When I reviewed Take the Black Stout, one of the early releases in Brewery Ommegang’s Game of Thrones beer series, I boldly predicted that the increase in popularity of craft beer would lead to many tie-ins and marketing promotions between breweries and movies or TV shows. It’s been over a year and my prediction hasn’t really panned out. There is apparently a series of beers based on the Hobbit movies, but they are brewed in Washington and not distributed to the East Coast. Other than that I haven’t heard of any of these types of collaborations (feel free to pass along any that I might have missed). I’m not really sure why, these Game of Thrones beers seem to fly off the shelf. I would imagine there is some hesitancy to market using an alcoholic beverage, and that some brewers feel like this type of collaboration would be “selling out”. I personally think it’s a fun way for a brewer to be creative, trying to come up with recipes that relate to specific scenes or characters in a show or movie. The newest release in the Game of Thrones series is Valar Morghulis, a Belgian style dubbel. I am a fan of the Game of Thrones show as well as the books (anyone who reads this blog regularly should realize my geekiness extends well beyond beer), and love this beer title. Valar Morghulis is a popular saying in Braavos and means “all men must die” and the coin on the label plays an important role in the show and books. Ommegang chose the title and style after an online fan vote. Ommegang Valar Morghulis is brewed with a series of specialty malts, Belgian Candi sugar, and Apollo and Hallertau hops. It is sold in 750 mL bottles for a limited time.
Ommegang Valar Morghulis pours a deep amber with a moderate sand-colored head. The smell is a mixture of bready malts and a little fruity yeast. The taste is malt forward as you would expect from the style, touches of toasted bread, caramel, plum and raisin. The Belgian style yeast adds significant complexity with notes of apple, apricot, clove and pepper. The hops aren’t very evident in the flavor, but they dry out the finish a little and keep the beer from being too sweet. The beer is medium bodied and good to sip at 8% ABV. The fruity esters from the yeast come through more as the beer warms. This is a solid version of a Belgian dubbel, grab some for now or to enjoy with the premiere of the next season on HBO. You could even age a bottle until the next book comes out, it will still be good years from now and we might be waiting that long for a new book :). Hoppy Boston score: 4.0/5.
Previous Ommegang Reviews: