Full disclosure: I have never watched one minute of the wildly popular show Game Of Thrones. I do know, however, via social media that Game Of Thrones features something called the Red Wedding and it sure does involve blood, and I’m guessing fire. What this all has to do with beer is beyond me, but the Game Of Thrones Fire And Blood Red Ale offering by Brewery Ommegang from Cooperstown, NY is a branding that I’m sure is making them quite a bit of revenue, due to the popularity of the show and the surge of popularity in craft beer.
Belgian style ales will always have a place in my heart after numerous trips to Belgium. Their yeasty, fruity flavors are warming and familiar to me. I also love a good plate of spicy food. It can be any cuisine. Mexican, Thai, Indian… whatever. With that I had to try Fire And Blood because it advertises right on the bottle that it’s brewed with ancho chiles. Two of my favorite styles of beer and food combined. How did it turn out?
Everything On Tap Review: Ommegang Game Of Thrones Blood And Fire Red Ale
Bottle – This is sold in a cork and cage 750ml bottle. Popping it open is like popping open a bottle of champagne. Loud pop and fizz. Pretty neat.Cork cage bottle. Extra Fancy!
Pour – Holy head! This has a thick two finger plus sized fluffy white head that takes a while to settle down. As it settles it leaves some slow fading lace along the side of the glass. The color of the beer is a deep amber.
Aroma – This smells strongly of baked, almost burnt bread and light fruit, mostly banana. For a beer that claims to have been brewed with ancho chiles, the aroma of chile is not very upfront. With some prolonged nosing you’ll get it underneath everything else. Some other smells I picked up on are a sort of candy or bubblegum aroma, mild cloves, and some Belgian yeast.
Flavor – If you’re familiar with Belgian beer this flavor will be recognizable to you. Here’s where you’ll start to notice the chiles. Roasted anchos combine with somewhat of a taste reminiscent of burning tree bark. As it warms up – and you should definitely let it do that – you’ll get more of that roasted flavor, and more pepper. It’s not overwhelming and enhances the taste of the Belgian yeast and some of the dark fruit flavors you’ll get like plum and black cherry. Also noticeable on warming up is the taste of alcohol, which is 6.8% ABV is present enough to start peeking through.Massive fluffy head and subtle spicy notes, plus standard Belgian flavors.
Mouthfeel – This is medium-heavy and fairly carbonated. This one kind of stabs you in the palette a bit. After the great bouquet of smells and complex flavors it was a little more brutal on the mouth than I was expecting. Luckily it’s not lasting, leaving you with a peppery and slightly malty finish.
Structure – Game Of Thrones Blood and Fire Red Ale is a well put together red. It’s an interesting take on the classic Belgian with the twist of adding pepper into the mix. It adds heat and an interesting twist to a favorite classic style without being overpowering.
Food pairing – The spice in this, when present, would lend itself to something equally spicy and meaty. I’d like to try this with a mildly spiced sausage and some sharp and strong cheese on the side.
Overall Rating Out of 5 Beer Mugs: