The latest “Game of Thrones” beer hints at an impending inferno.
By Christopher Staten
Like millions of other fans who follow HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” I’ve writhed at brutal beheadings, worried for the crippled Little Lord of the north and—just between us—shed a tear or two in the aftermath of the Red Wedding. Sunday nights are an emotional rollercoaster, placated only by beer.
As a fan of the show and a professional beer geek, the collaborative union between Ommegang and HBO is as pleasing to me as a Tyrion-laid slap across King Joffrey’s face. Like the two “Game of Thrones”-inspired ales before—Iron Throne Blonde Ale and Take the Black Stout—the newest installment, Fire and Blood ale (gracing shelves Mar. 31), hints at future fates, both in flavor and in name.
This Belgian specialty red ale’s brewed with spelt, rye and ancho chilies, and washes over the tongue with a tightly woven, complex profile. It begins with classic bubblegum-and-banana Belgian yeast flavors; layer on a little pumpernickel bread, nutty spelt grains, a touch of fruity plum; and then finish with a subtle, foreshadowing breath of chili heat in the exhale—the result tastes like a witbier with a dark side.
Then, you wonder about the name. Fire and Blood, “a beer dedicated to Daenerys and her dragons.” Will the castle walls of Westeros crumble in a blaze? Will the Targaryen legacy finally spill the blood of her inherited enemies? Will Hodor ever say anything other than “Hodor”? Whatever happens during the season premiere Apr. 6, I’ll be prepared—with a pint of this new beer to wash down the anxiety.