Welcome back to another episode of Get Fragged: A Game & Booze Pairing Guide!
We are knee-deep in dead leaves, which is the telltale sign that it’s fall… the time of year when AMC resumes their smash hit, The Walking Dead. Zombies have a death grip on pop culture, and while there are way too many video games about the undead, there’s at least one that you should actually play. And no, I’m not talking about the hot mess that was TWD: Survival Instinct either.
Telltale Game’s The Walking Dead series isn’t so much a game as an interactive animated comic book experience. This emotionally charged adventure game has earned universal praisedespite not containing a ton of traditional gaming action. Its greatness comes from the dramatic story it tells, which changes based on the choices it forces you to make along the way.
But don’t holster your twitchy trigger finger completely. When the action does show up it’ll often catch you off guard because: 1) you won’t be expecting it, and 2) you’ll be so gripped by the events unfolding on the screen that you’re reaction time will be stunted. The later has happened to me more than a few times.
State of the Stout
The colder nights that come with the change in season means it’s time to put away the light, hoppy, thirst quenching beers we’ve been guzzling throughout the summer and crack open darker, maltier, heartier brews that will keep us warm by a roaring fire.
(… In fact, lemme open one of those right now.)
The perfect stout for this game hails from the “Napa Valley of Beer” — aka my home state of Colorado. But first… a little history lesson on this particular style of beer.
You heard the word “stout” and probably thought of Guinness, right? Dark and bitter, with that cool cascading head. While Guinness is the template for Irish/Dry Stouts, a ton of variations exist… including Imperial Stout, Oatmeal Stout, and Sweet or Milk Stout.
Stout [noun staut] is a dark beer made using roasted malt or roasted barley, hops, water and yeast. The roasting of the ingredients gives it a dark color and a roasty flavor.
Let’s bust one myth right now: a beer’s color has nothing to do with its alcohol content. Back in the day, the word “stout” was slang for a strong beer, not a dark one.
(… Oh darn, look at that. Gotta open up another beer.)
Turning to the Dark Side
So how did the stout earn its infamy as a dark beer?
During the 18th century the porter style of beer (also dark) became the first industrially produced beer in England. It was mighty popular in America too. When George Washington and Thomas Jefferson weren’t busy starting a new nation, they were in their barns brewing porters with the rest of the Founding Fathers.
Stouts are basically just revved up versions of porters. The two styles are sometimes hard to tell apart because they often use the same recipe… the only difference being the amount of water used.
So, what beer should every good survivor of the zombie apocalypse have in their fridge?
“Good morning. You’ve woken up dead. You’re in ruins.”
That’s the tagline for Wake Up Dead, a Russian Imperial Stout (a style created to win over the Russian Czars of the 1800’s) from Left Hand Brewing in Longmont, Colorado.
It pours black as night and boasts high alcohol by volume (10.2% ABV to be exact). Along with plenty of roasted malty goodness you’ll taste raisins, coffee and dark chocolate.
After a few sips a warmth starts crawling around your belly as the boozy brew makes its presence known… and that’s when you to dive into The Walking Dead.
(… Another one down the hatch!)
How Wake Up Dead enriches The Walking Dead
The bleakness of the world combined with the character’s desperate plight calls for something that’ll multi-task. It has to mesh with the dark ambiance of the game, act as a stout companion as you trudge through a world populated by the walking dead, while keeping you on your toes for those moments when you have to act fast.
The low carbonation level of this beer won’t exactly light up your taste buds, but that’s OK. This is a winter warmer best consumed slowly, perfect for the plodding pace of The Walking Dead. Slow… thoughtful… BAM!
Out of nowhere you’re crapping your pants trying to hit the “Q” key without spilling your beer… or dying!
This Russian Imperial Stout unfolds the same way. It’s subtle at first… downright sneaky. Right up until that 10.2% ABV rattles your brain and wakes you (and the dead) up!
The beer’s aroma is a mix of burnt chocolate, malt, and coffee. Since I’ve never sniffed rotting flesh before, I’m guessing the nose on this beer will be much better than the stank millions of dead bodies will bring to the world.
(… Well, whatya know.)
Wake Up Dead “lurks” in Left Hand’s cellar for over 4 months before it’s released. Zombies lurk in dark places too… aging just like the beer; waiting for some dumb ass to walk in (without a flash light) like every character from every horror movie ever made.
Oh, and here’s an added benefit! If you were actually stuck in a zombie apocalypse, once you’ve emptied the bottles of its liquidy goodness (like I’ve just done) you could use them as a water collection system… or a port-a-pot. Now that’s utilizing all of your meager, end-of-the-world possessions to their fullest!
Seems I’ve come upon a very important decision in the game. I have to decide whether Clementine… I mean another character – lives or dies. Hopefully all the beers I’ve had so far don’t make me do something… oops.
Until next time… keep the kegerator fully pressurized and your Nvidia drivers up to date!
** GameSkinny reminds you that you must be at least 21 years of age in the good ole U.S. of A to consume alcohol. If you or someone you know has a problem with alcohol… get them help immediately. Seriously! If you or someone you know has a problem using a keyboard and mouse, well… you can’t fix evolution. We don’t condone any of the following: alcoholism, underage drinking, driving under the influence, binge drinking on cheap booze, lying under oath, or cheering for the Dodgers. WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may create the illusion that you are a smarter, faster and have a better K/D ration than all other gamers. GameSkinny encourages you to drink and frag responsibly!