Beer Review: Ommegang Iron Throne Blonde Ale, the 'Game of Thrones' Beer
After its debut at SXSW in Austin, Texas, earlier this month, Brewery Ommegang’s Iron Throne Blonde Ale is rolling out across the U.S. in the next couple of weeks, just in time for the March 31 season premiere of Game of Thrones. The first of several Ommegang beers themed after the HBO series, Iron Throne was crafted with the plot of the medieval fantasy in mind.
Brewmaster Phil Leinhart has said he was going for a "delicate but piercing" beer, in reference to the evil Lannister currently atop the throne in question, something "fair in color and soft in appearance," but with "complexity and bite to be on guard for." That seems like a tall order, but we’re pleased and impressed to report he pretty much nailed it.
We had the opportunity to try Iron Throne poured from a 750-milliliter bottle into an elongated tulip glass. The liquid has a very light haze and is indeed fair, even lighter than the "golden amber" suggested by the official description. An extremely fluffy, bright white head lingers for just long enough, holding its shape through the first several sips.
Probably thanks to secondary fermentation yeast used in bottle conditioning, bubbles continue to rise from the bottom of the glass long after it’s poured. A slightly sour aroma combines with the undeniable scent of yeasty bread — this brew smells like classic beer.
It’s when you taste Iron Throne that the complexity and bite make themselves known. A slight sweetness meets the tip of your tongue, supplanted by a spicy bitterness and citrus tang as it washes through your mouth. As you swallow, the sour yeast flavor takes over, but it doesn’t stick around; instead you are greeted by a crisp finish with edges of honey. The aftertaste is almost cucumber-like in its freshness. (Post-beer "kissability," as we like to call it, is high.)
We allowed our beer to reach the recommended 40 degrees Fahrenheit before pouring, so there wasn’t much change in temperature as we sipped through the glass. However, as you become familiar with the strong flavors in the beer, subtler notes come through. Hops enter the aroma, and the peppery taste of the grains of paradise included in the brew becomes obvious. The lacing is impressive, coating the glass in large swirls.
Iron Throne will be available in the large-format bottles like the one we tried and also on draft. Look for it in all of Ommegang’s markets, which include every state except Mississippi, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Montana. Recommended food pairings are cheese and charcuterie, perfect for enjoying at your Game of Thrones premiere party.
— Danya Henninger, The Drink Nation
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Beer Review: Ommegang Iron Throne Blonde Ale, the Game of Thrones Beer
Brew Review: Ommegang Iron Throne Blonde Ale (Game of Thrones)
Brewery : Ommegang
Brew: Iron Throne Blonde Ale
Their Take: Iron Throne is a blonde ale at 6.5% ABV and brewed with a robust amount of pils, honey malt, aroma malts and red wheat. Gentle hopping includes Styrian Golding and Hallertau Spalter Select, appropriately noble hops. Spiced with grains of paradise and lemon peel. Hue is a slightly hazy golden amber. Head is full and fluffy. Finish is crisp, backed by a touch of spice and hops. Aroma is a bit grassy with a hint of lemon fruitiness from the lemon peel. Taste is lightly malty, rounded out by honey malt sweetness.
First, let me point out what this beer is not, as I’ve read criticism of the beer that I feel it is not due. Iron Throne is not a beer designed for the beer geeks of the world, not a beer meant to be mulled over and critiqued on every level. It is a beer designed for the masses, for a large audience who will buy anything with the name of their favorite series on it. Many people who couldn’t give a damn about what hops and malts are used, or what else Ommegang has to offer, have sought out this beer solely for the purpose of enjoying it during its namesake show. The beer is a marketing ploy, a gimmick meant to get people to purchase beer from a brewery they may not typically buy from, to get the name Ommegang out of the beer world and into the mainstream.
