Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Beer Review 60 // Abattoir by Bloods Brother

I'm back with a beer review! This time traveling to Toronto, I was gifted a few bottles and a funky glass so just had to dive in!

Details

Name: Abattoir
Style: Saison/Farmhouse Ale
Brewery: Blood Brothers
Country: Canada, Ontario.
ABV: 8.5%
Commercial Fluff:
A mixed fermentation farmhouse-style ale, a portion of which was aged in Chardonnay barrels. Dry hopped with El Dorado, Wai-ti, Waimea, and Mandarina Bavaria hops, this strong ale features aggressive Brettanomyces funkiness and mild oak.

Own Opinion

Label: Creepy Pig head straight out of a horror film!
Pour: Murky but bright yellow pour with a thick white head. Looks delicious.
Aroma: Has a sweetness to it with the classic barnyard funk smell we all expect. There is also a spicy note along with green apple.
Taste: Surprisingly enjoyable. I'm not a big saison fan but this one has a sour note to it, which greatly helps out. Overall grassy hay, fresh, a little citrus and a finish of brett. Very dry and crisp finishing and was pretty easy to finish.
Would I buy it again? Yes. Super refreshing, moreish and just a damn tasty beer! Can't wait to try more.

What are your thoughts? Let me know either on here, facebook or google+ (yes I still use that). As always thanks for reading.

Monday, 23 July 2018

Book Review 29 // Annihilation Squad by Gav Thorpe

Welcome back to my nerdy corner of the Internet. Guess what I've finished another book! This book signals number 14 in my Books of 2018, leaving me with four books to complete before year end. It was also the perfect time to finish the Last Chancers omnibus, with GW releasing Kill team this weekend. If you didn't know this title is the third in the series, following on from 13th Legion, and Kill Team (follow the links to read the reviews) and follows Lieutenant Kage and his role within the Last Chancers. A group of military criminals, given the choice "die for the Emperor or die a traitor".

Book Stats

Title: Annihilation Squad

Author: Gav Thorpe

Publisher: Black Library

Format: Paperback

Page Count: 256 pages

Commercial Fluff:
Lieutenant Kage, convict of the 13th Penal Legion and probably its longest surviving recruit, has once more come to the attention of his ruthless old commanding officer, the Colonel. Joined with a brand new team of Last Chancers, Kage is sent on a suicide mission to the war-torn planet of Armageddon to hunt down and assassinate one of the most dangerous traitors to the Imperium - former planetary overlord Herman von Strab. However, the Third Armageddon War is still raging fiercely and the Last Chancers will have to fight through orks, rebels and even the planet itself if they are to succeed in their mission.

Review

As already mentioned this is the third and final book in Gav Thorpe's Last Chancers series and showcases the 13th Penal legion.

Once more the story is told and seen through the eyes of Lieutenant Kage. Kage is a convicted murder, who has somehow managed to survive two suicide missions with the Last Chancers. But it seems he is finally becoming unhinged.

The book follows the same path as the other two books. Colonel Schaeffer has a top secret mission for the Last Chancers, and it's one that they aren't supposed to come back from. We get to see them train, end up somewhere they shouldn't be and then complete the final mission with some personal lost.

Plus side of this tale is the setting. This time we get to travel the ground of Armageddon and visit the jungles and industrial hell holes of this amazing war world.

Like the last two books it does have it weak points. Firstly the cast, once more I found myself not caring for the other Chancers. They are purely filler and are almost forgotten by the end of the book. They seem to be there purely so Kage can comment about them, making this a real missed opportunity to expand the lore. It's a pretty dark tale which is saying something from the grim dark future of 40k, but the ending seem rushed and not fully filled out.

Overall the series was a good solid read and I do recommend it. It is always fun seeing the Astra Militarum overcoming insurmountable odds and this last book delivers. Four out of Five for this easy read.

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Book Review 28 // Kill Team Gav Thorpe

Hot on the heels of the 13th Legion review comes the sequel Kill Team. I was surprised by how quick I was able to read this, not sure if it was a sign of an enjoyable book or if my reading is actually starting to improve. What it does signal is the completion of book thirteen of my Books of 2018 series. So with five months left of 2018 I need to complete five more books. I feel energised and ready to do this.

With the Sunday morning motivation completed let's get into the review.

