Beer homebrewers often say that there are few feelings as satisfying as popping the cap off the first bottle of a new batch you’ve been waiting a month to sample. I should know—I spent close to a decade brewing at home regularly, and even after dozens of batches it was always fun to try your first glass of a brand new homebrewed IPA or saison. It’s the reward that makes the weeks of cleaning, brewing and waiting involved in beer production worthwhile. Which begs the question: Do people really want to take part in the process when it doesn’t eventually result in a beer you can drink?
These game developers are apparently betting the answer is yes, because in 2022 you’ll be able to play Brewmaster, a simulator coming to all current consoles and PC that will allow players to run a fledgling brewery business. One part business simulator, one part art designer, and one part science lesson in the basics of brewing and fermentation, Brewmaster is the product of UK independent videogame studio Auroch Digital, in partnership with distributor Sold Out. You can see in the trailer below what this might all look like, although it’s clearly still very early footage.
Here’s how Auroch describes the game: “Discover, learn, and master the art of homebrewing in the ultimate celebration of craft beer. From perfecting authentic, chemistry-driven brewing techniques to bottling and labelling, become an ultimate brewmaster in the first ever realistic beer brewing experience. With all the tricks of the trade and the best equipment at your disposal, follow a recipe or experiment with a huge variety of real-world ingredients to hone your skills. Enter friendly competitions, earn beer tokens, and upgrade your equipment to become an even better brewer.”
The business aspect sounds like fun, I suppose, but for an experienced homebrewer it’s a bit hard to imagine the gamification of tasks like cleaning your brew kettles, putting caps on bottles, or sitting by the stove top while malt steeps and you try to maintain a specific temperature. The actual process of brewing tends to involve the micromanagement of many small tasks related to cleanliness and sanitization, which hardly makes for thrilling gameplay on the surface. Perhaps that’s to be expected, however, given that we’ve already written in depth about the rise of simulations, and players’ unexpected desire to play games that simulate blue-collar labor, such as Euro Truck Simulator. And for those who have never participated in homebrewing, Brewmaster could conceivably set them down the path that could even end up one day in their own professional brewery.
“We’re building Brewmaster on the science behind the real-life process of homebrewing to deliver an authentic, satisfying experience to players,” said Peter Willington, Creative Producer at Auroch Digital. “From newcomers to professional brewers and homebrewing hobbyists, we’re excited to give players the tools to craft their virtual dream brew, and have fun with the creative side of brewing without the in-depth knowledge required in the real world.”
Still… at some point, aren’t you going to really want to taste that beautiful beer you just designed? It’s hard to imagine that digital sips will be quite the same.