A Game of Thrones Beer Review: For the Throne

I want to believe the best in people, in things, in the world around me.  I’m an optimistic man.  That’s my nature, really, has been for a long time.

Based on that, I wanted desperately for two of my favorite things to come together in a synergistic holistic fashion and be great together.  Those two things being a craft beer and Game of Thrones.

But sometimes I have to face the reality of the world.  Not everything can be great.

I’ve enjoyed season 8 of GoT so far, and the build up to the series finale.  I’ll be sad when it’s all said and done, but I hold out hope that some magical day, George R.R. Martin will finish the series and I’ll have new GoT content to absorb.

In the interim, well, there’s For the Throne.

For the Throne. To the sink.

 

Produced by Ommegang brewery in Cooperstown, just a few short hours down the road from me, I was hoping to give this beer a glowing review and offer it up as the perfect compliment to the home stretch of my favorite television show (I watch very little television besides Mets games).

But I can’t do that. Why?

Because this beer tastes like Renly Baratheon’s asshole.

I wish it weren’t so, but it is.

It’s touted as a “strong golden ale is co-fermented with Pinot Grigio and Viognier grape juices, then bottle conditioned with Champagne yeast.” It should sound like an odd amalgam of ingredients and process and it tasted that way to me. Too funky to be fruity, it wasn’t a beer or wine or champagne. It was just a yellowish alcoholic mess, like Barney from the Simpsons.

What, specifically, does it taste like? (Note, these jokes will ring hollow to those non followers of GoT).

It tastes like the underboob sweat of Robert Baratheon.

It tastes, well, I’d imagine, like what it would taste like if you wrung out Master Aemon’s diapers into a beer bottle.

It tastes, perhaps, like the gunk that got stuck in Cersei’s hair when she did the walk of shame.

It tastes, I think, the way I would think a hot pie tastes, if the hot pie was just a crust surrounding horse diarrhea.

It tastes like the goop underneath Ser Jorah’s grayscales when Samwell cleaned him up.

It tastes like the last thing Joffrey tasted before he bellyflopped and died at his own wedding reception.

It tastes, to me, like the bottom of the chest that Varys held his castrator in for all that time.

Maybe others might disagree, think it’s a great and unique and interesting flavored product. But I’m taking the black before I take another sip of this sucker.

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Shimmering Shandy in the Southwest

We’ve found ourselves in a time where no happy hour can truly be happy without a photo to prove it. No libations can grace our lips—no meal can meet our mouths—until documentation occurs.

Enter the era of visually pleasing vices. From rainbow bagels to charcoal ice cream, people will purchase anything if they can post it to Instagram first. But… is it actually good? I haven’t tried a unicorn latte or a black burger or whatever else people are consuming for cool points, but that was before my all-time favorite brewery jumped on the glitter beer train.

Meet Re Re’s Shandy

As the unofficial ambassador of Bosque Brewing Co., I use any excuse to make it over to my favorite neighborhood public house to see what’s new on the beer wall. After a few friends and I wrapped up our oral arguments at the law school, I asked if they wanted to celebrate with a beer and lunch. They knew where I intended to go before I could say “celebrate.”

We picked a table, grabbed some seats and started perusing. The beer wall didn’t have any new additions (since I had been there the day before), but a blank spot was getting filled in. A new beer had arrived. Hillary came up to the end of the table to grab our orders and before I could even ask, she said, “Oh, you’ll want the Lemon Shandy. It’s shiny.”

Sold, Hillary.

Swirling, magical and indeed shiny, I couldn’t help but take a picture as soon as it arrived. Perhaps I’m a product of my generation, but this was the best-looking pint ever put before me. I couldn’t catch the nature of its beauty except with Instagram’s Boomerang, as the 14 people who watch my story can confirm.

Glitter Beer, Beer Blog, Brewery

After the swirls settled, I realized… I have to drink this thing. What will it taste like? What happened to Harry Potter after he drank this? Is this how you get mercury poisoning?

The questions were answered with a single sip. Re Re’s Shandy was not here just to be photographed, but to welcome summer 2k19 in style. At 5.7% and only 10 IBUs, this little lemon number is a perfect addition to the patio sittin’ I have planned for these next few weeks. It was brewed as a part of Bosque’s Co-Op Series, which involves a Bosque staff member getting to show off their creativity in the kettles. The brewery team zested and juiced whole lemons to start, then added lemon puree and lemonade syrup. Crystal hops were added for bittering, bringing out notes of citrus pith. The last enchanting step was mixing silver lustre in the brite tank to make this beer “shimmer and glimmer like golden rays of sun shining on the Bosque.” Thank you, Untappd description, for the scientific poetry behind this shandy.

Sadly, my tongue did not shine after two pints. But I would certainly drink this luminous liquid again, even if I don’t post it to social media. Now to find a black burger to pair with it…

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A Game Of Thrones Beer Review: Take The Black Stout

A quick review of Take The Black Stout.

photo by Ceetar

I unintentionally paired Ommegang’s Take The Black Stout with some Game of Thrones Oreo cookies, which was a pretty nice pairing. Stout, chocolate, cookie, all good things.  I paired both with episode one of season eight.

This beer came out originally in June of 2013, it was the second beer in the series. I was still under some illusions to the idea of having them all.  I had a taste of this at a beer festival that same year, and ended up not drinking the bottle I had, until now.