Book Stats

Title: Kill Team
Author: Gav Thorpe
Publisher: Black Library.
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 256 pages
Commercial Fluff:

"In the second volume of Thorpe's Last Chancers series, Lieutenant Kage, a convict soldier of the 13th Penal Legion, languishes in an Imperial detention center when his old commanding officer returns with a deadly assignment. Kage must whip into shape a new team of the very worst the Imperial Guard has to offer before leading them on a mission to assassinate a warmongering enemy general."

Review

As I read the Last Chancer series back to back the first thing I notice is the shift in storytelling. In the first book we have short style missions, characters that we grow to like and then a epic final showdown. In this one we get one big prison break, some training montage and then a final showdown. I found myself rooting for Kage and even feeling a bit sorry for him, dumped by the colonel and left to rot in a prison. Kage becomes a desperate and broken man. This all changes when the Colonel returns to his life and puts him in charge of a ragtag team of misfits. Here enters a cast of characters that to be honest weren't worth learning the names of.

Highlights of this book for me in no particular order are (watch for spoilers):

  • Kage, broken beyond repair, no chance of redemption in the Emperor's/Colonel's eyes and now possibly psychic?
  • The Tau Empire from an Imperial view point. It was great to see inside their crafts and ride along in the cities. Doesn't seem this Greater Good is all that Good (see what I did there!)
  • The Alien bar, feel like Gav was watching some Star Wars whilst writing this. Loved all the different aliens described in this scene. I just wish GW would explore these options more often.
  • The death of Brains- as the saying goes curiosity kills the cat..
  • The Inquisitor, what is he up to? Did he manage to save some characters from book one? Will we find out?
  • Commander Brightsword - nice tie in to the Farsight release that was happening at the time. Though he died to easy it was nice to a villian taken down. Time for the Tau to get cloning again.

Sure it wasn't a perfect book, with some sections feeling more like an 80's action movie and what should have been a scary villain being defeated with ease. But I really enjoyed it. One of the quickest books I've read and it's filled me with excitement for Annihilation Squad and the chance to visit one of the most iconic Worlds in 40k - Armageddon! Bring on the Orks Waaaaaaaaaaaaaagh!

Monday, 9 July 2018

Beer Review 59 // (Extra) Terrestrial Imperial Brown Ale

Attempting to get better at posting beer reviews and more content in general. With that in mind here is this week's entry for the blog. Keeping things Canada this week with an offering from Wellington Brewery discovered in the local LCBO. Let us dive in:

Details

Name: (Extra) Terrestrial Imperial Brown Ale.
Style: Imperial Brown Ale
Brewery: Wellington Brewery
Country: Guelph, Ontario, Canada
ABV: 8.2%
Commercial Fluff:
From the depths of outer space, comes an (Extra) Terrestrial, a heavily fortified imperial brown ale with a maximum payload of american hops. We’ve taken our award-winning recipe for Terrestrial India Brown Ale and made it double, using twice as much roasted malts and more than enough bitterness to satisfy the most discerning hop-heads. This imperial brown ale clocks in at over 90 IBU, dry hopped to create an intense flavour supernova of citrus and lemon. You can’t escape this black hole of hops!

Own Opinion

Pour: The pour is super dark, you would think it black. After further inspection it is a very dark brown. The head is pretty small producing tight bubbles of a light tan colour, it ultimately dissipates quickly.
Aroma: Lots of caramel, herby, earthy notes and a good helping of chocolate.
Taste: Not as sweet as I had expected. Throughout there are flavours of caramel, dark fruits like raisins, dark chocolate and earthy notes. The earthiness really help balance out the sweeter notes.
Would I buy it again? No. Ultimately there is nothing wrong with this beer, I'm in fact very glad I tried it. There is just no real draw for me. I think I prefer my brown ales in the lower abv's so that I can enjoy a few. The flavour though interesting wouldn't have me reaching for another bottle.

What are your thoughts? Let me know either on here, facebook or google+ (yes I still use that). As always thanks for reading.

Monday, 2 July 2018

Beer Review 58 // Nickel Brook Cuvee (2016)

Wow I've not done a beer post in so long! Let's jump straight back onto the horse on review a big hitter today. This bottle was long forgotten in dusty basement and was a joy to find on a resent clean up. Here are the details:

Details

Name: Nickel Brook Cuvee (2016)
Style: American Strong Ale / Barrel Aged
Brewery: Nickel Brook
Country: Canada (Ontario)
ABV: 10%
Commercial Fluff: Aged in Bourbon Barrels. Our '16 Cuvée is a complex mixture of sweet malts, fruits, herbs and spices. We then blend this beer with ale aged in bourbon barrels for a year. To take our '16 Cuvée to another level of complexity we added a mix of bacteria for tartness and brettanomyces for a bit of funk to the barrels.

