HBO’s Game of Thrones is about to conclude its series’ run after eight seasons, which means the end of an era for fans of the hit drama. It also means the likely end of a fantastic run of specialty themed beers from Cooperstown, New York brewery Ommegang, who have been brewing up potent potables since 2013. Now, with the arrival of the 14th themed beer, “For the Throne” which just became available this month, we thought we’d take a look back at the series itself and the beers it inspired along the way.
So if you’re lucky enough to have each of these beers in your collection (and preferably at least two; one to drink and one to keep pristine as a collector’s item), we encourage you to follow along with this beer-themed watch guide as you get caught up on all things Game of Thrones. And even if you don’t have all or any of the following brews, please enjoy this walk down memory lane (though having a beverage of choice handy might help to take the sting out of some of the more painful scenes).
We begin with the arguably the most villainous of villains, the Lannisters. Now I wouldn’t recommend quaffing your drink of choice when Jaime and Cersei Lannister’s true relationship is first revealed (that might lead to a spit take and a ruined TV screen, not to mention a waste of good beer), but I would highly suggest revisiting this particular Season 1 scene between Tyrion and Joffrey:
Iron Throne Blonde Ale (March 2013):
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.” -Phil Leinhart, Brewmaster at Brewery Ommegang
While you could watch that slap-happy scene again and again, Season 1 also had its share of darker moments. (And that’s putting it lightly.) Unexpected deaths and shifting allegiances abound, and two fan-favorites (who last quite a long while in this deadly drama) start out on their own heroes’ journeys.
Jon Snow and Samwell Tarly knelt as boys but rose as men when taking their oath for the Night’s Watch. It takes a stout heart to take such an oath, one that doesn’t end until your death (though what happens after that remains debatable). So with that in mind, we think that Ommegang’s second selection pairs perfectly well with the oath itself:
Take the Black Stout (September 2013):
Inspired by the brotherhood of the Night’s Watch, Take the Black Stout was made to be deep, dark and complex like those who have sworn the oath to defend Westeros against threats from the north. The label depicts the Weirwood tree where Jon Snow recited the oath before joining the Night’s Watch.
We’ve covered the Lannisters and the
Starks Snows, but we can’t go too far into this rewatch without mentioning the Targaryens. “Fire and Blood” was Ommegang’s third brew for the series and the brewery started to get creative with their branding here. Three unique labels were affixed to various bottles of red ale in order to pay homage to each of Daenerys’ three dragons.
So let’s go back to a time when there was at least one more Targaryen walking the known world and when the impressive and imposing dragons were but mere eggs. It’s a deep cut, going all the way back to the premiere, but it’s clearly one that’s paid off in a big way throughout the seasons. Drink up (and pour one out for Viserion while you’re at it)!
Fire and Blood Red Ale (March 2014):
Named after the motto of House Targaryen, Fire and Blood is inspired by Daenerys Targaryen and her three dragons, Drogon, Rhaegal and Viserion. To celebrate the rebirth of dragons, three different labels were created by the Game of Thrones visual effects specialists, each depicting one of Daenerys’ feared dragons. Randomly distributed amongst the cases, each case will contain all three bottles.
“All men must die” in Game of Thrones. (Though “not all men truly live” would be a nice way to finish that thought, if William Wallace had his say.) However, the translated term’s original Valyrian became the name of a fourth themed beer for the series, arriving as fans headed into the fall of 2014.
This Dubbel Ale gets to enjoy a bit of a play on the name: “Dubbel” is a Belgian brewing naming convention for a strong brown ale, while the “double” also plays up the two-headed coin that Jaqen H’ghar gives young Arya Stark before she became Faceless. Let’s revisit it here. Pour yourself double, just for fun:
Valar Morghulis Dubbel Ale (October 2014):
In the world of Westeros, Valar Morghulis means “all men must die.” Fans of the hit HBO show chose the foreboding phrase as the name of the newest beer in the Game of Thrones collaboration between HBO and Brewery Ommegang. As part of a Facebook poll, fan voting determined the style and name of the next beer. An Abbey Dubbel was selected and it is perfectly represented by the “two- headed” coin given to Arya Stark by Jaqen H’ghar, one of the “Faceless Men of Braavos” – legendary assassins with the ability to change their appearances at will.
If you get confused between Bran, Bronn, and Brom, well … maybe you should put the drinks down for a bit. One of those isn’t even from Game of Thrones. But in honor of the next beer released by Ommegang, we’ll revisit the Stark family to see what its middle brother has been up to since the devilish doings at Winterfell.
