Brewmaster: Beer Brewing Simulator

The simulator video-game genre has exploded over the past decade or so. You can now simulate almost anything, from thievery to mowing the lawn to having a house party to running a seedy internet café. And with so much variety in the genre, you never quite know whether a particular game will lean into the simulation side versus the more gamey aspects, or if it will just present an outright bizarre narrative (like Goat Simulator).

Brewmaster: Beer Brewing Simulator focuses on the simulation side rather than spectacle, and as a result, you have a solid — if not also barebones — approach to making digital suds.

The premise is as simple as it can get: You are a brewer new to the scene, looking to make a name for yourself as a brewmaster. Each season you get a new edition of Brewmaster’s Quarterly, the in-game beer brewing aficionados magazine. This publication serves as your source for jobs, recipes to complete those jobs, a storefront for purchasing the ingredients needed for those recipes, and other general info, tips, and stats.

Brewmaster: Beer Brewing Simulator

I will say that the magazine — as well as your journal — leaves something to be desired in terms of clarity. It can be difficult to navigate the different tabs and submenus and digest the walls of text they provide.

You can always venture off the beaten path and attempt to craft recipes of your own, or even tweak those offered in the story mode, but I find that sticking to the text — at least in the early game — is a wise choice for starters. It’s after you really understand all of the steps involved in crafting a brew when you should start getting really creative. That said, the steps in the process are fairly straightforward once you learn them, and they seem to deviate very little from that beaten path. Mostly it is the ingredients and one’s level of proficiency in following them that will determine the result of your final product.

And once you’ve concocted your special brew, you then take it to the tasting room to have it assessed, which factors in a wide range of features like color, clarity, and even details about the various notes and attributes. If you manage to craft a brew worthy of the job, you can then design the label and even bottle type, as well as the style of glass that accompanies the bottle in the assessment menu. Figuring out how to tweak these elements can be a little tricky, and the various sliders are kind of opaque about what they actually do, but the game does let you get a little imaginative with the final product.

Brewmaster: Beer Brewing Simulator

This leads me to the main issue I had with Brewmaster: It isn’t always clear about how a system or item works, or what a number of the stats along the brewing process mean. Or rather, I don’t always know what can change the makeup of an intended brew, or where things can go wrong or surprisingly right. For example, early on, I was crafting a specific beer that had bonus ABV and flavor requirements. I didn’t think I hit either, yet upon submission, I completed the job with flying colors. I’m still not sure how I pulled that one off. It felt kind of random.

But general quirks aside, Brewmaster: Beer Brewing Simulator is a solid entry in the simulator genre. For homebrew enthusiasts, it could even be a handy — if not simplistic — tool to help one break down the steps and understand the process a little bit better. Perhaps you could even apply this knowledge to the real-world process of making beer at home. In this regard, it reminded me a lot of PC Building Simulator, which my partner actually applied toward better understanding how to build a PC before she did it in real life.

Overall, Brewmaster: Beer Brewing Simulator is a solid bit of brewing fun. It’s a little dry by nature, and in some instances can a bit opaque and slightly clumsy in execution. I should point out that I played this on PS5 with the DualSense controller, and I couldn’t help but feel that this is the type of game that screams for a mouse instead of the analog stick on your controller.

Brewmaster: Beer Brewing Simulator

Although it is simplistic and kind of barebones, I think Brewmaster nails the basics. I do think there’s some room to grow with future DLC, should there be any intention from the developer to support this title after launch. I can even see the potential for crossovers with real-world craft beers, like our hometown’s Surly or maybe Kona. I would love to see featured recipes from theses brewing companies.

Brewmaster: Beer Brewing Simulator is itself a glass half full of a no-frills Pilsner. It’s enough to get you to where you’re going, but without the song and dance of a more flamboyant brew.

Disclaimer: I was given a review code for Brewmaster: Beer Brewing Simulator on PS5, but the opinions expressed in this article are my own.

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