Action Figures & Their Beers – The End is here

by Beedo Sookcool
on 2017-11-18, 03:28:57


Vocation Brewery of Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire (Est. MMXV) brings us this 6.5% ABV, lightly fizzy golden wonder of an IPA. I don’t have a “Life” figure to go along with it – well, I have a G.I. Joe Lifeline from 2011, but he’s in storage (big surprise). But I do have a Death, made by Hong Kong’s COO Model International Investment Limited as a special deluxe edition of their standard skeleton in preparation for the 2012 End of the World that didn’t happen. (Although, to look at the state of the planet these days . . . .) I especially like that they felt the need to point out on the box that it’s a “simulated human skeleton.”

AF&TB Life & Death . . . & DEATH

Anyway, this is a pretty darned good figure, and one of the very, very, very few 12”-scale figures I own. He’s a full-on skeleton under that robe, and nearly as poseable as one. I also learned too late that you need to heat up his hands with a hair dryer or boiling water if you’re going to swap them out, because the universal joints that hold them are . . . fragile, to say the least. Thankfully, he comes with spares. And of course, as a fan of Terry Pratchett’s novels, I just had to own this figure. Now I just have to wait and see if I can afford a 12”-scale white horse figure so he has a Binky to ride.

Positive aspects of this figure include a well-made fabric robe and hood, impressive scythe, surprisingly comprehensive articulation, nifty metal chain with skull finials (which I use as a belt on mine), a useful stand, a variety of swappable, differently-posed hands to get the “look” you desire, and looking totally BOSS and COOL wherever you choose to display him. Negative aspects include a large price tag, extreme scarcity, fragile joints that must be handled with extreme care when swapping parts, and the fact that he doesn’t come with a straw boater and cane.

The blurb on the beer can reads as follows: “Three kilos of hops and forty kilos of barley selflessly give their lives to brew every barrel of this beer. It’s a lot to ask, but their reincarnation as this life-affirming IPA makes their sacrifice worthwhile. Life & Death is a ballsy, US-style IPA. Expect flavours and aromas of tropical & citrus fruits, with a lingering bitterness set against a smooth malt backbone. Our beer is naturally hazy because filtering kills the flavour. Never pasteurised.”

It has a decent malty basis once it’s in your mouth, yes, but even before that, as soon as a sip nears your face, the fruit, flower, and resin aromas assault your nose and take no prisoners. And then once the first swallow is done, the malt is overpowered by all the other IPA notes. And normally, I’d hate that. But Life & Death makes them all work nicely together. You’ve got Malt, Flower, Fruit, and Resin storming into your head like the Four Horsemen of the Alepocalypse. I’m sure it would pair well with any savoury food you care to partake in, especially if you feel like murdering a curry, but it’s also great on its own, especially in large quantities, if you are looking to forget . . . .

Drink this if you also like: Head Hunter, fruity beers, complex and well-balanced IPAs

LAST WORDS: This is likely going to be my last run of AF&TB for a long time. If not forever. I’m having to cut down drastically on my alcohol consumption for money and health reasons, I’ve cut waaaaay back on my collecting (and put the bulk of it into storage), and I just won’t be able to keep up the pace I’ve maintained in AF&TB for the last nine years. (Writes the guy who posted one review in 2016.)

Who knows, though? There are new beers and new toys being produced all the time. There’s a possibility I may be able to sneak out the occasional one here and there in the future, but I can’t promise it, and certainly no more big seasons, no more binges, no more vast, sweeping series are in the works or expected. This is it, friends. This is, effectively, The End for AF&TB. It’s been a Hell of a ride, a great deal of fun to do.

I’d like to thank Bill for letting me run loose with this addle-pated idea of mine for so long, as well as my friendly and supportive readers for encouraging me to write and occasionally suggesting brews for my reviews. It has all been very much appreciated.

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