On March 31st, Brewery Ommegang will debut the next in their lines of Game Of Thrones themed malted beverages, namely the Fire And Blood Red Ale. Beer fans know Ommegang brews great beer… but how does it go with the show? Ommegang provided us two bottles of Fire and Blood, and we got to work.
The Beer Itself
According to Ommegang, the beer should start sweet before fading to dry and spicy, with notes of nuts, rye, and ancho chili. Despite the name, this is a surprisingly delicately flavored beer. For example, the chili actually isn’t a prominent note in the beer; it’s more of an opening peppery note enhanced by the carbonation and slight lingering aftertaste. Considering some of the flamethrowers I’ve consumed over the years, none of which were worth a damn, Ommegang knocks it out of the park.
Similarly, it does end on a dry note, but it’s not going to leave you with a parched feeling. That aftertaste built over time, though, so it may not be for everyone.
Considering who it’s from, it’s hardly surprising the Fire And Blood Red Ale is rather robust at 6.8% ABV. It has a smooth mouthfeel at first, before the notes begin to kick in, and it goes down quite tastily, but it’s definitely a beer to be sipped. Also robust is the head; even a light pour will have a great big frothy one. The beer itself is a pleasing dark amber color, and in all, without the Game of Thrones license, it would be a lovely red ale, perhaps an acquired taste, but certainly a product that could stand on its own.
But how does it go with the show? To find out, I cued up a few key episodes and enjoyed a bottle while watching.
You probably should not be drinking this around the time somebody brings the horse into the tent. Otherwise, it pairs quite well with the episode, although you really wish you could beer poor Tyrion one after what happens to him. If anybody needs a good big bottle of red ale after that, it’s him.
Pairing rating: Put it down when “blood magic” comes up.
Yeah, you need a beer for this one. Arguably one of the most epic payoffs in television, and one of the few episodes where a 22-ounce bottle of beer won’t leave you utterly confused as to the plot.
Paring rating: Strongly recommended, especially with friends.
“And Now His Watch Is Ended”
Honestly, sitting at home, warm, happy, enjoying a robust beer, feels like a bit of an insult to Stumpy, er, Jaime. That’s taken up to eleven around the time he’s dying of thirst and gets a canteen dumped on him. But it does feel a fitting tribute to drink when that pyre goes up.
Pairing rating: Recommended.
“The Rains of Castamere”
This is probably not an episode you want to see on a full stomach in the first place. Honestly, the fact that the cinematography almost perfectly matches the color of some of the blood to the beer makes this just a wee bit off-putting.
Pairing rating: Only if you’re watching it with somebody who hasn’t seen the show.