Liquid Diet: Ommegang’s Game of Thrones Iron Throne Blonde Ale
Tasting notes on the HBO blockbuster’s new imbibe-able accessory.
Welcome to Liquid Diet, where Christopher Hughes finds the extraordinary stories behind the people and places that quench the thirst of the Boston area.
It seems like nothing could improve the return of HBO’s best drama, the blockbuster that is Game of Thrones—that is, until you sample it alongside Ommegang’s limited-release Iron Throne Blonde Ale. Producers at HBO approached the Cooperstown brewery last year about collaborating on a joint project that would capture the essence of George R.R. Martin’s spirited realm. Head Brewer Phil Leinhart said that HBO targeted Ommegang as fans of the brewery, and because their “traditional brewing techniques and imagery blend well with the medieval feel of the show.”
The Iron Throne Blonde Ale is an easy-drinking introduction to more serious styles of Belgian beer. Brewed with both pilsner and honey malt, it has the nose and quenching drinkability of watermelon juice and the salty caramel notes found in a Werther’s Original. Ommegang also uses red wheat and finishes the brew by spicing it with grains of paradise and lemon peel, which lend the same spicy wheat character found in Belgian farmhouse ales.
“For the debut beer we started with something a bit lighter and less complex knowing that not all fans of the show are Belgian-style beer drinkers,” says Leinhart. “This beer is specifically a nod to Cersei Lannister, the mother of the current king. She has very fair blonde hair, which suggested a pale color beer. She also has a certain sweetness on the outside, but on the inside she’s pure evil, so we used different malts to create a certain sweetness, but with a firm bitterness to give it a little bite.”
The beer was released in Boston late last week and several prominent shops like The Craft Beer Cellar in Belmont and Ball Square Fine Wines were sold out well before the weekend. Fortunately, there’s a second Game of Thrones-inspired beer due out later in the year, and Ommegang will be brewing two new beers for each subsequent season. (Also, die-hards can now head to The Lower Depths and try some Iron Throne ale in bottle.)
If your favorite beer stop turned you away or you’ve simply given up hope of ever finding a bottle, check out Ommegang’s year-round offering, Hennepin, one of the best American saisons, and their newest seasonal, Gnomegang, a Belgian Strong Ale very much in the vein of Duvel.
Look for Ommegang Iron Throne Blonde Ale at The Lower Depths Tap Room in Kenmore Square.
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