That being said, I’ll admit I bought a few bottles solely to drink while watching the premiere and finale of Season 3 of Game of Thrones. I didn’t go into it thinking this was going to be an earth shattering beer, sure to vault up my list of favorites, and in that sense Iron Throne did not disappoint. I found it to be overcarbonated and a bit bland, if not downright lite. The aroma had a faint hint of spice and lemon, a bit grassy as the description says. It was very easy to drink, but I really thing that’s what they were going for. They didn’t want a niche beer like a Tripel or an IIPA, as this beer needed to appeal to a different type of audience. What Iron Throne ended up being, a very drinkable light ale, is exactly what I think Ommegang was going for – a nonoffensive beer that would appeal to the wide audience HBO and the Game of Thrones name would bring them. As this is the first in a series of beers, I hope they get a little more daring for the next release, but I really can’t blame them for playing it safe on the inaugural beer. If you’re a fan of the show, I recommend picking up a bottle and giving it a shot with these thoughts in mind. If nothing else, you’ll have an awesome Iron Throne label to add to your collection.
Due to the nature of this beer and review, I skipped my normal ranking system and went with just the Untappd score I gave it.
5 comments on &ldquo Brew Review: Ommegang Iron Throne Blonde Ale (Game of Thrones) &rdquo
Glad to finally see a positive review. I read a lot of negative ones so I haven’t tried. But I love Game of Thrones! I think you’re right about what they were going for and it didn’t need to be critiqued on every beer level! lol
The way some of the initial reviews read, it was like Ommegang personally offended them by putting this beer out. Sometimes beer just needs to be taken at face value and not given a full BJCP rundown haha. Thanks for stopping by, cheers!
Game Of Thrones Beer: Taste Testing Ommegang's New Iron Throne Blonde Ale
On HBO's hit series "Game of Thrones," winter is coming. Thankfully, the beer is already here.
Ommegang Brewery started shipping its new Iron Throne Blonde Ale on Saturday, and the bottles are hitting stores across the country this week, giving fans plenty of time to stock up in advance of the HBO adaptation's season three premiere on March 31.
Those with a working knowledge of the Dothraki language are likely to stock up no matter what, but what about the rest of us? Novelty value aside, is the beer actually worth drinking?
We recruited two home-brewers to help us decide.
But first, the nuts and bolts of the beer: Ommegang's brewers developed the Iron Throne Blonde Ale as a fermented stand-in for evil House Lannister, the family that ruled Westeros at the end of season two. The brewers chose a blonde ale to match the color of the Lannisters' hair. The beer is brewed with noble hops, grains of paradise and citrus peel to give it some Lannister bite.
In practice, the beer tastes a lot like several of Ommegang's other beers, especially its top-selling Witte, with a bit of a bitter, hoppy kick at the end.
While the beer mostly fits within the official style guidelines of a "Blonde Ale," they noted its higher ABV of 6.5% and slightly more assertive malt profile give it a bit more weight than your typical blonde, edging it toward saison territory.
A pour reveals decent head retention, minimal lacing and a floral, citrusy aroma. High amounts of carbonation kept our experts' tongues tingling through light notes of what one determined to be "caramel bananas," a medium-bodied, fruity, mouthfeel and a squeaky-clean finish.
One expert commented, this is "a blonde for beer lovers" geared "so my mom could drink it." Another remarked on its "approachable complexity," with a heavy emphasis on its drinkability over its memorability.
But would they cough up $8.50 or so for a 750ml bomber?
"Oh, yeah," they readily agreed.
Though there was disappointment the beer wouldn't include a drinking horn of the sort featured in the show, our experts said they would pick up a bottle or two to enjoy with the "Game of Thrones" premiere -- or to wash down pizza while playing A Game Of Thrones: The Board Game.
If blonde ale and Joffrey Lannister aren't your thing, don't fret: Ommegang plans to release at least three more "Game of Thrones" beers in collaboration with HBO. One is expected later this year, and two others are expected in 2014.
Ommegang's first Game of Thrones Beer, the Iron Throne Blonde Ale, is available in all 45 states where Ommegang is sold. For specifics, use the beer locater on Ommegang's website.
