As a precursor, I must admit that I have never seen an episode of HBO’s Game of Thrones, nor have I read the allegedly plot-heavy books by George R.R. Martin. This shouldn’t disqualify me from writing about the Blonde Ale brewed by Cooperstown, NY’s Brewery Ommegang in collaboration with HBO. Thus, you won’t find corny (and forced) comparisons like “the beer poured the color of the crown placed on such-and-such a characters head” or “this beer was as complex and satisfying as the plot line at the end of season two.” My lack of knowledge of the show doesn’t discredit my ability to write about the beer or compromise my reviewing, as I won’t be blinded by the “oh-crap-do-I-have-to-write-something-good-about-my-favorite-show” conundrum.
There’s a little shame in admitting that I don’t know much about Brewery Ommegang, besides that they make Belgian-style beers and their brewery’s campus is supposedly one of the best brewery trips a person can take. Before this beer, I’d only had their Three Philosophers, a quadrupel ale. Their motto, “Everything for a Reason,” does what a good motto does, which is encourage the consumer to consider what they’re about to, well, consume. But I digress.
What I do know about Game of Thrones is that people who like Game of Thrones, like Game of Thrones.
And as a fan of a similarly obsessed over, but now-finished show (LOST), I respect that.
And, if you like Game of Thrones and you like craft beer, I would recommend this 6.5% ABV Blonde Ale from Ommegang. The beer can be found both on taps—I’ve seen it at my local haunt, The Barking Dog Ale House in Haverhill (reviewed in the Dig here)—and in 750 ml bottles.
I drank this beer after a long Sunday in the sun while I grilled on my back porch. Why is this important?
It’s important for three reasons: A) It was a perfect complement to the sunny, warm weather because drinking is one of the things enhanced by being outside, B) Spring is a time for drinking lighter (in color, of course) beers and, while this is moderately strong, it’s a good beer to share, and C) Game of Thrones is on Sunday nights.
As I grilled, I poured this beer into a becker glass, put on some music, and fired up the charcoal. The beer goes down smooth, punctuated by a potent Belgian yeast note in the middle and a slightly hoppy finish. The brewery describes the beer as, “finish is crisp, backed by a touch of spice and hops. Its aroma is a bit grassy with a hint of lemon fruitiness from the lemon peel. The taste is lightly malty, rounded by honey malt sweetness.”
Belgian beers have a lot of complexity and I haven’t yet enjoyed them in full–I don’t know if it’s a lack of awareness of Belgian beers or lack of knowledge about breweries that offer quality Belgian-style beers—and no doubt Ommegang is one of them. There are few opportunities to hit upstate New York unless it’s a beer-centric trip, but I heard there’s a pretty solid baseball museum in Cooperstown. In this town, I’ll find a taker for that trip for sure.