Welcome welcome once again to your monthly pairing of craft beer and independent video games. This month took me a bit, if we’re being honest. Sometimes I know exactly what this column is going to be. Other times, it takes a lot of thought and some gentle nudging in the right direction from my wife. This month, she nudged me to the exact right place. Sometimes you expect something to be good. You see trailers, you hear word of mouth, you’ve experienced other things in a similar vein. And most of the time, you’re right. But some of the time, you’re caught completely off guard. That’s what happened with Jersey Winter and Steamworld Dig.
Jersey Winter is an imperial porter brewed with coconut, lactose, cold brewed coffee, and cocoa from Cypress Brewing out of Edison New Jersey. Cypress has been killing it lately with a ton of their releases. VIP, DDH Insane in the Grain, Lighthouse, 17 Mile, and Runway Models in Space have all been stellar. But Jersey Winter, out of bounds man. When I picked up a single from my local I thought I was going to get something similar to Oskar Blues Death by Coconut but with coffee. Now, I love that beer. It’s like a liquid Mounds bar which is exactly as awesome as it sounds. But this, this was something else. The nose on this was tons of coconut with a bit of the cocoa peeking through. The taste stepped up the cocoa and coffee while keeping the coconut. I was completely blown away by how well done this was. Cypress has a genuine flagship here they should be super proud of.
Steamworld Dig is a charming side-scrolling adventure game from Image and Form Games out of Sweden. Originally released in 2013, it’s available on a ton of platforms and is more than it appears to be. The trailer I first saw showed a game that looked quirky and fun if shallow. The game that I played though was much more than that. At its heart it’s a mining sim with little combat. You play as Rusty in a decidedly old-west themed world. You dig, get gems, return to the surface to sell for upgrades, and repeat. But then, you get a power-up that’s been hidden away. And you start to see the larger picture, the deeper story. I won’t ruin the story here as the game is short enough to plow through in a day or so and unfolds so perfectly that any sort of spoiler would ruin it. Suffice it to say, the further down you dig, the more you uncover.
So why these two together? Unexpected surprises, happy ones anyway, truly are the best thing. Those little moments of joy that come from being blown away by an experience are few and far between. When you get them, it’s special. They may not be long but they will be long remembered. So the next time you’re in Jersey, swing by Cypress Brewing in Edison and grab a copy of Steamworld Dig. Enjoy them together and enjoy the surprise. Thanks again for reading and please take a moment to like and share this article. Make sure to follow me on twitter and instagram, @geekadedan, as well and check back next month for another pairing of Jersey beer and independent gaming. Prost!