I’ve traveled a lot. Still, the one journey I haven’t yet figured out how to make happen is a trip to Westeros. For those who might not be familiar with this place, Westeros is the mythical continent at the center of the Game of Throne books and the hit HBO series by the same name. It’s a brutal, uninviting place and chances are pretty good that I wouldn’t last long trying to backpack my way through the Seven Kingdoms.
Still, I’m drawn into the idea of getting to know the characters of this world. I’d love to share a beer with the late Ned Stark while commiserating on his family’s incredibly bad luck. Or making a perhaps futile attempt to keep up with Tyrion Lannister, a man who most definitely knows how to throw a party despite his shortcomings. And of course, I’d be amiss if I didn’t offer to buy a drink for the lovely and dangerous Daenerys Targaryen.
I may not have the chance to talk to any of these folks, but thanks to a brewery in Cooperstown, New York (also home to the Baseball Hall of Fame), I now have a chance to at least try their beer. Brewery Ommegang has partnered with HBO on a series of beers inspired by Game of Thrones. Each beer in the series is crafted to truly reflect aspects from the show. The latest addition is Seven Kingdoms.
Seven Kingdoms is a marriage of a traditional Belgian-style wheat and a hop-forward American ale – but unlike so many of the marriages on the show, the result is pleasant, playful and inspired. At 6.9% ABV, it possesses a nuanced complexity that pairs nicely with the hop-forward characteristics to make it surprisingly refreshing. The brew is hopped with Bravo, Centennial, Citra, Cascade and Columbus, and brewed with Pilsner, white and red wheat, oats and a touch of sugar to lighten the body. Ommegang’s unique house yeast is used in both primary fermentation and bottling conditioning.
So let’s get real for a second. I’m always a little suspicious about the quality of a “licensed” product. Is this really a great beer or is it hiding behind a superstar name? For me, Seven Kingdoms was the real deal. It delivered a unique and great taste, a perfect compliment to a summer outdoor event.
Available as a 750 ml bottle, this beer demands a stylish glass. I’d recommend the Metro Brew Beer Glass by Clink Barware – the way a craft beer of this kind was meant to be cradled. But if you are feeling a bit more nostalgic for the Middle Ages, the Brewski Beer Mug gives you that Old World feel without the awkwardness of a tin cup.
I recommend taking the journey to Seven Kingdoms, but drink up now. It may be June, but Winter is Coming.