Bran got the short end of the stick as far as the Starks are concerned (though he’s alive at least, which is saying something). His most defining moment so far was in meeting the Three-Eyed Raven, a wizened old wizard sort of character living in isolation and tapping into weirwood.net admin to keep track of all the goings on. This moment still gives us chills, and it’s not just the copious amounts of alcohol talking:
Three-Eyed Raven Dark Saison Ale (April 2015):
Push through the thick brambles and present yourself to the Three-Eyed Raven. Abiding in the shadows of the Three-Eyed Raven lies this deceptive Dark Saison. The ominous Three-Eyed Raven inspired us to brew a Dark Saison ale, a hybrid style open to brewer’s imagination. In the end it is neither a pure saison nor your typical dark beer, but instead a delectable blend that both deceives and thrills the senses.
Three-Eyed Raven makes for perfect season premiere pairing.
What’s a Game of Thrones rewatch without a marriage? This particular brew was meant to bring about a pleasant and playful experience on the palette, but weddings throughout this series are anything but blissful…
So let’s change that! Rather than a Red Wedding, a Purple Wedding, or experiencing what passes for a wedding at Craster’s Keep, we’ll be revisiting one of the rare sweet moments from Game of Thrones, the relatively chilled-out union of Robb Stark and Talisa Maegyr. (And they lived happily ever after, right?)
Seven Kingdoms Hoppy Wheat Ale (April 2016):
Seven Hells! 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 resulting hoppy wheat is pleasant, playful and inspired. Seven Kingdoms harmoniously weds citrusy and herbal American hops, with wheaty maltiness and moderate bitterness.
This next brew follows up on its younger brother, the Dubbel, and offers an even stronger reason to stick with the trials of the House of Black and White. If “Valar Morghulis” warned that all men must die, “Valar Dohaeris” affirms that all men must serve. Feel free to serve a few glasses of this Tripel Ale around the table at your Game of Thrones viewing party; you guests will thank you for it.
And no, like Arya herself, you’re not seeing double when you watch this Hall of Faces scene from Season 5. (Well, actually, you might be. Tripel’s are notoriously strong brews.)
Valar Dohaeris Tripel Ale (released October 2016):
After an exciting season that saw the Starks reclaim the North and Cersei take the Iron Throne as the first queen of Westeros, Brewery Ommegang and HBO Global Licensing are introducing a new beer and bringing back a previous brew to steady the nerves of fans as they anxiously endure the show’s off-season break. Valar Dohaeris Tripel Ale is the latest beer in the series and pays homage to Arya’s season-long struggles within and around the House of Black and White.
Valar Dohaeris Tripel Ale is, much like a “faceless man,” not what it first appears to be; it shares the complexity of its sister-brew, Valar Morghulis Dubbel, and a strength masked and belied by its lighter color.
At some point, everyone in Game of Thrones has to make a choice: Bend the knee, or die with their pride intact. So it’s no wonder that Ommegang opted to create a “Bend the Knee” ale to pay homage to the shifting loyalties and royalties in the Seven Kingdoms.
Here’s a fun one; not a scene, but a montage! If you drink every time someone says “Bend the knee” in this clip, you’ll be through that 750ml bottle in no time! (Which we, legally, can’t recommend.)
Bend the Knee Golden Ale (May 2017):
Paying homage to the struggle for control of the Seven Kingdoms, Bend the Knee will be available on draft and in a series of three collectible 750ml bottles, all finished in matte black and adorned with one of the three Great House sigils: Stark, Targaryen, or Lannister.
Bend the Knee pours a golden hue with a large, frothy head. Both the aroma and flavor mix maltiness and citrus from the hops, while Ommegang’s signature house yeast produces prominent fruitiness. Wildflower honey added during fermentation provides light sweetness to the beer, which finishes dry and with firm hop bitterness.
If you’ve been a fan of Game of Thrones since before the show itself even existed, then you know that Winter has been coming for a long, long time. Many have argued over what exactly that means in terms of the show’s mythology, but one thing is for certain: Winter makes one hell of an impression.
So it’s to this climactic (and climatic) scene in Season 7 of Game of Thrones that we turn now, with one hand grasping a bottle of “Winter Is Here” Double White Ale, the other firmly clutching our glass (or sword, if you have one handy). Many have wondered just how and when the Ice Wall would fall, and by whose hand. Who knew it would end like this …
Winter Is Here Double White Ale (October 2017):
Winter is Here is brewed with pilsner malt, white wheat malt, and soft red wheat flakes, hopped with Saaz hops, and spiced with white pepper, sea salt, coriander and sweet orange peel. Brewery Ommegang’s house yeast is used in primary and secondary fermentation. This double white ale pours a hazy pale straw color with a stark white head. Aromas of banana, clove, and pronounced peppery phenols lead, and the flavor is slightly sweet malt, subtly balanced by hints of sea salt. Despite a full mouthfeel and healthy ABV, it still manages to drink quite lightly. The finish gradually builds in a warming crescendo of peppery spice.
Meanwhile, in warmer climates, Tyrion is up to his usual tricks: Drinking, knowing things, and telling jokes. Peter Dinklage is a delight (and we’re still hoping that Tyrion manages to ride a dragon somehow) and this paired beverage is equally delightful.
Take your time with this one; it’s big and bold and potent, like its namesake. Savor it, like Tyrion does a fine wine or a thrilling story or a good joke, well-told. Moments like this are few and far between in Game of Thrones, so enjoy it while you can!
Hand of the Queen (April 2018):
A beer brewed for Tyrion. As one who knows and loves wine above all, and as his court brewer, we would brew him one. Hand of the Queen is a big, bold barleywine fit for those who seek knowledge and truth, both great and small.
We have not spent nearly enough time with Cersei Lannister in this list and that is a travesty I aim to make up for right now. Ommegang felt much the same as they named a beer specifically after the most ruthless Lannister to ever walk the land.
Cersei has had a rough go of it over the years in King’s Landing (though arguably all caused by her own machinations), but after a peasant uprising, multiple counts of child-murder from all sides, and an explosive use of Wildfire, she’s managed to sit the Iron Throne at long last. (It helps to have a mad scientist and a walking, hulking zombie by your side.) Long may she reign (or not, it’s up to you)!
Queen of the Seven Kingdoms (June 2018):
A special blend of Belgian sour ale and Belgian-style blonde ale, Queen of the Seven Kingdoms reminds us that to Cersei, everyone who isn’t us is an enemy.
Back to Daenerys! Ommegang went for broke with this one, a smoky porter merged with a cherry lambic sour to give the impression of smoke and fire. There was plenty of both to go around as Daenerys Stormborn, Mother of Dragons, etc, etc, rode the massive Drogon into combat at the Battle of the Goldroad. This clash between the Targaryen-Dothraki forces and the Lannister-Tarly army was but the first of Dany’s invasion of Westeros…
And what a fine moment it was!
Mother of Dragons (September 2018):
Inspired by Daenerys Targaryen, this blend of a smoked porter and a Belgian kriek represents the smoke and fire that Daenerys has unleashed on her opponents during her ascent to conquer and rule the seven kingdoms.
Back to the North. If you’ve been paying attention, then you know that Jon Snow (who possesses quite the interesting parentage) is a reanimated soldier and prince who might just be in line for the title throne. He’ll have a lot to accomplish in this final season, especially after bending the knee to Daenerys and risking rebellion among his brothers (and sisters…) in the North.
But young master Snow has grown up quite a bit since his early days in Winterfell. So, too, has this imperial stout grown up from some of the earlier offerings in this list. It’s big, it’s bold, and it will get you through a long winter. Let’s just hope we can say the same for Snow and his new, questionable alliances:
King in the North (November 2018)
A beer for Jon Snow – a dark and brooding imperial stout has always been bold enough for normal times, but now that winter is here, something bigger and bolder is needed for the long, dark night. Thus, we enlisted the help of barrels and time to produce King in the North, a rich, bold, barrel-aged imperial stout unlike anything we’ve brewed before.
As for the final beer on our list, we suggest you go out and buy as many as you can before the stock runs out. Why? Because it’s been finely crafted as the final tribute for Game of Thrones, a beverage befitting whoever ends up on the powerful seat. With that in mind, you might want to squirrel one (or more) away to not only celebrate the series finale, but to save for a future rewatch.
When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die, but when you pair Ommegang’s finest work with HBO’s iconic series, you win every time. Enjoy!
For the Throne (April 2019):
Complex and compelling, yet delicate and refined, For the Throne is our tribute to the final occupant of the Iron Throne. This strong golden ale is co-fermented with Pinot Grigio and Viognier grape juices, then bottle conditioned with Champagne yeast.
The beer pours a striking golden copper with a fluffy white head. Aromas of honeysuckle and toasted grain mingle with notes of pear and apricot. The finish is clean and dry, with vibrant effervescence. For the Throne is an ale fit for royalty.