Kingbeast's Lair

Growling about the RPG industry and my gaming life. RPG and anime reviews from a passionate fan. (Formerly John's Hero HQ.)

B.O.T.Y. Call!

March 14, 2021 By: John Taber Category: Product Reviews

During the Pandemic I have been ordering craft beers from various establishments. In fact I ordered from 8 different craft breweries. I not only want to support local small businesses but I want to find some awesome beer as well. This blog post is the summary of my beer adventure over the last year. I am calling it…


I will pick some arbitrary categories. In each category I will pick one beer that blew me away and one runner-up. Finally I will pick a BEER OF THE YEAR and BREWERY OF THE YEAR.

Ales And Pilsners

I added 3 beers to my favorites list in this category this year. The winner is a surprise. I pick Side Of Rice from Moonlight Brewery. Side Of Rice is a wonderfully light and crisp beer from the folks who make Death & Taxes. (Death & Taxes is a well known stout beer of theirs.) Sermin really liked this one as well. (FYI. Sermin likes, “Beers that taste like beer.” )


Side Of Rice from Moonlight Brewing


Pool Haus from Bare Bottle Brewing


Unlike ales and pilsners I added a lot of IPA to my favorites list this year (eg 8). The competition is fierce in this category. The winner here was amazing. You can read more about it later. Hint hint. Final Fantasea from Humble Sea Brewing. The runner up was tough but edging out Pliny The Elder from Russian River is Giants Grove from Bare Bottle Brewing. Bare Bottle took home a lot of runner-up trophies. Hint hint.


Final Fantasea From Humble Sea Brewing


Giants Grove from Bare Bottle Brewing


The stout category was another hot contested category. I added 9 beers to my favorites list this year! The winner is CBS (aka Canadian Barrel Stout) from Founders. CBS is dark, rich, and smooth. This one knocked me out of my chair. Not a tiny brewery, Founders has a lot of great stuff. This one might be the easiest to find on the list. The runner up was Maple Coco Gnar Gnar from Humble Sea Brewing.


CBS from Founders


Maple Coco Gnar Gnar from Humble Sea


I added 3 to the list but all were pretty great. The winner is Chronicale from Pizza Port Brewing. This is one that Steve recommended to me and it did not disappoint. Nice texture, rich flavor, and tastes like an amber. This was Sermin’s favorite beer of the year. She wants me to buy more of it. The runner-up was also a recommendation from Steve!


Chronicale from Pizza Port Brewing


Colossus Of Clout from Strike Brewing

Belgium Beers

I tried 5 or 6 during the year but only one made the favorites. Again a recommendation from Steve. Steve knows his beer. Brother Thelonius from North Coast Brewing. This one has a wonderful finish, a nutty flavor, and is a joy to drink. I also got one of their cool t-shirts. Of the 5 or 6 I tried most were Belgium beers from Belgium. North Coast blew them all away. No runner-up here at all.


Brother Thelonius from North Coast


My BOTY is Final Fantasea from Humble Sea. I was able to get 4 packs during the release. I poured it into my glass and smelled it. Tart and fruity. I took a sit then stood there…stunned. I took another sip. The flavor, the complexity, the hops. This is one of the best beers I have ever tasted. It is off the charts amazing.


Final Fantasea from Humble Seas


The BOTY runner-up is actually another IPA. Giants Grove from Bare Bottle was another winner IPA that I tried this year. Giants Grove has a spruce sort of flavor and just the right amount of hops. This one is wonderful.


The BREWERY OF THE YEAR was super easy to pick…Humble Sea. I tried 4 different beers from them and I everything was very good. Also they produce new beers WEEKLY and ship for FREE to Santa Clara. Win. Win. Win.

Humble Sea


The runner-up here was tough but I am going with Bare Bottle. Two of the runner-up entries are from them. I ended up ordering from them twice as they are a Santa Clara brewery and I wanted to support local guys. 🙂

Aeropress vs Pure Over

March 03, 2021 By: John Taber Category: Product Reviews

A friend on Facebook asked me to compare the Pure Over and Aeropress. For those not up coffee brewers this is comparing the old standby (aka the Aeropress) to the upcoming challenger (aka the Pure Over).

What are these?

The Aeropress is comprised of 2 plastic pipes and a plastic filter cover that when combined act as sort of a “coffee plunger”. You put in a circular paper filter, coffee, and hot water then plunge directly into a cup. In some ways this is closer to an old school coffee press just much better designed. I own two Aeropress. I have one of the older models and a new model. I love them both but I like the newer model a bit better. You can get them in a complete kit for $35 at Amazon.


  • Brews a cup in 20 seconds following the instructions. Maybe 60 seconds including the cleanup time! Fast.
  • The coffee is hot.
  • Super easy cleanup. Pop the coffee puck into the trash then under the faucet.
  • No grounds in the cup at all. The filter works great.
  • Indestructible. Can be safely put in a backpack, suitcase, etc.


