I begin this brew review with a confession: I have never seen “Game of Thrones” (with the exception of half an episode at my brother’s house one night while drinking something other than “Game of Thrones”). The craft beer industry isn’t above capitalizing on pop culture for marketing purposes; there are beers named after movies, heavy metal bands, popular foods, and yes, a popular HBO series about a fictional medieval times/fantasy world of some sort that includes swords, dragons, horses, tits, asses; and copious amounts of limb hacking, head decapitating, throat slashing, torso impaling violence. This type of entertainment is made for my taste, so if I had a nickel for every time someone asked me, “WHAT? YOU DON’T WATCH GAME OF THRONES?” I’d buy Little Halls Pond Cay from Johnny Depp and load it up with enough greased, puffy-lipped, top-heavy high-dollar hookers to make Congressman Hank Johnson concerned that my island would tip the fuck over.
I wasn’t seeking this beer when I walked into the spirit shop. But I love Ommegang’s Belgian style beers, so I bought it. To be honest I wouldn’t give a rat’s rectum if the bottle had an image of a decapitated toddler wanking off in the face of a naked Hillary Clinton. I would have bought it anyway (after retching at the sight of a naked Hillary Clinton) based on the recipe and the brewer. But the label did catch my attention, so I guess it worked, in its own way, to make the transition from the shelf to my shopping cart. I’m very pleased with the purchase, because Ommegang did not let me down with this one.
I suppose the presentation of this brew is fitting for the title. The liquid is deep brown with a tint of dark red, like the viscera from a freshly slain enemy. The head is glossy with a natural oak color, thick, and will erupt violently if the brew isn’t poured gently. It’s fluffy with large bubbles on top that would cause someone with trypophobia to get sweaty palms. It then settles down to a serviceable, creamy foam that is gorgeous, much like one of the characters in the series. I just looked her up. Her name is Emilia Clarke, and I don’t know much about her character, except she owns, trains, or mind-controls dragons or something like that. And she’s hot. I’d delight in unsheathing my flesh-sword and venturing into her hot, damp cavern to slay the mighty hymen Hydrus within! But I digress.
The upfront taste offers yeast, dark cherries, banana, clove, and finishes with a surprising slap of chocolate and a gentle bitterness. I wasn’t expecting that at all, but I liked it. The aftertaste is also bitterer than I expected, although it is an American beer (Belgians are not fond of bitters from what I have gathered). The aftertaste sits for a while and massages the senses with chocolate, cherry and clove, while the brew warms the guts. It has a watery texture that is highly carbonated and refreshing. The lacing is thick, and looks like the splattered remains of a mercilessly defeated foe! Intestines, limbs, tendons, and brains!
This is quite an excellent Belgian style ale, indeed! It is strong, but the phenols aren’t over-stimulating like some quadrupels. I like dubbels, but not as much as Belgian strong ales, tripels and quads. But for a dubbel this is pretty fucking awesome, especially for an American made Belgian style.
I could kill this beer quickly, like an enemy! Or I could take my time and torture it slowly… like an enemy! And I think I should take up arms, gather my mightiest army, and march to the liquor kingdom and confront the other wicked 4 “Game of Thrones” brews from Ommegang, with a thirsty throat and an eager tongue! I know I may come across as an ignoramus right now, but I don’t know shit about the show, so please excuse me while I write in medieval generalities. If the show is as good as this beer, I’d better get with the program and start watching it.
IBU: 30 (my best guess)