warlock’s experience more awesometastic for you.