Own Opinion

Pour: From bottle.
Sight: As seen in picture it pours a reddish colour, with a very thin white head.
Aroma: Straight away sweet fruity aromas, backed up by caramel and finished by the bourbon.
Taste: Tastes like a boozy xmas fruit cake. The type your Grandma bakes, sweet fruits, scotch flavours and bourbon, plenty of bourbon.
Would I buy it again? Most likely not. It was an enjoyable beer but now I've had it, I doubt I need to again. Now on the search for the 2017 version.

Got an opinion? Would love to hear it!

Book Review 27 // 13th Legion by Gav Thorpe

Wow it's a steamy, hot, humid day here in the Ottawa capital, last night was Canada Day and temperatures sored! What it meant for me was the ability to finish book twelve of my Books of 2018. As the recurring theme continues I have completed a sci-fi novel, set in the Warhammer 40k Universe, written by one of my favourite authors Gav Thorpe. Gav Thorpe along with Dan Abnett have a unique ability to bring these worlds to life for me and help me escape my own for a while. So let us jump into an early title of Mr. Thorpes.

Book Stats


Title: 13th Legion

Author: Gav Thorpe

Publisher: Black Library

Format: Paperback

Page Count: 288

Commercial Fluff: Across a hundred blasted war-zones, upon a dozen bloody worlds, the convict soldiers of the Thirteenth Legion fight a desperate battle for redemption in the eyes of the immortal Emperor. In this endless war against savage orks, merciless eldar and the insidious threat of Chaos, Kage and the Last Chancers penal battalion must fight not only to win but to survive!

Review

Even for the grim, dark future of 40k, this book is grim, dark! No noble one dimensioned Space Marines here or even a lovable rogue of the Imperial Guard. Instead we follow a bunch of murders, traitors and scum of the 13th Penal Legion, lead into battle by Colonel Schaeffer. Throughout the tale we see them fight aliens and then each other, as their only true friend is themselves. You'll even at times find yourself rooting for an alien to off certain characters, but I feel that was what the author wants you to feel. But ultimately they aren't all bad and you start to even like some of them for a bit, that is until you are reminded that they are murderous criminals, who don't deserve the Emperors forgiveness.

This story has a great base, a penal legion lead by a zealous commander who would rather see his chargers dead than given a pardon. Think Dirty Dozen and you aren't far off. The author is also given the freedom to play with characters from many different backgrounds, as the legion is collected up from different prison worlds scattered throughout this sector. This leads to interesting array of characters, be them nobles, hive scum or even genetically modified soldiers. The story itself is written from the viewpoint of a Lt. Kage; a hardass Hive Worlder who murdered his way into the Penal Legion and refuses to die in a suicide mission. It is though his telling of events that we learn the 13th legion fought in the Second Tyrannic War. It is also hinted that the legion consisted of close to 4,000 troops at the start, but by the time of this tale only 250 are left and most of those are now mentally unhinged.

Once settled into the main cast of characters we are bouncing to flavorful warzone to flavourful warzone, watching the bodycount rise until we are only left with 12 members. It is then disclosed that all the fighting and suicide missions was organized by the Inquisition, in order to find the most badass troops out there. It is also now that we discover their final mission. Infiltrate and destroy the City of Coritanorum. This once proud Imperial Held city, has fallen to an insidious control of a Genestealer Cult! I don't want to ruin the ending so go grab a copy and read for yourself.

Overall a great read. I really enjoyed the detailed fight scenes and unusual locations we got to visit through the story. The interactions between cell mates, seemed realistic and not forced and the final twist at the end though expected was well worth the wait (you'll see). It's also worth mentioning that it is great to see how far Gav Thorpe's writing has come since this time. I actually enjoyed the book so much that I have begun the next book in the series Kill team - which concern sneaky Tau!

Until next time.

Book Review 76 // Battle for the Abyss by Ben Counter

Following on from Legion  comes Battle for the Abyss by Ben Counter. I'm pretty excited for this book as it has the Word Bearers prop...