Saints Row IV / Caldera Vas Deferens Belgian-Style Strong Ale

Before we get started here, let’s clear something up.  If you don’t like adult humor and adult beverages, then perhaps it’d be best to move along.  If you subscribe to the theory that guys like George Carlin, Dave Chappelle, Louis C.K., etc. present their humor in ways that your religious leader, pre-school handler or grandmother would object to, you’re going to find this game and matching beverage a direct anti-thesis to your very existence.  In the spirit of the incomparable Bill Cosby’s stand-up philosophy, I’ve made a conscious effort to keep previous posts at the very least “PG-13,” even though the liquid half of the subject matter is really for the 21+ set.  This will probably be a more R-rated version, so be warned. I get that teenagers manage to get their hands on illicit material and consumables before their time and will continue to do so, but consider this my disclaimer.  If you don’t like beer and you find adult humor too much to handle, move along.  Cool?  Onward my thirsty followers, to the land of irreverent potty humor and hilariously labelled beers.

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Its a time of year here in the Pacific Northwest that garners a lot of bitter resentment among myself and my colleagues.  The cloud of another year of school, the waning days of vitamin D rich sunlight, the notion that 15 hour days in front of a computer will erase any healthy eating and exercise, and so on.  But with every ending is a new beginning, or some such poetic horse-shit.  The prospect of working on a new game project is daunting but truly pretty exciting.  Plus, as a team, Muffin Express is spending (albeit probably too much) time generating a plethora of new content for this here website.  Wanna know how to derive basic graphics math? Check out our “tutorials” section.  Need some free games?  Go to the “games” page.  We’re happy to keep doing it as long as you are taking advantage of it, and there’s A LOT more to come.

“Onward my thirsty followers, to the land of irreverent potty humor and hilariously labelled beers.”

Everyone who owns an XBOX360 or PS3 or even a PC has probably heard of the Saints Row franchise.  The first (and subsequent sequels) in the series was developed by Volition, Inc. and published by THQ.  When THQ recently went tits up (I warned you), Deep Silver acquired it (via Koch Industries) and kept the franchise alive.   The Saints Row franchise was quick to receive numerous comparisons to the Grand Theft Auto series, but garnered a solid following by focusing on its humor, ridiculous interactions and racy adult-themed material.  So after a couple sequels that fleshed these themes out, we arrive at the fourth installment in the series.  It follows the events of the third game, where your gang of roguish criminals has ascended from the streets of Steelport and evolved into pop-culture heroes.   So you probably have some questions if you haven’t played any of the games, or are just curious about the new one.  Allow me to answer the important ones.

  • Q: “Hey Joe, in Saints Row IV, is my junk-bulge customizable in the character creator?”
    A:  “Of course!”
  • Q: “I think Keith David is the second coming of Christ.  Can you confirm he has a role in the game?”
    A: “I can indeed. He voices your faithful Vice-President (as himself, obviously) and his sonorous tones will frequently be filling your ear-holes.”
  • Q: “Wait, Vice-President? Does that mean I play as the President?!?!”
    A: “Your powers of deduction are amazing. You are definitely the POTUS!  You also get endowed with some really handy super powers early on.  And there’s aliens.”
  • Q: “Nerds play video games.  Nerds also like dub-step.  Is there a lot of sweet, sweet wub-dub in the game?
    A: “With the dub-step gun, you can Skrillex the shit out of your enemies… to death.”
  • Q: “Hey, I’m a responsible adult who likes morally ambiguous video games and playing as a sociopath. What beer goes well with this game?”
    A: “Keep reading you lazy, lying jerk.”
“Hey Joe, in Saints Row IV, is my junk-bulge customizable in the character creator?”

Foul-language, sexual innuendo, scantily clad chicks and dudes, and murder (not to mention other less-dramatic  felonies) too!   Saving a a computer simulated world (don’t ask, the game gets a bit meta, think “The Matrix”) from our God-alien overlords is thirsty work. This calls for something robust, flavorful and wholly unique.  Caldera Brewing Company, out of Ashland, Oregon, at some point in their storied career (although it’s “un-storied” on Wikipedia, someone get on that) decided that taking a Belgian Strong Ale and infusing it with blood orange zest, orange bitters, and dark Belgian candi sugar was a really good idea.  What does one name a beer like such as this?  Surely something noble and proud, right?  Something that makes your mouth water with breathless anticipation?  Think again.

Brace yourselves folks, here it comes…

The Game:

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 SAINTS ROW IV — Truth be told, I’ve never played the original, but I’ve enjoyed everything after.  Its a game that focuses heavily on “fun factor”.  Giving the player access to super powers while trying to free your fellow gang-mates takes this game from an just another open world game to an all out feast for fun-loving hedonists.  Go ahead, seduce any of your crew.  Star as a super powered contestant on a chaotic game show.  Leap tall buildings, run like the Flash, wield elemental powers and wreak havoc the whole time while subduing your alien enemies.  And whats better, that’s about 5% of the truly awesome fun you can have in this game.

The Beer:

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Caldera Brewing Vas Deferens Ale — Yup. They totally named it that. Why not just call it Big Floppy Dong Beer?  Vas Deferens, a word I haven’t written or typed, much less thought about since junior-high Sex-Ed class, you have not been missed.  Dick jokes in a game need a beer named after that special piece of the male anatomy.  What can I say, it jumped out at me at the store (no, not literally, you perv).  When you are playing something like Saints Row IV, you need something just as irreverent, hard to swallow, and well… shamelessly fun.  Not since CamDrome has an image scarred me so much, but it definitely piqued my curiosity and frankly, I hadn’t paired a game with a Belgian-Style ale yet.  This phallic monster pours pretty oily, and is way darker than I expected it to be.  Lightweights need not apply, at 8.1% ABV, Vas Deferens packs a throbbing, veiny punch but lets be honest here, sometimes you have to grease the wheels a bit, y’knowwhati’msayin’?  Overall, its something I’d buy for a friend, just so I don’t have to be the only person I know who’s tried it.  Not a bad beer, worth doing once (maybe twice), and if you spin it right you can share the experience like a badge of honor and less like it was based on a dare.

“Vas Deferens, a word I haven’t written or typed, much less thought about since junior-high Sex-Ed class.”

Well, you’ve made it to the end of the post.  If you got this far, you’re either not offended and enjoyed the piece, got really enticed by the game/beer and went out to get some post-haste, or ran screaming like a nun from a snuff film set.   The game is great, no bones about it.  Saints Row IV, at its best, is a beacon to the masses about how fun games SHOULD be.  The best part is while the characters and story can be a bit one-dimensional, there’s so much content packed into the title that the game-play is substantially varied.   At it’s worst, you can console yourself with the fact that it wasn’t named after the the tube that runs from a man’s epididymis to the tip of his penis.  So there’s that.

Thanks for making it this far. Back to something like Animal Crossing or Pokemon next week (maybe…).

~J. Erskine, September, 2013

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