Welcome welcome once again to your monthly pairing of craft beer and video games. Last month (June) I missed a post. Not really sure how or why so, apologies. I’ll make it up though, promise. Anyway, this month I wanted to take a look at something a little more straightforward. There’s a lot in the world today that, to be honest and borrow from the parlance of our times, is extra AF. Everything is bigger, faster, more, more, more. Sometimes you want something a little bit restrained; a little bit old school. You still want it to be good obviously, but it doesn’t have to be some crazy out there thing. It doesn’t hurt that the examples this month also carry a bit of nostalgia for me as well. So read on friends, as we pair Carton’s Hoppun and Konami’s Contra.
Hoppun is Carton’s ode to the traditional American Pale Ale. The APA is one of the styles that got most of us into craft beer. Sierra Nevada’s classic pale is the standard and has always been a welcome sight on the menu or shelf amidst the macro lager big boys. While the pale is English in origin, the Americanized version is hoppier and cleaner. Carton’s version is super bright and super flavorful. It is a simple beer for Carton who are known for doing some wacky stuff. It uses some experimental hop varietals with more traditional strains for balance alongside pale malts and English yeast. The resulting beer is clean with a fruity, tea-like quality that meshes well with the biscuit-like malt profile. It finishes easy with decent bitterness and is an easy drinker at 5.30% ABV. It’s a beer that flies in the face of most pale ale styles, hence the name. Drinking this beer brings me back to the beginning of my craft beer journey. The traditional pale profile is so familiar and so welcome when compared to some of the crazier things around now. I like this beer a ton and appreciate it for what it is as much for what it isn’t.
Contra is a game that, if you happen to ever find yourself on a site such as this, is probably one you’re familiar with. It’s an old school action game that is about moving forward and blowing shit up. There’s some strategy to how you move through a level but it isn’t all that deep. And it doesn’t need to be, really. The core mechanic is so damn fun. The weapon variety is solid, the enemies and bosses look cool, the graphics are nice, the soundtrack fits, it’s simply a great action game that’s even better with a friend. For those of us of a certain age, Contra was among the first action games we played and became the one that we judged others against. Plus, Contra is the game that popularozed the Konami code. (you know, the one you just said in your head)
So why these two together? Simply put, sometimes you want to eschew the crazy over the top stuff that we are subjected to on a near non-stop basis. Sometimes, you want to to drink a beer that is an old school hoppy pale and not something brewed with insane amounts of hops or adjuncts. Sometimes you want something that transports you back to the start of a journey. And sometimes you want to play an action game that is just about moving forward and blowing shit up. Maybe you aren’t in the mood for crazy, over the top explosions in an open world experience with topographical changes based on your destruction. Maybe you don’t want 3 billion weapons/explosions and simply want a spread gun. Sometimes, you want to remember where you came from. If that’s you, grab some Hoppun and a copy of Contra. (and a friend) I promise it will take you back and show you where you were and just how far we’ve come. Join me next month as we take a look at another beer and game pairing. Follow me on twitter and instagram, @geekadedan, for beer and game stuff. And don’t forget to share this article wherever you want. Prost!