Ultimate 6er | The 2016 Evolution Fighting Game Championship Series
The world of eSports is vast and glorious; on the brink of mainstream acceptance through the understanding and mutual respect put into the time and skill of learning video games. There are games with underground followings like Counter Strike: Global Offensive and genres such as MOBAs that have reached the zenith of national sport. But today’s Ultimate 6er is centered around a breed settled when the quarters were slammed on the arcade cabinet in the days of yore: Fighting Games.
The Fighting Game Community or “FGC” has had a vigorous history through years of rigorous reinvention and a fervent, dedicated fanbase of thrill-seeking gamers. Beyond the coordination and strategy of other gaming tournaments, Fighting Games have an unmistakably thematic flair. The ups-and-downs of comeback, the mind game of predicting your opponent and the study of position create a viewing experience unlike any other. It’s just two players, two controllers, two characters drowning out the thousands of passionate fans to play the best match possible.
The peak of the FGC is found through the largest organized tournament in the world: The Evolution Championship Series or “EVO.” In the glitzy Las Vegas Convention Center, people travel all around for large cash prizes and to prove who is the greatest fighter in their respected game. And in this modern age, you can watch every single game throughout July 15th-17th thanks to broadcasting program Twitch.
For this epic, three-day weekend of fantastic, gladiatorial combat, I present to you the Ultimate 6er for the surprising pools and electric grand finals representing the major games played.
Street Fighter V
Tokyo Black | Yo-Ho Brewing Company
Karuizawa, Japan| American Porter | ABV: 5%
Street Fighter is the granddaddy of fighting games, no bones about it. From the legendary cast to the fine-tuned gameplay made Street Fighter a household name for the test of time. At every EVO, Street Fighter is the last game in the queue building up from most anticipated Finals Match every year, gaining the most entrants and players from around the world. This year, we’ll finally get to see the newest entry into the series with Street Fighter V bringing a rowdy new cast and technical systems for high-stakes, sharp gameplay.
Tokyo Black from Yo-Ho Brewing Company speaks to Street Fighter V so well as the king of Japanese craftsmanship. Capcom would change the world of video games by bringing Street Fighter to arcades just as Yo-Ho is the largest craft brewery in the country. The can itself is reminiscent of mainstays, featuring the cloudy twilight of Ryu’s original stage and a sumo like series regular E-Honda. This robust porter is ligtht, but punches through with aroma and flavor of coffee, baker’s chocolate, and roasted malts. It’s a beer that’ll make you stop and shout, “This is delicious!”
Mortal Kombat X
Apex Predator | Off Color Brewing
Chicago, IL | Farmhouse Ale | ABV: 6.6%
On the American side of fighting games, Mortal Kombat is the series we all know for blood and violence beyond anything at the time. The real life actors modeled into the game and the marketing behind the franchise made so unique and gaming staple for decades. Mortal Kombat X is perhaps the best game in the series to date, using a wonderful character style system and moving the story a generation forward for an explosion of great new cast members. Although Mortal Kombat beers are slated to come out, I thought we should choose a beer appropriate for Netherrealm Studios.
Chicago’s Off Color Brewing have made an unparalleled saison in Apex Predator. Dry hopped with Crystal hops, Apex Predator features a citrusy, peppery bite encased in a hazy, golden body. The complex, wild yeast works beautifully in tandem with unheated sugars and grains added to the wort. It leaves a giddy, delightful impression similar to those years ago when Ed Boon shocked our parents by showing a guy unveil to be a skull and set someone on fire.
Super Smash Bros. Melee / Smash for WiiU / Pokken Tournament
Trickster IPA | Black Raven Brewing Company
Redmond, WA | IPA | ABV: 6.9%
Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. is in a league all on its own due to it’s intense, platform-based brawling asthetic and legions of fans who support it. The game’s speed and more directional style of attacks created a whole new genre of fighting games through the craftsmanship and multiple franchises Nintendo is known for. The sequel, Super Smash Bros. Melee has had the most consistent, ever-thirsty fanbase back in the days of the Gamecube and continues to be played, although Smash 4 for WiiU has tons of fans. I’ve decided to put Pokken Tournament with these two has they both celebrate a unique, upfront style of combat featuring the universal charm of Pokemon.
