Bits and Brews 014: Sweet Baby Jesus! & King's Quest

Welcome back to Bits and Brews; your semi-monthly pairing of craft beer and video games. For this edition we are looking at a pairing that hearkens back to the days of my youth. As an indoor kid, I spent a large portion of my youth inside playing video games. First on the PC and later on consoles. I also spent a large portion of my youth consuming various sweets and junk food because, let's be honest, parents in the 80's were absentee at best and mine, in addition to not really giving too much of a damn, filled the pantry with well... not really food per se but more sugar masquerading as food. (not that I complained then but man oh man you should hear my chubby ass bitch now) It is in those sugar fueled gaming sessions that the inspiration for this month's pairing comes: DuClaw's Sweet Baby Jesus and Sierra's King's Quest.

DuClaw, based in Maryland, is a brewery known for their flavorful beers that often play on familiar themes and their clever marketing. They have a very solid lineup of year round brews and have a ton of interesting seasonal and one off beers in their portfolio. None may be more famous, or infamous, than Sweet Baby Jesus. Originally brewed in 2011, SBJ is a chocolate peanut butter porter. It clocks in at six and a half percent ABV and is balanced with a slight hop note. The beer is one on the darker porters on the market pouring almost black with a nice khaki colored head. The aroma on this beer is nuts. (pun not intended but fuck it, there it is regardless) The first time I had this beer my brain was overcome with the images of peanut butter cups. This beer smells like a liquid peanut butter cup which is exactly as awesome as it sounds. Now, I was expecting an overly sweet beer from the aroma but found SBJ to be very well balanced when taking a sip. There are notes of chocolate, coffee, peanuts, peanut shells, malt, and hops all without the sugar. Beers often get described as having a sweetness to them and while SBJ certainly has that note among its flavor profile, it comes from the malts used. There is a roastiness and bitterness on the swallow that puts the rest of the sip into perspective. Everything plays really well together including the mouthfeel. This is a thick porter that coats the mouth. There is a creaminess to it as well. Overall, this is a beer that personally I love. I don't drink it daily but do enjoy more than my fair share throughout the year. If you see a bottle of this, or its bigger brother For Pete's Sake, grab a bottle. It is worth the experience and might just become a new favorite.

Man this map would have been helpful when i was six

Man this map would have been helpful when i was six

At some point in the early 80's I got a copy of this game on a floppy disc from a friend. (a for real floppy disc that you know, flopped around) I had played games on the Atari and Coleco by that point but had never really seen anything quite like this. I was blown away at how real and detailed the world of Daventry looked. My young mind could not comprehend how the game could respond to the things I typed in even going as far as to tell me things it did not recognize or understand. (I though I wasn't being clear enough in my directions... oh silly me) I was hooked. King's Quest is one of the games that cemented my love of video gaming. For its time, it was a technical marvel. Before King's Quest, adventure games mostly consisted of a single picture and some text. You would look at the picture, type in your commands, and react to what it said. When you moved to a new room, you got a new picture. Not so in King's Quest. When I typed in "open gate" Sir Graham actually opened the gate. There were interactions between the on screen avatar and the world itself. It was quite literally a game changer. Sierra went on to make many more King's Quest games as well as Leisure Suit Larry, Space Quest, Police Quest, and is now owned by Activision/Blizzard. No other game of theirs quite captured me the way this one did though. I spent countless hours trying my damnedest to gather the three treasures and save the kingdom of Daventry. I played with friends and older siblings and after completing the game, returned to it frequently. It is a hard game to recommend now as the interface is entirely outdated but for those brave few seeking an enjoyable, nostalgic adventure, you would be hard pressed to find a better title than King's Quest.

So why these two together? For me the beauty in the pairing lies in the magic of getting to feel like a kid again. The secret that adults don't tell kids is that we all spent our lives waiting to be old enough. Old enough to drive, to buy dirty magazines, to vote, to buy beer, etc. Once we hit that mark though, we spend the rest of our lives paying money to feel like kids again. Look at movies as an example. The reason action movies are the biggest money makers isn't because they are the best movies or that the common man isn't sophisticated enough to enjoy things like the latest Wes Anderson movie, it is because they make us feel like we are playing pretend with our toys again or out in the backyard having adventures. So when I play this game or drink this beer, it takes me back to a simpler time and place. I get to feel young again which to be honest, is priceless. So grab a copy of King's Quest and a glass of Sweet Baby Jesus and relive your youth. And if you are too young or old for this particular game to tickle that nostalgia bone, think back to THAT summer. You know the one; the one where THAT thing happened. Play the game your were playing then. And join me next month as we take a look at another pairing of bits and brews. Follow me on twitter or instagram, @geekadan, and let me know what you though of this pairing and what games or foods take you back to your childhood