Please Don't Let Game of Thrones Beer Be Another Marketing Gimmick
Last year, I read all the Game of Thrones books in a manic frenzy, and gained like ten pounds in the process because they made me so hungry. All those detailed descriptions about royal feasts and even simple roast squab or whatever on the road would make my stomach rumble every time, and I wasn't alone -- a pair of smart bloggers started the Inn at the Crossroads recipe blog that later morphed into the Official Game of Thrones Cookbook. It wasn't just food though. The characters in those books are always raising flagons of ale, or summer wine, or some other delicious-sounding beverage, and so I got super-excited yesterday when the news spread like wildfire that HBO has teamed up with New York's Brewery Ommegang to create a series of Game of Thrones-inspired beers. Only thing is, I'm not sure they'll be what I initially hoped.
Ommegang is a reputable brewery, one of the better breweries in the U.S. turning out Belgian-style ales. Their beers are rich and dark, which seem like they would translate to the vaguely Middle Ages setting of the Game of Thrones books (especially at the Wall). But the first beer they're releasing, just in time for March's third season premiere, will be a Golden Blonde ale inspired by the Lannisters. According to the press release on the Ommegang website:
"With a Lannister currently on the throne, it made sense to do a delicate, but piercing Golden Blonde Ale with Noble hops. Iron Throne is certainly fair in color and soft in appearance, yet it still possesses a complexity and bite to be on guard for."
So it seems the beers will be more based on the themes of the series than a re-creation of what the characters are actually drinking, which is a bit of a disappointment. Though I trust Ommegang enough to hope that the beers will somehow complement the viewing experience, it sounds like they could just be a slick marketing tie-in -- good beers on their own, surely, but nothing very Game of Thrones-y about them.
For now, geeks like me will just have to keep imagining what the strong ales and honey wines of Westeros and its eastern environs would actually taste like. But home brewers, take note! It looks like the Inn at the Crossroads folks are working on recipes for the actual beverages described in the books.