Here they are! mAltIntel’s best of the best from the first half of 2012!
Favorite Album: High on Fire – De Vermis Mysteriis
The album is everything you would come to expect from Matt Pike, but with more emotion, crushingly stonerific riffs and brilliant solos. It will definitely be in the running for metal album of the year.
Favorite Beer: Big Worse (Red Wine Edition) by Mikkeller
Never before have I tasted a Bourbon Barrel Aged Barleywine blended with red wine. The two flavors work incredibly well together and is extremely drinkable considering the 12% ABV. Big Worse deserves only the highest of praise.
Favorite Comic: Batman Incorporated #2 (New 52)
As much as I dislike Grant Morrison the person (I feel he is full of himself and more than slightly outrageous), he can write one hell of a Batman book. Chris Burnham’s Quitely-esque art works incredibly well with Morrison’s intriguing plot about Talia al Ghul taking her father’s place. Follow this series if you don’t already!
Favorite Game: Telltale’s The Walking Dead
Creators of Resident Evil and Silent Hill, please take note: the game play mechanics of The Walking Dead bring back to life the once dead survival horror genre. The story is intriguing, the characters are new and present to players a refreshing perspective on the zombie outbreak, and the graphics compliment the comics almost perfectly. The game is definitely a must play for fans and fans yet discovered.
Favorite Movie: Cabin in the Woods
I always support new intelligent properties, especially when they come out of the creative minds of Joss Whedon and company. This flick was equal parts scary, witty, sexy, and ponderous; all devices fans have come to expect from the Whendonverse and from the Mutant Enemy crew. The Avengers was great, but was it as original as Cabin in the Woods? Hell no.
For my list, I will be naming my favorite Imperial Stout, double IPA, and sour beers that I’ve had in 2012 thus far. This is not necessarily the best beers of the year, but only my favorites.
Favorite Imperial Stout: Bourbon Barrel Aged Vanilla Bean Dark Lord by Three Floyds
Without an ounce of hesitation, my favorite stout of the year so far was and is Three Floyds’ Bourbon Barrel Aged Vanilla Bean Dark Lord. It’s difficult to convey how amazing this beer was with mere words. Every individual part contributed so positively to the collective experience of drinking the beer. The bourbon barrel aging combined with the vanilla bean sweetness to make it huge, sweet, and boozy, but only in the most positive ways. Drinking this beer was pure beer euphoria. An honorable mention goes to AleSmith’s Double Coffee version of their Speedway Stout. Nothing but huge roasted coffee notes with an amazing bitter chocolate background that makes for a sensational stout.
Favorite Double IPA: Ruination Tenth Anniversary IPA by Stone
My favorite DIPA of the year so far was Stone’s Tenth Anniversary Ruination. Being a bigger and boozier version of Ruination, this beer is nothing but unabashed hop glory, perfect for hop heads like myself. The added alcohol really gives it a great kick as well. An honorable mention goes to Russian River’s Pliny the Elder. It is much more of a refined sipping beer than a hop bomb, but perfect in almost every way.
Favorite Sour: Cuvee de Tomme by The Lost Abbey
My favorite sour beer was Lost Abbey’s Cuvee de Tomme. Using Judgment Day as its base, this beer is much more boozy and thick than most sours. Most noticeable are the huge notes of cherry and vanilla from the barrel aging. An honorable mention goes to Russian River’s Consecration. Again, a much more refined beer than the previous beer and exceptionally crafted.
Favorite Album: Every Time I Die – Ex Lives
Easily my most listened to album of the year thus far. I appreciate Keith Buckley’s lyricism more and more with each listen.
Favorite Beer: Silva Stout by Green Flash Brewing Co.
What a desert beer should be. Extremely glad I got a chance to taste this beauty.
Favorite Comic: Batman Annual #1
A phenomenal read that brings a twist to Mr. Freeze’s origin.
Favorite Game: LEGO Batman 2
Hard to imagine myself having more fun in a video game this year.
Favorite Movie: The Avengers
I tip my cap to Joss Whedon for making what I think is the best Marvel movie ever (I would like to note, however, that this pick was made before the release of The Dark Knight Rises).
Favorite Album: Rush – Clockwork Angels
I jumped right on Clockwork Angels the day it came out and instantly fell in love with it. The hard-rockin’ bass of Lee returns with a vengeance, as does Peart’s insane drumming style and technique. Lifeson has tweaked his guitar style once again as well, but pops a lot more than the harmonious strumming found in the previous album. I’m thoroughly impressed with this new release as it combines the mid-80s stylnigs of the band with their more recent tone, but with an added conviction comes out from Peart’s great lyrical skills.
Favorite Beer: Ruination Tenth Anniversary IPA by Stone
Stone’s Ruination Tenth Anniversary IPA has the crazy hop profile of the original, but explodes with fruitiness on both the nose and the palate. The beer is Stone’s love letter to double IPAs and hits the mark with aplomb.
Favorite Comic: Batman: The Black Mirror
Batman: The Black Mirror is both haunting and disturbing, with a visual style that is second to none. If there’s one Batman arc that is a must-read for those of you looking for something pre-52, this would be the one to look for. Next to Hush, Joker, and The Killing Joke, this might be one of my favorite Batman comics of all time.
Favorite Game: Pokemon Conquest
Pokemon Conquest’s game play is just as great as its concept, blending the tactics RPG style with pokemon stats systems. My hope is that Conquest becomes a mainstay of the Pokemon spin-offs, especially considering that this is the best one made since Pokemon Pinball.
Favorite Movie: Monsieur Lazhar
Of all the movies I’ve seen thus far in 2012, Monsieur Lazhar takes the cake as my favorite. In a triumphant blend of quiet somberness and heartfelt goodwill, the film tells the story of an Algerian man who substitute teaches an elementary school class that had just experienced the suicide of their former teacher within the classroom. Even today, after months having passed of watching this film, I still think about the raw humanism and perspicacity that is portrayed.