I have had a surprising number of games to review recently, despite the late season (mostly due to the Oculus Touch and a bunch of the titles that released with it). While slipping on a headset while having a few beers probably isn’t recommended, I have to say that my continual guilty pleasure of late – Final Fantasy XV – has been a great fit for a few drinks and extended hours of play. My drink of choice this week was Lil’ Griz by Perrin Brewing Company.
Seems like I have been completely immersed in all things Final Fantasy recently, and if you read my recent review of the latest entry in the series, you’ll know that I think it is quite good. Not the best Final Fantasy title by any means (my favorite is Final Fantasy X personally, but I understand that everyone seems to have their preference for a variety of reasons).
Even though this is the most action-packed of the primary Final Fantasy titles, there are a lot of opportunities to sit back and take things in as well. As I noted in my review, one thing that Final Fantasy XV does really well is create picturesque landscapes. This works quite well since one of the characters in the group, Prompto, likes to take pictures regularly. I enjoyed sitting back and viewing these for a few minutes every now and then. One of the greatest accomplishments in this game is the way you can reach just about anything you see in the distant horizon. This is a vast game that encourages travel and exploration, especially in the early-going.
A lot of this travel happens from within the car. You can manually drive it, but I often choose to let Ignis do so. Certainly this makes for a more passive experience, especially on longer trips, but it is the perfect opportunity to have a snack, sip a drink, take in the sights as they pass by and relax for a bit. There are of course reasons to pay attention still. You might encounter enemies – especially at night – that force you out of the car and into the fray. Random events such as conversations to partake in or just listen in on to wild animal crossings that force the vehicle to stop for a bit all serve to make the experience more interesting. Quite often Prompto wants to take a slight detour and get a picture of the group in from a nearby scenic location, and I take him up on the offer each and every time. Some of the earliest skills I invested in via the Ascension system were those that grant experience and AP during the drive as well, so there is some in-game benefit to the extended road trips as well.
Now that winter is fully upon us (my kids wound up missing three days of school this week due to snowfall), it’s time for me to break out the heavier beers. I’ve already been covering several of the different stouts I drink in recent Beeps and Beers articles, but those who have been reading this articles since the beginning might recall that I started this series off with a bourbon barrel aged porter. I love a good bourbon barrel beer, and you usually see them with stouts. That makes Lil’ Griz a unique better in that it is a brown ale that is lighter in overall color and taste, but the aging process gives it a little more heft (though not as much as the very tasty Big Griz, which is an imperial brown ale).
If you follow Beeps and Beers, you know I cover a lot of Michigan breweries, and the name Perrin should probably sound familiar as I have covered them a couple of times already (including their very unique but tasty White Noise collaboration with Cigar City Brewing down in Florida). I’ve had Lil’ Griz several times now over the last couple of years, but my most recent sampling came from some 12 ounce cans. It pours a deep brown color with a quickly dissipating whitish-tan head. This is a moderately sweet beer – not nearly as much so as a milk stout but there is a roasted cocoa and malt flavor that is tempered by hints of coffee and the bourbon bite. Subtler hints of vanilla and caramel occur on later sips of the beer.
Now usually anything with bourbon barrel aging is pretty harsh and carries a boozy high ABV with it, but Lil’ Griz rings in around 6.7%, which is pretty comfortable and makes it one that I do sometimes drink in the warmer seasons too – something I don’t usually do with bourbon barrel aged beers. This one is much more of a year round bourbon beer that I find very smooth (whereas the Big Griz is still very good, but it has a much sharper, boozier finish that definitely feels more like a cold weather beer to me).
Final Fantasy XV is going to be a title I write about a few more times before things are said and done. I said in my review that it’s more about the journey than the conclusion, and I’ve had a lot of fun going back and revisiting side quests and furthering my explorations. I am not usually someone who runs out to grab DLC content, generally happy to play the primary game and move on. I suspect that I’ll be grabbing the season pass for Final Fantasy XV however, and am looking forward to seeing what else Square Enix has in store for us.
I scored Final Fantasy an 8.5 in my review earlier this week, and while it may not be my absolute favorite in the series, it’s really quite good. I can apply those remarks to the Lil’ Griz as well. There are some bourbon barrel aged beers I do like better, but this is still an outstanding drink that does something a little different from the norm and has made for a good companion during my long drives across the landscape in Final Fantasy XV so far.
Article by Nick