I enjoyed it a lot more than I enjoyed most of the Game of Thrones beers from the earlier runs. The age definitely smoothed out the flavors, with the roasty malts really being intertwined with the star anise and the licorice. Those were a lot more muted than I suspect they were originally, they were an added twist of depth to the beer rather than hitting you in the face with what’s typically a rather strong flavor. Lots of chocolate flavors in there, that’s what really shone through to me. I drank this pretty warm, especially by the time I got through the bottle.

It’ll come to no surprise that Game of Thrones beers did pretty well on Untappd last night. Pictured below, a tweet from Untappd founder Greg Avola.

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Two Beers, One Lunch: Back to the Hops Spot, Again, Some More

So, it’s been a while since I’ve posted a “Two Beers, One Lunch” post, and there’s actually a good reason for that.

In December of 2018 I changed employers.  My new job is located further from the downtown eateries, and, also, because I am newer and still learning, it’s a tougher situation to drink two beers and then go back for an afternoon at work without risk being branded as “unprofessional.”  Or “a big lush.”

But this past week, after taking my first turn in an on call rotation, I had accumulated enough hours worked to be able to take a half day on Friday, which meant lunch out followed by a trip home to nap.

This meant a prime opportunity to return to the Hops Spot.

You may recall, dear reader, my previous trips to the Hops Spot, saved for posterity here, and then also here, and finally, also here!

Yes, there’s a pattern.  This is my preferred spot to go grab some delicious grub while also having a couple of brews.  I’ve yet to have a bad meal there, and they routinely keep a list of 40+ beers on tap from all over the northeast U.S. of A.

This meal started out with the Fat Orange Cat Brew “All Cats are Gray in the Dark” white stout.  This is a brewing company based out of East Hampton, CT, and they make a fine ass beer right here.

Pictured in the background, in blur, is one of my regular two companions, whom I will refer to as “the Imbiber.”

Yes, you read that right. Stout.

 

I’ve never had a white stout before, but having recently enjoyed a black lager, and after a ringing endorsement of this drink by our server (who swore that if you drank it with your eyes closed you’d never know it wasn’t a dark beer in color), I took the plunge.

Magnificent!

Hints of coffee, chocolate and vanilla, as per the menu, and I could say that I wasn’t really feeling the vanilla, but I was all about the coffee and chocolate flavors here.  My other companion, “the Sampler,” used the word “witchcraft” to describe this concoction, light in color but dark in taste, and I agreed that that was the best way to describe it. You could legitimately close your eyes and imagine it going down as a dark, rich stout.

The meal?  Well, after a number of visits enjoying the classique poutine, this trip I went with the very Indian flavored Chicken Tikka Masala poutine.

This is some shit right here!

 

Made up of fries, chicken tikka masala (Indian spiced) curry style gravy, chicken, cheese curds and fresh cilantro, it scratched me right where I itch. No, not the butthole. What I mean by that is, no one else in my family enjoys Indian food. Therefore, I look for opportunities to indulge in that style of cooking where I can.

Next up, beer number two, and I went with the full pint here.  Because I had the afternoon off and was headed right to bed after this, I figured, why not?

This second beer was the Stoneyard Progressive Adult v1 sour farmhouse IPA.

Big and sour and magical, and featuring “the Sampler” in the background

 

This was another winner! The sour, ITBMCBB*, is described officially as a “juicy, sweet/tart IPA. Brewed with lactose, oats, natural peach and orange flavors, lots and lots of Citra hops, lactic acid. Mmmmmmm.”

I agree with each of these things! Noticed the peach flavor specifically, but honestly, it was just a refreshingly tart and tasty sour beer. I’d buy another one of these, for sure.

So, let’s review. What have we learned here today?

1. This blogger keeps going back to the Hops Spot to try new menu items and also pick fresh choices from an always changing selection of delicious beers!

2. This blogger has two companions, “the Imbiber” and “the Sampler,” who make for pleasant company and co-enjoyment of beers and poutine.

3. I’m just dreaming about Indian food while eating American fare with my family.

4. Sours and stouts are great! (OK, if you’ve read any of my other posts, you knew that already)

 

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This Mets Fan Group Has It’s Own Beer At The Ballpark

Tasting the new United We Cheers beer from The 7 Line Army and MIkkeller NYC.

The 7 Line Army is an offshoot of the T-shirt company created by Darren Meenan that sells creative fan merchandise for Mets games. It’s a dedicated group of fans that have outings and tailgates at the park, and often travel to other parks as well, bringing a dedicated cheering section on the road is something that’s pretty neat, and something the ballplayers definitely notice and appreciate.

They recently teamed up with Mikkeller NYC, a brewery that’s actually attached to Citi Field, to create a special beer called United We Cheers, utilizing Mikkeller’s unique artwork style. It’s a 4.3% German Pilsner, which really makes it an excellent tailgating beer that’s pretty drinkable by most beer drinkers, perhaps even especially non-craft ones.

I stopped at Mikkeler before Opening Day and had a can of it. I also had a delicious Hill Farmstead IPA, but that’s not why we’re here.

The beer had that light sulfury smell many Pilsners do, and a bit of lightly warmed bread. The taste matched that well, crisp, a bit of light phenols from the hops and some of that sulfur taste from the water chemistry. The hop bitterness is present and accounted for, that spicy/peppery noble hop varieties that are typical of the style. It’s full flavored and not at all watery. If the hop varieties were different, you might even call it a session IPA, but noble hops are more crowd pleasing.

This is a beer I’d be happy to drink all day watching or playing sports. It’s a great drinking beer.

 

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