Welcome to the inaugural gaming and beer paring of the month. I take a hot video game and pair it with a fantastic, delicious beer. My goal is to hopefully show gamers out there that there's more to beer than your standard fare. A few things I look at are taste, drinkability, relatability, and of course, how drunk you get after a few brews! On the gaming side, I look at the fun factor, accessibility of someone under the influence, and social aspect to enjoy it with others. Without further ado, here's October pairing.
For our first edition, I'm going with Madden NFL 25. It just isn't fall without football, and it isn't fall without your yearly release of Madden NFL. This years Madden is a solid fare, featuring some slightly newer technology as well as adding more working social features like Online Leagues, 2 vs 2 online play, as well as offline 2 player co-op. I won't go into too much detail on the game itself, but in my opinion, NFL Football captivates us during the fall season, and seems to be a great choice for our first pairing.
Madden has always been a successful franchise and has won the hearts of many American males over the years going all the way back to Madden 94 on the Super Nintendo. I've always enjoyed Madden, especially playing the Franchise mode with friends. There was nothing better than going through a 17 week season, the playoffs, then eventually meeting in either the Conference Championship or the Super Bowl to crown a true champ. Once that was over, you started over and tried to build your team back up through free agency and the draft. This was also another fun aspect as I'd always have to bid against my friends and roommates for those top tier players to put us on top. With this years game, it has a very addictive Connected Career Mode, which is a fancy term for an Online Franchise, that allows every team to be ran be a user. This is a fantastic way to continue the mode I always played as a kid through college, but without having to have my friends right there on the couch with me.
If NFL football is the sport that's symbolizes the fall season, then pumpkins are it's equal on the food side. And there's nothing more refreshing on a cool fall evening than a great pumpkin ale. My beer choice, is one from my favorite brewer, DogFish Head Brewery out of Milton, Delaware and there famous Punkin Ale. This is a brown ale that is brewed with pumpkin meat, brown sugar, and a mix of spices. The flavor it gives is something that's truly special. It still tastes like a great brown ale, but has that sweet flavor you'd expect from a pumpkin brew. You get a nice blend of pumpkin and brown sugar, which makes this a very smooth beer to drink as well with a fantastic after taste. With it's 7% abv, it will get you buzzed but won't completely knock your socks off. This can be important when playing Madden and the need to make quick reads and decisions for 4 quarters. You don't want to be too intoxicated in the 4th quarter if the game is close! To maximize flavor, make sure you drink it out of a pint glass, or my preference, is DogFish Head's signature glass that enhances carbonation and gives the ale a continuous head to ensure you get the most out of the Punkin Ale. This beer has won various awards since 1995, but there's also a local tie-in with the name. It's named after the Punkin Chunkin festival that's held each November in Delaware. If you happen to be lucky enough to have a store that carries this, definitely pick one up as the Punkin Ale generally sells out shortly after Halloween.
Check out the video below of DogFish Head founder, Sam Calagione talk about their Punkin Ale.
There you have it, a perfect match for the fall season. For those who can enjoy these, I say "cheers to you!" Check back with us for more Beer and Gaming: An Extraordinary Pair, the first week of each month.
*I'd like to give a special thanks to Bob Dob at www.bobdob.com who has allowed us to use his "Cheers" painting, featuring Mario and Donkey Kong as our featured photo. Thanks Bob, "Cheers to you my friend."