21 and Over Club: Fire and blood red ale

Beer - Courtesy of OMMEGANG
Photo courtesy of OMMEGANG

Fans of beer and “Game of Thrones,” get ready for a second round! As spring quarter rolls around, so too does the newest season of “Game of Thrones,” and along with it is the release of the newest addition to the “Game of Thrones” beer series from Ommegang Brewery. The new limited release, Fire and Blood red ale, joins the previously released Iron Throne blonde ale and the Take the Black stout.

The beer is available in two forms: a cork and cage bomber bottle or on draft where available. As soon as the bottle was released, I made my way to my local beer emporium (in this case BevMo) and picked up two bottles, one to have now and the other to store. Ommegang Brewery cork bottles come bottle-conditioned, meaning that there is still active yeast in the bottle, which allows the bottle to be stored for one to four years depending on beer type. And then just as Arya Stark develops into a darker, lethal character and Jaime Lannister develops into a decent human being, these beers, given time, will also develop in complexity. The active yeast will continue to produce alcohol and carbon dioxide, slowly changing the flavors of the beer. I personally have a bottle of the Iron Throne blonde ale and the Take the Black stout in storage and am very curious to see how they will have changed over time.

The Fire and Blood bottle itself is a sight to behold with an image of Drogon, the great black dragon, spitting fire across the label (however, there are three distinct bottle labels available, one for each of the dragons on the show). The bright, bold red lettering signifying the words of House Targaryen adorn the label: Fire and Blood. The names of the “Game of Thrones” beers are meant to create ties to the show; the Iron Throne blonde ale was in reference to battle for the throne of Westeros and the Take the Black stout tied to Jon Snow’s journey beyond the Wall with the Night’s Watch. Fire and Blood provide a fairly ominous tone — possibly indicating this could be the most deadly and devastating season yet.

The red ale comes in at 6.8 percent ABV, making it marginally stronger than the average beer. I poured the ale into a 12 ounce snifter glass to let the drink maintain head and to let me properly take in the aroma. It sits in the glass with a deep amber color and off-white head. The head is very frothy and thick, but quickly settles down to roughly one inch. The beer gives off a very sweet and malty aroma, but is balanced with faint notes of hops and spice. The red ale was brewed with ancho chilies (poblano), which provided a subtle hint of spice. The ale has a heavy mouthful to begin with due to the sweet maltiness, but once again the hops and spices balance things out, leaving a slight dryness. The juxtaposition of the two flavors creates an excellent beer that tastes just fantastic. Regardless of the “Game of Throne” ties, the red ale is incredible in its own right and everyone should try it.

With the Fire and Blood red ale, Ommegang Brewery yet again excellently captures the spirit and feel of the “Game of Thrones.” With only one more beer left in the series, Ommegang will be hard-pressed to overcome their current efforts. I am excited to get a taste of the the violence and political intrigue on the next season of “Game of Thrones,” but I am just as excited to get a taste of the next great brew to come out of Westeros.

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