  • Uses paper filters. They are cheap but it still uses them.
  • If you want to wash all of the plastic components I have always done so by hand.
  • The resulting coffee is a bit on the mellow side when compared to the Pure Over.

The Pure Over is a glass decanter with an associated glass filter diffuser top. You put the coffee in the decanter, put on the glass diffuser top then pour in the hot water. The Pure over is really a straight pour over device just with no paper filter at all. It is glass, coffee, and hot water.


  • No filters. Glass + coffee + hot water.
  • Easy cleanup. Wipe out the coffee grounds into the roses then run under the faucet. Potentially clean out the ceramic base a bit too.
  • Rich and bright cup of coffee.
  • Dishwasher safe.


  • Coffee takes at least 2 minutes to brew and at the end I need to stir it softly as the instructions suggest.
  • Coffee takes time to brew and it not as hot when you are done.
  • You need to use a bit more coffee than the Aeropress to get good results.
  • Grounds do make it into the cup. I use a conical burr grinder set on course and still get a wash of coffee grounds in the bottom of the cup.
  • I am not coordinated. I feels like I am walking around eggshells when the Pure Over is on my coffee cup. It seems really fragile.
  • Costs more than the Aeropress.

My Take

Before I jump into my choice and why I want to point out that both of these devices are freakin’ amazing. They both work great and get you a super cup of coffee.

If you want to impress your friends with an amazing cup of coffee pull out the Pure Over. If you want a great day-to-day brewer get the Aeropress.

And the winner is…the Aeropress. I adore the speed, cleanup, and durability.

Blade Wars 2!!!

January 01, 2021 By: John Taber Category: Uncategorized

My current supply of double-edged razor blades was getting low and I found a variety pack on Shave Nation so I decided it is time for…[ turn on booming announcer voice ]…B L A D E    W A R S    2  !!!

I ran each blade through a not very scientific test using my face each morning.  I ran each blade for four shaves (aka 4 days).  After the first shave and the last shave I took down some brief notes.  Blades will be rated on a scale of 1 Poor to 5 Great.  For many of the blades I ran them again and updated my notes.  On some I adjusted the score up or down slightly.  Finally at the very end I ran the blade that won in the last Blade Wars and compared it to these blades.

I used a Rex Envoy Closed Comb Safety Razor and two different shaving creams over the course of the testing.  I started with “Omega Crema da barba” then moved to “Jermyn Street Collection – Shaving Cream For Sensitive Skin” near the end.

These are presetned in order of star rating:

1 Star

  • Wilkinson Sword – Blades came in a fancy plastic box.  Individual blades are wrapped in wax paper.  The first shave was rough and the blade felt like it was cutting my skin.  Got nicked on the second shave and still felt sharp.  I nearly dropped this one on day 2.

2 Star

  • Derby Extra – Blades came in a plastic box.  Each blade is wrapped in wax paper.  The first shave the blade cut in a bad way.  The 3rd day the shave did not feels close.  I was cut on the last day.
  • Gillette Nacet – Paper box with easy opening end.  Individual blades are wax paper wrapped and one stuck badly.  Scratched me on the first shave.  Was dull on the last shave.

3 Star

  • Astra Superior Platinum – Paper box with easy opening end.  Individual blades are wax paper wrapped and one stuck badly.  The first shaved pulled over my face in a bad way.  Once it got going it worked better.  Got nicked on the last shave.
  • Feather New Hi-Stainless – Blades come in a plastic box.  Each blade is wrapped in wax paper that did not stick.  The first shave was rough.  It did not feel close after finishing.  On the 3rd day is was sharp and I cut myself.
  • Kai Stainless Steel Double-Edged Blade – Blades come in a paper package with no easy opening end.  Each blade is wrapped in paper that is not waxed.  The first shave grabbed a bit then got smoother.  Worked well on the thin hairs.  On the last shave it cut a bit.
  • Personna Platinum – Blades came in a paper box that did not have an easy opening end.  Each blade is wrapped in wax that did not stick for me.  Great first shave!  Second was close as well.  The last shave felt rough and dull.

4 Star

  • Voskhod Bocxod – Paper box with easy opening end.  Individual blades are wrapped in normal paper.  The first shave was smooth and nice.  On the 3rd day the blade felt sharp in a bad way.  Got nicked but shave was still pretty close.

5 Star

  • Gillette 7’Oclock – Paper box with easy opening end.  Individual blades are nicely wrapped in wax.  This is the blade that won Blade Wars 1.  The first shave was amazing!  Soothe and close.  Day 4 the blade still shaved close and neat.
  • Gillette Silver Blue – Paper box with easy opening end.  Individual blades are paper and wax wrapped.  They are wrapped in a way they makes them nice to open.  Nice first shave!  Pulled a bit but clean.  Really smooth second day and strong finish.

The winner of Blade Wars 2 is the winner of Blade Wars 1…the Gillette 7’Oclock.  Saying that the Gillette Silver Blue came in a very close second and will definitely get some of my hard earned shaving cash.

Let me know if you have any thoughts or comments.