As a kid growing up, the game of Super Trumps baffled me. I had no real interest in cars or aircraft or battleships and so a game that required me to take an interest in the total displacement of the Bismarck or the maximum climb rate of a Spitfire vis-à-vis a Messerschmitt held no attraction for me. Still, there were assorted compulsives amongst my friends for whom the horsepower of a particular model of Jag or the number and calibre of the guns on some long-sunken battleship mattered dearly. Super Trumps was a game for them.
Now as a grown up with a passionate interest in beer, statistics such as OG, IBU, EBC and ABV are of vital concern to me. It was with interest then that I received a sample of a new card game called Beer Cards from a company in Belgium. The company’s self-proclaimed mission is to “gather the vast community of beer enthusiasts in the world through an original and unexplored support, the card game, while at the same time valuing the diversity and tradition in beer making, along with a noble approach of responsible consumption.”
The result is a Trump-style card game in which – in the first series – a wide selection of Belgian beers are presented with characteristics such as malts, hops, roast, fruit and bitterness of the beers presented on a 5 point scale. As per Super Trumps, the object is to select a card and from it choose a characteristic that beer is particularly strong in. Other players read out their value for that characteristic with the highest rating beer trumping the others.
In addition to the trump characteristics, each card presents a brief history for the beer, serving temperature and food matches and so assists to fill in your beer knowledge for the beers involved.
So far as the game goes, I’m not sure that it will be the next Trivial Pursuit in terms of being picked up by the wider community but I can see that it would be a fun distraction over a few cold ales with some beer-minded mates. With the trump characteristics being fairly subjective measures on a five point scale (as opposed to more objective measures such as IBU or EBC), I can see that it could provide some robust discussion particularly when a beer such as Stella is accorded a “malts” score of 3.5, the same as Chimay Bleue. But that would be no different to the “I don’ t care what the card says, my Hurricane would shoot down your ME109” debates that took place in the playground. It’s just a different playground…and as opposed to battleships, with beer, you actually get to put it to the test.
Beer Cards are not yet available in Australia. Anyone interested in distributing them can contact the makers here.