‘Game of Thrones’-themed beer provides fiery spice

By Stephanie Roman / Staff Writer

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Daenerys Targaryen, the only surviving child of King Aerys II, deposed by King Robert Baratheon and competitor for the Iron Throne of Westeros, once said, “I will take what is mine with fire and blood.” Such is the name of Ommegang Brewery of Cooperstown, N.Y., and HBO’s newest beer in the “Game of Thrones” brewing series, Fire and Blood, released just in time for the show’s Season 4 premiere. The beer series moved from a blonde ale with Iron Throne to a black stout in Take the Black Stout to the Fire and Blood red ale — another fitting name. Though the khaleesi isn’t opposed to drinking blood, the beer named and designed after her trio of dragons doesn’t taste anything like that — fortunately.

Rather, this particular ale is a mixture of fruitiness, spiciness and malt. It’s thick and hop-heavy with a really satisfying dark red coloration flecked with gold wheat, strongly reminiscent of dragons’ breath. Initial sweetness from raisins and other dark fruits quickly gives way to the heat of ancho chilies and the chocolatey taste of malt. Fire and Blood comes in at 6.8 percent ABV for a 750 milliliter bottle, so it’s not going to knock anyone out if you go easy, but if you’re someone with the alcoholic preferences of the delicate Sansa Stark, daughter of Catelyn and Ned Stark, former Lord of Winterfell, the heaviness and aroma of the beer probably won’t interest you. If you fancy yourself more like notoriously skilled drinker Tyrion Lannister, the half-man and uncle of King Joffrey Baratheon, you’ll probably really enjoy the robustness of this beverage.

Very interestingly, Fire and Blood is the first of the ales to come with multiple labels. Three versions exist, each with a different one of Dany’s dragons on it. The bottles are packaged at random, so each distributor could have different options, which makes the hunt a bit more exciting. As a recommendation, one is obviously more epic than the others and features some awesome fire-breathing-dragon action on the front — most accurately portraying the ideology the beer is supposed to represent. 

Let Fire and Blood linger in your mouth for a few moments and allow your taste buds to soak up its smoky nuances. Take it slow at first, as it starts off a bit shocking and bitter. Once you’re accustomed to the unconventional blend of heat and fruitiness, though, it’s a perfect beer to down on Sunday nights when everyone’s favorite HBO show is on.

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