Bits and Brews 015: K is for Kriek & Super Metroid

When drinking craft beer, or playing video games, different experiences can be had. Often times those experiences are user dependent meaning we seek out a certain type of experience through what we are consuming. If I want mindless fun, I play a sports game and drink a Yuengling. If I want to play a longer form game, like an RPG for example, I may grab a Pilsner or session IPA. But when I want something deeper or more complex, there are fewer options at the liquor store. As for video games, there are plenty of deep and complex games to be had. However, there is one that stands out among the choices, and when paired with this month’s featured game, makes for a reflective, nuanced experience. This month we pair K is for Kriek from Brooklyn Brewery with Super Metroid for the SNES.

K is for Kriek is Brooklyn’s take on a traditional Belgian Kriek Lambic. Lambics are dry, sour beers that are made with native, wild yeast in Brussels. These beers often have sour cherries added to them, giving us the Kriek. The version Brooklyn brews eschews much of the traditional in favor of a more Americanized approach. First, the base beer is their abbey ale Local 2, a fabulous beer in its own right. Montmorency cherries from Michigan are then added and the whole thing is aged in oak bourbon barrels for about six months. That beer is then bottled and has priming sugar, Champagne yeast and Brettanomyces yeast added for a third fermentation. The bottles are aged for another six months before distribution. And it is more than worth the wait. Popping the bottle and pouring a glass unloads a ton of cherry, bourbon, and orange peel. There are hints of vanilla, oak, honey, some funkiness, sugar, bread, and a whole host of other things in the nose. It’s the kind of beer you can sit and smell for awhile and still get new things from it. The taste is largely the same with the cherries hitting first leading to sweetness from the bourbon and malt. It all blends together really nicely and rewards you for taking your time to savor each sip. At 10% ABV and only sold in 750ml bottles, this isn’t a crushable kind of beer. It is very easy to drink though, as the ABV is well masked. I enjoy this beer slowly, taking the time to pick out different aspects of it and relishing the complexity of it all. It is a relatively readily available beer and well worth your time in tracking down. 

Super Metroid is about gaming perfection. There have been very few games released that boast the near exact mix of gameplay, storytelling, graphics, and design that Super Metroid so expertly features. Released originally on the Super Nintendo in 1994, Super Metroid went on to define the 16-bit console generation. A direct sequel to the underplayed Metroid 2: Return of Samus on Gameboy, Super Metroid somehow, inexplicably, lived up to and exceeded the hype. The gameplay alone would be enough to garner the critical acclaim but this game didn’t exist on gameplay alone. The graphics, at the time cutting edge, still hold up today. The subtle bits of story we are given throughout the adventure deepen our understanding of this universe while also leaving it open to imaginative interpretation. There is such depth and complexity throughout the level design of this title. It is not a game you should blast through on your initial play. (There are some pretty entertaining speed runs available on YouTube, however) This is a game that took time to come together and you should treat it as such. Between this game and the modern Castlevania series, adventure games were given a facelift and a new genre, Metroidvania, was developed. If this is a title that you have somehow missed playing through, you owe it to yourself to rectify that situation. It is widely available on the various Virtual Consoles found on Nintendo’s systems and plays just as beautifully now as it did back then.

So why these two together? Simply put, you will be hard pressed to find a pairing that delivers more depth or complexity than these two. Both the beer and the game should be taken is small doses so as to experience the full effect. Both have a blink and you will miss it quality that makes slowing down and savoring them infinitely enjoyable. I urge you to hunt down a bottle of K is for Kriek and grab a copy of Super Metroid and make a weekend out of it. In all of the hustle and bustle of modern life, it is important to take a step back and challenge yourself to appreciate the subtle nuances found in our diversions. Make sure to follow me on twitter, @geekadedan, and let me know what you think of this month’s paring. And join me next month as we look at another pairing from the world of craft beer and videogames. Until then…

Dean DeFalco

Creator of Websites, editor of content, wearer of vests. This man is said to be "The Jack of All Trades".  Dean has his hands in most parts of the website one way or another. The original incarnation of Geekade, "G33k Life", was Dean's brainchild. While Dean can be found on a number of shows like when he was the former co-host of the Stone Age Gamer Podcast or the current host Vest and Friends or talking about video games on YouTube and Twitch, he is the guy behind the scenes making sure that the site does everything it's supposed to every one else can do their job. There's not a problem he can't solve.....or at least punch and scream at until it doesn't exist anymore.

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