Beer and fantasy geeks, rejoice! Game of Thrones, the fantasy series adapted from the novels by George R. R. Martin, is about to get its own series of beers, thanks to a recently announced collaboration between HBO and Brewery Ommegang of Cooperstown, New York.
What we like about this collaboration is that it's not just about the hype, unlike most "brewed under license" products that simply wrap generic beer in a marketing campaign.
Phil Leinhart, brewmaster at Brewery Ommegang, explained that it's an "opportunity to collaborate on a beer based on the cultural phenomenon of Game of Thrones and exploring ways to make the beer truly reflect aspects from the show. It made us approach development in a completely new way, and I think the first edition, Iron Throne, reveals that."
The Iron Throne, of course, is the seat of the king of the Seven Kingdoms, forged from 1,000 swords that were surrendered to Aegon the Conqueror in an act of fealty by lords during the War of Conquest. It took 59 days of hammering and the fiery breath of Aegon's dragon, Balerion the Black Dread, to form the throne.
Despite all of this badass lore, season two of Game of Thrones left us with a punk-ass, whiny, blond-haired, nasty little boy king sitting on the throne. How will this impact the beer?
"With a Lannister currently on the throne," Leinhart said, "it made sense to do a delicate but piercing Golden Blonde Ale with noble hops. Iron Throne is certainly fair in color and soft in appearance, yet it still possesses a complexity and bite to be on guard for."
Given the fact that Ommegang — owned by the brewers of Duvel — specializes in brewing Belgian-style beers, we're expecting something Belgianesque. A closer look at the beer's label reveals that it's going to be a 6.5-percent-alcohol-by-volume ale, brewed with lemon peel and grains of paradise (dried seeds that offer flavors of pepper, citrus, herb, wood, and spices) and best served at 40 degrees Fahrenheit (in a kingly chalice, of course).
The beer and GoT geeks inside us hoped they would've created a brew in honor of the Iron Throne itself, versus the last person to sit on it. You know, something formidable and demanding of a bow or curtsy. Maybe next time? The New York Times reported that Ommegang and HBO plan on releasing a second GoT beer next fall, with at least two more after that to coincide with subsequent seasons.
Iron Throne Blonde Ale will be released in mid-to-late March in keg and 750-milliliter bottle formats, at a suggested retail price of $8.50 per bottle. Regional Ommegang representatives informed us that Massachusetts will be getting 280 cases (with 12 25.4-ounce bottles each) and 60 sixtels (5.16 gallons each).
Ommegang is planning release tastings in the Boston area to coincide with season three of Game of Thrones, which kicks off on March 31. Word on the street is that BeerAdvocate will be partnering with Ommegang to launch Iron Throne. Stay tuned for more.
Built in 1997 on the former home of a hops farm, Brewery Ommegang turns out six Belgian-style ales full-time, plus seasonal and specialty brews — which should tide you over till the Iron Throne Blonde Ale arrives. Find local retailers at ommegang.com.
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