Friday, March 29, 2013

Iron Throne Blonde Ale debuts with Game of Thrones Season 3 premiere

Posted By on Fri, Mar 29, 2013 at 11:59 AM

Those who care already know that Game of Thrones' Season 3 premiere airs this upcoming Sunday on HBO.

And of course, if you decide to start caring, blazing through the past two seasons on DVD can happen effortlessly. (Trust me.)

Brewery Ommegang Iron Throne Blonde Ale
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Forgive the employment of a Leffe glass, but it was optimal to highlight this Belgian-style brew.

Counter to that, if you opt to keep not caring, that doesn't mean you can't drink the new tribute beer, Iron Throne Blonde Ale, designed in collaboration with HBO and Cooperstown, N.Y.'s Brewery Ommegang.

I nabbed a bottle last night at Weber Street Liquor, where after owner Deven Perschke posted on Facebook that he got the 750-ml bottles in stock earlier in the day, nearly half of his two-case allotment disappeared quickly.

Hence my interest in bringing it to your attention now, before area liquor stores run dry.

If you aren't able to find a bottle, do at least take comfort in knowing that this is the first beer in a Game of Thrones series for the brewery, so you'll have other chances to imbibe some of the fantasy-world mystique.

On that note, here's a bunch of info from a press release I received this past December, followed by some of my tasting notes:

(COOPERSTOWN, NY) Brewery Ommegang and HBO are partnering on a series of beers inspired by the critically-acclaimed drama Game of Thrones. Launching in tandem with the season three debut on March 31, Iron Throne, a blonde ale, is the inaugural beer in the series and the result of a creative collaboration between Brewmaster Phil Leinhart and HBO.

Unlike previous efforts by brewers which were typically executed as ‘brewed under license’ arrangements or straightforward product placement pushes, the collaboration between Ommegang and HBO is focused on developing unique beers that are named and crafted to directly tie into themes and nuances of the medieval-like fantasy realm of Westeros and the surrounding kingdoms, where the competition to sit on the Iron Throne is fierce and deadly.

Both HBO and Ommegang take great pride in a shared reputation for producing the best in their respective fields: award-winning series that are lauded as some of the best written and produced programming on TV, and award-winning beers recognized as amongst the most elegant and well-crafted.

“We are extremely pleased to have selected Brewery Ommegang, while there’s a lot of competition in the marketplace, Ommegang’s expertise and attention to detail in the industry make them the perfect fit for the Game of Thrones brand,” said Josh Goodstadt, Director, Global Licensing, HBO. “Capturing the authenticity, essence and nature of the show, Iron Throne has the richness, quality and all of the elements one would expect in fine ale.”

“HBO has been the definitive producer of high-quality, innovative and ‘water-cooler-worthy’ original programming, and Game of Thrones continues that legacy,” said Simon Thorpe, President and CEO of Brewery Ommegang and Duvel Moortgat USA. “What better partner for our brewery which prides itself on re-imagining the best of beer? Game of Thrones is rich, fascinating, complex, daring and unexpected. Many lovers of Ommegang feel the same way about our fine ales. We think it’s a unique partnership for two unique brands.”

“No one enjoys their job more than I do — producing and developing new brews to delight lovers of fine beer,” said Phil Leinhart, Brewmaster at Brewery Ommegang, “Add to that the 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. With a Lannister currently on the throne, 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.”

Iron Throne will be nationally available on draft and in 750ml bottles, for the suggested retail price of $8.50 per bottle, beginning in mid- to late-March and will be followed by the launch of additional beers.

About Brewery Ommegang
Brewery Ommegang, part of the legendary Belgian brewer Duvel Moortgat family, opened in 1997 to craft-brew fine Belgian-style ales. Ommegang creates six ales year-round, as well as an extensive and imaginative range of seasonal and specialty ales. The beers have won a national following by connoisseurs of fine beer and are distributed in 45 states and internationally. Ommegang is located on a 136-acre farmstead in Cooperstown, New York, USA and offers free daily tours and inexpensive tastings as well as a 100-seat café, a well-stocked brewery store, and an annual calendar of public events. Ommegang is open every day of the year except for Christmas Eve Day, Christmas Day, Thanksgiving Day, and New Year’s Day. For more information, please contact info@ommegang.com, call 1-800-544-1809, or visit www.ommegang.com. Ommegang is a member of the Duvel family of fine beers. Follow Ommegang on Twitter: @BreweryOmmegang , Facebook.com/Ommegang, Instagram: @BreweryOmmegang

Presently, the beer is rating pretty high on both RateBeer and BeerAdvocate.

I concur that it's a great Belgian, and not to totally cop out here, but the description offered on Ommegang's website is difficult to best or elaborate on too much.

The high content of yeast sediment indeed creates a hazy golden color (not so much amber) and the bouquet, immediately upon popping the cork, is quite strong and beautifully aromatic.

The spice and citrus is definitely there in the finish, and the body is super-bready and yeasty and pretty much everything you could envision about the pure essence of a Belgian blonde.

Though heavy in the mouth and quickly filling in the gut, the beer has a relatively low ABV keeping it from walloping one's mental clarity like so many of the big imperials popular in today's marketplace.

All in all, it's an elegant homage to a thoroughly entertaining TV program (based off a now-classic book series beloved by many).

If you were looking to celebrate Sunday's premiere in some way other than the transfixed period of couch-lock, this is certainly a beer to pick up to create more pomp and ceremony — quite fitting for Game of Thrones' thematic framework.

Brewery Ommegang Iron Throne Blonde Ale
  • Matthew Schniper
  • In case you wanted a closer look at the cool label art, here it is in daylight.

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