We fans of the epic HBO series Game of Thrones have been waiting an awful long time for the final season of the show to finally air. In the meantime each of us has had a different strategy for coping with the long, cold, dark winter between seasons. One popular strategy is to watch the previous seasons again, and it’s a great approach to helping decipher all the political undercurrents of this great series. I can still remember the jaw-dropping last scene of the very first episode of season one, and my earnest assertion that “damn, I’m IN. I am so watching this series!”
The massive success of the show hasn’t been ignored by HBO and its author George R. R. Martin either, of course, and there are a zillion different licensed products. Clothes, weapons, books, you name it, they’ve got it. One of my favorite Game of Throne licensees, however, is Brewery Ommegang. They released a four beer Game of Thrones collection and I had a chance to try a bottle of King In The North stout. As the brewery says, “Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout: A beer for Jon Snow – a rich, bold imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels. Dark, aromatic and full-bodied, it’s a fitting companion for a long, dark night.”
It also has a kick to it, as you’d want if you were stuck up in Castle Black knowing that winter is coming and that the Northmen – and possibly the semi-mythical White Walkers – could show up at any time. That’s a 22-proof, 11% alcohol kick, quite a lot for a beer!
I cracked open the bottle and shared it with my friends during an RPG gaming session, as was entirely appropriate. Consensus on this dark, thick beer was that it was a surprise on first taste but really grew on you after a few sips. It’s almost thick enough to cut with a knife (okay, that’s a bit of hyperbole, but you get the idea) and if you think Guinness and Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout are a bit on the watery, weak side (seriously? Who thinks that?) then you’re going to love King In The North.
King In The North is a dark, rich brew that feels great in your mouth and goes down oh, so smooth. The aroma is a subtle mix of chocolate and bourbon, there’s no hops or grain taste and it definitely has the body and depth of a beer that’s been aged, rather than rushed into bottles as too many brews seem to be nowadays. In fact, King In The North is aged 6 months in those bourbon barrels. This is also a stout to share with a friend or two: At 11% ABV the full bottle is a lot of beer, much more than the majority of drinkers are going to want to tackle solo.
The other three beers in the Ommegang Royal Reserve Game of Thrones line are the Hand of the Queen, a barleywine, Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, a sour blonde blend and Mother of Dragons, a smoked porter and kriek blend. You can learn more about them at Brewery Ommegang’s Web site, where you can also find out where they might be for sale locally too.
Now, I just need to figure out when I’m going to schedule my binge watch of all the earlier seasons of Game of Thrones to prepare me for the final season? Hmmm….that’s a lotta viewing… Well, at least I know what brew I’ll have poised and ready to consume as the action gets tense! *clink*
Disclosure: Brewery Ommegang sent me a bottle of King In The North beer to try in return for this writeup. Don’t drink if you’re under 21, and drink responsibly: This is a beer that requires someone grab your car keys prior to indulging. #KingInTheNorth