PHOTO of the beer:
Ommegang’s newest ‘Game of Thrones’ beer: Is this the end?
COOPERSTOWN, NY -- The eighth, and presumably final, season of the HBO series “Game of Thrones” makes its debut April 14.
So will the latest, and possibly final, “Game of Thrones”-themed beer made by Brewery Ommegang near Cooperstown.
The beer is called For the Throne, and it’s an especially complex creation for what may be the end of the cross-promotion between GoT and Ommegang.
For the Throne starts as a Belgian strong golden ale, at 9.5 percent alcohol. But it’s also made with grape juice (pinot grigio and viognier) and given a dose of Champagne yeast at the end. That makes it a mixed fermenation beer in a style known as “oenobeer” (winebeer).
That’s the beer fans will drink to toast the wrap-up of “Games of Thrones,” a season in which everyone hopes to find out who ascends the Iron Throne (among other complicated plot developments).
For the Throne is the 14th different beer in Ommegang’s “Game of Thrones” series, which began in 2013. (The TV series debuted in 2011).
“In the course of planning out the next beer in our amazing collaborative partnership with Brewery Ommegang we asked the brewers ‘What would Ommegang do for the throne?’” said Jeff Peters, HBO’s vice president of licensing and retail, said in a news release. “Their answer was to brew this exciting and innovative co-fermented beer."
Brewery Ommegang’s description of For the Throne: " ‘For the Throne’ pours a striking golden copper with a fluffy white head. Aromas of honeysuckle and toasted grain mingle with notes of pear and apricot. Flavors of sweet malt and honeydew lead to a quaffable body that belies the elevated alcohol. The finish is clean and dry, with vibrant effervescence."
The beer will be available in 750-mililiter bottles and on tap. The GoT beers are limited releases, and typically are only on the market for a few months.
The brewery hasn’t officially confirmed whether this is the last in the GoT beer series, said Ommegang spokeswoman Allison Capozza. There will be a special mixed pack released this fall, featuring the best beers in the series as voted on by Ommegang fans, she said.
The most recent beer in the Game of Thrones series was King in the North, a barrel-aged Imperial Stout released on last Black Friday (Nov. 23, 2018). It honored Jon Snow, one of the characters seeking the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms. It was part of a subset of of the Games of Thrones beers called the Royal Reserve Collection. Each of the four beers in that collection honored a different claimant to the throne. The others were Hand of the Queen, Queen of the Seven Kingdoms and Mother of Dragons.
Other beers in the “Game of Thrones” series have included: Iron Throne Blonde Ale and Take the Black Stout (originally released in the spring and fall of 2013) Fire and Blood Red Ale (spring 2014) Valar Morghulis (fall 2014) Three-Eyed Raven Dark Saison (spring 2015) Seven Kingdoms Hoppy Wheat Ale (spring 2016) Valar Dohaeris (fall 2016), Bend the Knee (spring 2017) and Winter is Here (fall 2017).
This Game of Thrones Beer Is The Only Thing You Should Be Drinking At Your Premiere Party
Season after season, Brewery Ommegang has dropped their Game of Thrones-themed beer, because how else would we have survived the emotional turmoil of Khal Drogo's death? (Personally coping with the Cersei-inspired Sour Blonde, how 'bout you?) Now the brewing co. that brought us Hand of the Queen Ale and Mother of Dragons Porter is releasing For The Throne&mdashand it's coming just in time for your premiere party.
The "delicate yet complex" blend was largely influenced by the HBO hit's final season. According to a rep for the brand, the brew is "a tribute to those who aspire to be the final occupant of the Iron Throne." It's also Ommegang's first attempt at co-fermentation. The 9.5 percent ABV golden ale was created with pinot grigio and viognier grape juices and was then bottle conditioned with champagne yeast. Fit for royalty, huh?
On Wednesday, the company took to Instagram to share the news. "For The Throne will be available at the brewery beginning Friday, March 8, and throughout the realm by the beginning of April," the caption read. AKA the draft and packaged 750ML gold-accented bottles will both launch ahead of the April 14 premiere.
"Winter is here, the wall has fallen, and the final battle for Westeros is underway. With this offering, we have bent the traditional boundaries of beer-making, co-fermenting traditional ingredients with juices normally destined for fine wines, going to great lengths to create a truly unique, special beer," Brewery Ommegang president, Doug Campbell said, according to Thrillist. "This style of beer, often called a &lsquooenobeer,&rsquo is a rapidly expanding area of study for us. For The Throne is our first of co-fermentation beer of 2019, and the only one we&rsquove launched under the Game of Thrones banner."
When and where can you get a bottle for yourself?
Want one? They’ll be available early April nationwide. Start searching to see if For the Throne is already available near you by going to Ommegang’s Beer Finder page. Simply enter your zip code to begin the search! When you find one, hurry! We have a feeling these are going to go fast.
Other Game of Thrones beers available are: Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, Mother of Dragons, King in the North, and Hand of the Queen. Keep in mind, with these being past releases, quantity may be limited. I don’t know about you, but I’m going to try to collect them all!
Did you also know there are Game of Thrones Oreo cookies on the way? I’m not sure how these cookies will pair with For the Throne beer, but both are must-haves! Learn more about them, here.
Ommegang Game of Thrones Iron Throne Blonde Ale
Chalk up another gimmick that we&rsquore head over heels lusty after. In the beautiful marriage of fantasy, boobs, political intrigue and swordplay that is Game of Thrones, there&rsquos a new player in town: brew. Ommegang&rsquos Iron Throne Blonde Ale ($9), due out before the show&rsquos season three debut on March 31st, is the first in their series of Game of Thrones Beers. Ommegang is the perfect choice of brewery to concoct our favorite HBO show&rsquos namesake beverage. They have a history of excellence, a small but can&rsquot-miss line of beers, and their symbol looks conspicuously like a coat of arms.
The Iron Throne Blonde Ale won&rsquot be the best beer we&rsquove ever had, but it will be damn satisfying to pair with the show (even if it&rsquos just all in our heads &mdash damn you marketing!). Blonde Ales are a great spring beer, to boot Ommegang&rsquos &ldquodelicate, but piercing&rdquo creation, built upon delectable Noble hops, should bring a smile whether you&rsquore watching White Walkers invade or not. Please, please let the next beer be Joffrey&rsquos Blood Red Ale, which we get to toast to his (please!) gory, painful demise. We promise that&rsquos not a spoiler &mdash just a dream.
GoT Beer? A Crafty Blonde Attempts to Ascend the Iron Throne
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Photo: Ariel Zambelich/Wired Photo: Ariel Zambelich/Wired
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When you love something that is not real as much as Game of Thrones fans love the world of Westeros, you will be tempted to try to bring it to life somehow. From Minecraft versions of the city to Dire Wolf breeding programs, people have spent the long months between seasons of the hit HBO show getting as close to that fictional world as possible.
It was only a matter of time before serious fans decided they needed a horn of ale with their third reading of A Song of Ice and Fire or their Khal Drogo costumes. Wisely, Brewery Ommegang has partnered with HBO to oblige this thirst with a series of beers inspired by the show.
Is the first beer in the series up to the challenge, or is it merely a pretender to the throne? We consulted our taste buds and a historian to find out.
"With a Lannister currently on the Throne, it made sense to do a delicate, but piercing Golden Blonde Ale with Noble hops," Ommegang's brewmaster Phil Leinhart said in a press release. "Iron Throne is certainly fair in color and soft in appearance, yet it still possesses a complexity and bite to be on guard for."
I'm not a huge fan of blonde ales, but I'm told by those who would know that in the second book of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, on which the HBO show is based, there is reference to "thin yellow beer," so perhaps a blonde is appropriate.