By covering so many titles at once, Black Raven Brewing Company’s Trickster IPA felt like the most fitting choice. Hailing from Redmond, WA where Nintendo of Amerca’s HQ is located, Trickster IPA gives the piney prickling potency of an beer for veterans but a light fruitiness for newcomers to enjoy. And just as Trickster is a specific Pokemon technique, all these games focus more on tricky movement and quick impact versus the concentrated combos of its rivals. An all-year-round beer for the games you can find everywhere.
Defender IPA | The Brooklyn Brewery
Brooklyn, NY | Red IPA | ABV: 6.7%
Killer Instinct’s distinctive, 90s flair made it a goldmine for nonstop, brutal entertainment. After 17 years of hibernation, fans were skeptical of a reboot for Xbox One but it paid off wonderfully thanks to the concentrated effort of Double Helix Games and Iron Galaxy Studios. The new Killer Instinct made bold transition into the modern world, retaining the massive combos, notable characters and great music/stage design. It’s a fighting game that keeps on giving by still releasing memorable new characters and updates months after the release.
Brooklyn Defender IPA’s label screamed at me to make this list as The Defender may be the secret identity Killer Instinct’s own T.J. Combo. Nevertheless, Brooklyn Brewery’s west coast IPA brings a swift combo of toasty red malts and hop profile featuring Pilgrim, Willamette, Cascade, Mosaic, and Amarillo. Bringing out a resinous, hoppy punch and sweeping in a dry, bitter finish makes it great match for Killer Instinct’s intense, hardcore fights.
Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3
Ninja vs. Unicorn | Pipeworks Brewing Company
Chicago, IL | Double IPA | ABV: 8%
The Marvel vs. Capcom series has lived on the hype of watching colorful comic book characters clash against flashy video game fighters. The evolution from cabinet to console has continued the series greatness for exciting, gigantic cast filled with memorable assists, catchy anthems, and deadly combos. Why choose between Spider-Man and Strider Hiryu when you could have both! Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, the final stage in the trilogy has caused for the most tense, exciting moments in EVO History as a single touch can lead to an explosive comeback. And if you’re new to watching UMvC3, here’s a great spectator’s guide for the action.
For a fight game this tense and exciting, you want a beer that’s potent as it is wonderful and that is delivered through Pipework’s Ninja vs. Unicorn. It’s a blend of two things we love seeing together paying off in the way you absolutely want to see as a juicy Double IPA. The undeniable presence of tropical fruit from Zythos and Falconer’s Flight against the bitter barons of CTZ and Simcoe give the beer a delectable, joyful flavor at 8%. Just like the game that inspires the pairing, it’s a beer you can’t help but enjoy fast or slow.
Guilty Gear Xrd: Revelator
Barrel Fermented Gose-Style Ale Aged on Peaches | TRVE Brewing Company / Prairie Artisan Ales
Denver, CO | Gose | ABV: 4.9%
I’ve included Guilty Gear Xrd: Revelator on the list because it’s a fighting game more people need to be aware of. “Anime” looking fighters are considered a subgenre in the wide range of the FGC, but it’s a game that demands your attention as the best-looking fighter available. Arc System Works has crafted a Cel-Shaded Masterpiece; rendering an entirely new art style in 3D for a 2D space, layering sprites and traditional art when necessary. Guitly Gear Xrd: Revelator is fluid symphony in heavy metal inspired carnage backed by brilliant absurdity underneath a strong core gameplay. So if we’re to combine the most heavy metal inspired game with a heavy metal inspired brewery then we’d have a match made in Heaven and Hell.
You can’t avoid talking about the FGC without noticing the “salt.” The Barrel Fermented Gose-Style Ale Aged on Peaches is a perfect collaboration representing this video game from the metals masters at TRVE and the experimental artists at Prairie. This tart, funky ale comes through with a burst of peach flavor. The dry oak character brought from the barrels crescendos into tasty salt riffs on your tongue leaving an impactful, refreshing beer. A gose worthy of a cast featuring the likes of Sol Badguy, Axl-Low, and Slayer.
So if you happen to find these terrible tournament table beers around, kick back and enjoy this weekend of nonstop glory and skill. You can enjoy eSports as much as any physical sport and fighting games give you the visceral feel you want. And even after the epicness of EVO, just remember that Twitch gives you nonstop FGC enjoyment 24/7! So be sure to tune into the primary streaming channels to watch your favorite games and schedule the perfect weekend!
Get excited, get buzzed, and get hype!