Winter is coming with Ommegang’s latest release

Posted: April 11, 2014 by Franz Solo in Beer-to-go, Out-of-Town Brews
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Editor’s note: Franz Solo actually meant to release this review to coincide with GoT’s season premier last weekend. His work and mine got in the way. These things happen. Enjoy it before episode two debuts this Saturday. — Stoutmeister

Amid the ludicrous and interminable weather changes that are called “spring” in the Land of Enchantment, comes something to keep us all happily indoors — the return of HBO’s Game of Thrones. Brewery Ommegang of Cooperstown, N.Y., has continued their series of ales brewed in honor of this empire of awesome, and I had the chance to taste their latest offering: Fire and Blood.

Brewery Ommegang's latest entry in their Game of Thrones series of beers is Fire and Blood.

Brewery Ommegang’s latest entry in their Game of Thrones series of beers is the aptly-named Fire and Blood.

The inclusion of three distinct labels is excellent in my opinion. How can one not appreciate a fire-breathing dragon? The aroma on this beer is sweet and spicy, with definite Belgian characteristics. The head remains superb from start to finish, glorious and creamy all round. The flavor is warm and dry, with a crisp middle offering hints like green apple and banana walnut, with a bit of dried, bitter plum at the end.

As the beer warms, more IPA-style qualities and bite come through, but in the end, there is just a slight hint of fire in the beer, which is my one main gripe. Honestly, if you’re going to use dragons on your label, I expect, nay, I DEMAND more fire! That being said, the flavor and balance of this ale is very good indeed. I count four main styles represented in this one ale: strong red and Belgian qualities, crispness like a good pilsner, and a bit of chile to round it out.

Of the two beers in this series I have tried (Take the Black Stout and this), I definitely enjoyed this one more than the former, which left me a bit wanting (Untappd rating aside). In terms of beers, this is a wonderful experiment which just happens to bear the name of one of my absolute favorite series of novels and television adaptations. I rated this a 4.5 on Untappd, wanting only a bit more fire either from spice or alcohol content to put it in the upper echelon of beers. This is not one for everyone — there will be those who do not appreciate the complexity of multiple levels of flavor — but I for one say drink and be merry for as they say: “Winter is Coming!”

Prost!

— Franz Solo

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