Iron Throne turns out to be a little more interesting than a typical blonde. It's actually a Belgian-style beer (not surprising coming from Ommegang) and tastes a little closer to a saison than a blonde. It has that fruity, yeasty, hazy Belgian thing going on, strong on the malt and with just a hint of hops. This isn't my favorite kind of beer, but it's definitely more interesting than its blonde designation led me to expect.
I think Iron Throne will be a crowd pleaser, at least with the beer afficianados who happen to also watch Game of Thrones. But what about the Game of Thrones die-hards who want to enjoy an authentic beer while learning to speak Dothraki?
I consulted beer historian Gregg Smith to find out how "historically" authentic this ale is.
While there's some debate among fans about which century best fits Game of Thrones, we'll go with the 15th century here because the story is said to have been inspired by the Wars of the Roses, which took place between 1455 and 1485.
During this period the ale would have been warm and mostly flat with perhaps just a little effervescence, Smith said. It would have likely been a deep golden to brown color, with a good amount of haze. Glassware hadn't been invented, so it would have been served in some sort of clay, molded leather or wooden vessel.
"They probably didn't even know they were drinking cloudy beer," Smith said. "It was probably doing the job they wanted it to do, and they didn't care."
Sadly, a horn was not included with the ale, so we made do with the glassware Ommegang sent us, but at least that meant we could see the beer's golden color, as well as a bit of haze. The recommended serving temperature is 40 degrees Fahrenheit, far colder than youɽ expect from an ale stored in a medieval cellar, and the beer had more than a little effervescence, forming a nice head.
Fifteenth-century beer "would have a nose of fruity esters, perhaps some wild yeast notes that would be like wet horse or barnyard, perhaps even a little grassy," Smith said. Iron Throne definitely has some wild yeast smell to it and some citrus fruitiness, but is a little too clean to evoke much from the barnyard for me other than a little grass.
According to Smith, the medieval version would have had little or no hops, and brewers would have used an herb mixture known as gruit instead. "In the taste it would probably favor the sweet side, maybe a bit astringent, perhaps husky-like with noticeable herb-like nature." Ommegang's ale is definitely on the sweeter side, with maybe some herb flavors. But thankfully we didn't get any of the astringency or husk taste, the difference being the fine control brewers have on temperature and malt these days that was lacking in the 1400s.
Smith suggested the 15th-century brew would have had more than just barley and could have included oats or wheat. "I would imagine a fairly good amount of alcohol, maybe 6 percent or so," Smith said. Iron Throne fits perfectly here, with some red wheat in the malt and a 6.5 percent ABV.
Perhaps the main difference between Ommegang's Iron Throne and the ale of yore is that the latter was tightly controlled by the church. "They would basically throw a kegger for people to get them to come to church and stay there," Smith said. But because The Faith of the Seven wasn't in the beer business, we'll let this one slide.
While Ommegang and HBO may have been aiming for, according to the press release, "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," rather than a brew that was technically true to the period, Iron Throne seems to fit both bills reasonably well, if you're feeling generous.
Iɽ be feeling a little more generous if the beer were more my style, but there will be three more beers in Ommegang's Game of Thrones family, and I'm heartened by references in the the first book of A Song of Ice and Fire to "dark beer" and "strong black beer."
A question about Ommegang's Iron Throne Blonde Ale.
I purchased a case when it was released due to high demand and low availability and I was wondering how long I could expect this to age? I've only had one, during the season premier and want to make the rest last. How long can I expect this to happen?
A 6.5% Blonde ale? Yeah, I wouldn't hold on to it for too long. It's probably not as good as when you opened that first one for the season premier.
Considering next week is the season's end, I really would not recommend saving bottles for the start of the next season. Besides, Ommegang has a Belgian Stout coming out in the fall as the second beer for the show. So why store away these? Drink up!
Thank you. This is the level of honesty I've come to expect and respect from this community.
