I still remember when I got the original Nintendo for Christmas in 1987. I ran Mario under those question blocks, over the Koopas, and toward Princess Peach whenever I had the chance. I still have that original Nintendo with Mario, Zelda, Contra, and more. It’s great to break out now and then to remember the 8-bit gaming era. But it’s not the only way.
Made by Tallgrass Brewing Company in Manhattan, Kansas, 8-Bit Ale takes you back to the days when you would find table-top Pac-Man at your favorite burger joint. In fact, when I was a teenager in Tulsa, Oklahoma I used to go to a place called Bogey’s. You could get a good greasy burger, tasty fries, and a Coke, all while playing classic arcade games. It was a great way for a 16-year-old to spend lunch.
Some of the greatest games of all time were made for those early gaming systems. The Zelda games are so good there is an entire culture that has grown up around them. Last year I went to “The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddess,” a multi-hour concert where a traveling symphony plays music from the collected Zelda games while images of each adventure in the series are projected upon a giant screen. It filled a large performing arts hall here in Austin packed with people from five to 45. People who loved the original game brought their kids, who love the latest version on the Wii.
Today the gaming industry is worth nearly $100 billion dollars. Yeah. That 20-year old kid who wastes his college scholarship playing hours upon hours upon hours of Skyrim in his dorm room is actually a small part of a very big and successful industry.
I’m a gamer myself, though I mostly stick to X-Box and Playstation. I too have drowned hundreds of hours into Skyrim, the Mass Effect series, and the Fallout games. Of course I have a wife and two kids to worry about these days, so I don’t get to play as much as I used to in the good ‘ol days. When I do have the opportunity it’s generally after the kids go to bed. Nothing helps along a good last-night game like a good adult beverage. Enter the perfect gaming beer.
Eight-Bit Ale is what the company describes as a “Hop-Rocketed American Pale Ale.” It pours a nice copper color with a serious foamy head that sticks around for a while. It has a wonderful balance of light malts and zesty hops. You can taste the lemon and (appropriately enough) a little grassiness in this Tallgrass brew.
Some gamers down energy drinks, 44-ounce sodas, or never-ending cups of coffee. But there’s no better way to enjoy a gaming session than with a sessionable beer like 8-Bit. At only 5.2 percent ABV, this beer has some great drinkability and won’t kill your quick-fire reflexes. As you work your way through Ganon’s Tower in “Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past” (which is undeniably the best Zelda game), rock through Contra after using the Konami code, or your battle Dr. Wily as Mega Man, 8-Bit Ale is the perfect drink to have at your side.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go so my five-year-old can beat me at an old-school Atari Pong battle. Good thing I’ll have a beer to help me drown the shame of losing to a kid who just learned how to read Atari and Pong but a few short months ago. Cheers!