Friday, February 4, 2011

Bugman's Best

As a gamer and a homebrewer, I enjoy reading about how beer/spirits work their way into the gaming world. My favorite type of fantasy character to play are dwarves, and I enjoy reading about dwarves in Dragonlance, or Warhammer, or just good ole Forgotten Realms (Bruenor Battlehammer).

Well, in the Warhammer books, there are constant references to a master brewer Joseph Bugman, who makes the best beer in the world, which he calls Bugman's Best.

So the question is: What kind of beer is Bugman's Best. And more importantly, could I recreate it?

I believe that Bugman's Best is an Imperial Russian Stout. And I'll tell you why.

I actually do know something about beer. I think I'm fairly good at making it, and I'm really good at drinking it. I made an Old Ale, which I called Owlbear, and it won 3rd place at the Iowa State Fair.

There are plenty of clues in the writing to lead us to what the proper beer is. Dwarves love strong, high gravity beers. None of that sissy elven sugar water, or that thin human beer. That makes me think that the ABV has to be over 8%. Something like a Imperial Stout, or Dopplebock. Almost a substitute for food. And there's also hints that Dwarven beer has restorative properties, which might lead us to what the authors are referencing in the real world.

Also, there's a Warhammer online game where they say this:

"Action Name: Bugman's Best

Description: You carefully unpack a mini-keg of rare and precious Bugman's Finest Stout with reverential awe. For the next 15 seconds, the faint vapors escaping from the keg will rejuvenate any allies within 30 feet of it, restoring 60 health every 3 seconds. You dream of the day that the brew will be aged enough to actually tap and drink."

You rejuvenate simply by smelling the vapors! Gotrek would love that!

Get over here, Manling. You've got some remembering to do!

So I've been looking around the intertubes for what others have thought and have come up sort of empty, so I just figured I'd ask Gav Thorpe himself. So I sent him an email. Here's the exchange.

"When you wrote Grudgebearer what type of beer did you have in mind when you wrote about Bugman's Best?

I want to try to create my own version for my friends. I have it in my head that it should be a Russian Imperial Stout, but I could be way off base with that. Any guidance would be great. Thanks!"
And here's what he said.

Hi there,

I admit that I didn't have any particular type of brew in mind for Bugman's Best, but your suggestion of a stout would certainly fit in with Dwarf brewing ethos. Something that will hang around in your beard for a day or two after drinking so that the gift keeps on giving!



He didn't say Yes, but he didn't exactly say No either. I'm playing with the recipe, and I have my first one done. It's a 6.5% Irish Dry Stout.

Anyone want to give it a test drive?
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