Source on that belgian stout remark? I hadn't heard about it yet
I will be hounding my local beer guy for this come Fall :) Not even just for the GOT angle, I would love to try a good Belgian stout. Never had one but they sound like they would be right up my alley
Honestly, I had one at the start of the season, and one last week (what a week to pick). I liked it better last week than I did during the premiere. That being said, I wouldn't let it go much longer.
I'm really looking forward to future releases. I feel like they had to take it easy on the first one, since non-beer craft drinkers would be very interested. This next one they'll start to get a little more daring, I think.
I really wish people would think ahead before they go ahead and hoard beer like this. That is a lot of bottles that people missed out on an you are letting it get stale in bottles.
My local place had it in for a few weeks if not longer 2 cases. first case went after a few weeks (maybe even a month) next case sold day of / right after the premier. Hoping those 2 guys drank it by now :/
Truthfully, I don't get the hype it had. One of my local places had it on tap. It was a solid blonde, but nothing too special. People who didn't get it really didn't miss out on much.
Is it really that hard to find? My local 7-11 is still full of them, is it worth buying them out and heading over to r/beertrade?
I recall the bottle I had saying the expiration was 2014, unless I looked at the numbers incorrectly which is more than possible.
I aged mine for about month and a half or so.
From a collector standpoint Iɽ say itɽ only "make sense" to keep one in order to complete the set when the rest of the Game Of Thrones beers release. Yes it'll be stupid that they go unopened, but people collecting things in honor of the fandom of a series won't be too bothered by it.
Iɽ also say if someone hawked down the actors from the show to sign the bottles, then youɽ be in business. But then again this is a subreddit about beer, and not collecting.
The beer was decent but nothing to write home about. The name sold it more so than anything. I'm in NJ and virtually every place that sold specialty beer were limiting people to 1-2 bottles. There was definitely an element of people hoarding.
I've been told that just across the border into NY many of the warehouse styled liquor stores and other places with wide selection had cases upon cases of these. Seems logical what with it being directly closer to the brewery.
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Brewery Ommegang Game of Thrones Valar Morghulis
It was Decemeber 2012 when Brewery Ommegang first announced it would be producing a line of beers inspired by the hit HBO television series Game of Thrones. Since then, a total of four beers have been released, each promising to tie into certain themes of the show.
The first of these beers, Iron Throne Blonde Ale, called attention to the show’s ruling family, the Lannisters, while Take the Black Stout paid homage to the brotherhood of the Night’s Watch. A third beer, Fire and Blood Red Ale, carried the motto of House Targaryan and was released with three different labels depicting the dragons of Daenerys Targaryan, the last surviving member of the clan.
That brings us to the fourth beer in the series, Valar Morghulis, whose style and name were voted on by fans of the series in an online poll. The phrase meaning “all men must die,” was selected as the beer’s name, while an Abbey Dubbel was chosen as the style. The very loose tie in being that a dubbel is meant to represent the double-sided coin the character Arya is given by one of the Faceless Men of Braavos, assassins who change their appearance at will.
Sold at retail in corked and caged 750ml bottles, Valar Morghulis is a beer with a somewhat cloudy disposition when it comes to appearance. It’s got a sort of reddish brown look to it, with a murky presence I suppose some might associate with the beer being cloaked in shadows. This, you might say, fits right in with the idea of the aforementioned assassins and how such people generally go about their work.
Aromas are a bit more revealing, as fruity esters come out right away rather than hide out in the periphery. Ripe raisin and burnt brown sugar are the most noticeable flavor components, backed by a layer of caramel malt, some raw grain and a kind of yeasty bread character. There’s a little bit of spice interplay as well, but this doesn’t go much further than the hint of cloves suggested by the beer’s commercial descriptions.
The beer is malty to the taste, and while it does have some sweetness, things dry out fairly quickly towards the finish. A faint bitterness helps the overall balance, while prickly carbonation lightens the body and a soft warmth blankets the aftertaste.