When Brewery Ommegang announced its Iron Throne Blonde Ale, I admit- I rolled my eyes. I usually don't go for promotional gimmicks. However, I'm fond of Ommegang, I watch Game of Thrones, and I really like drinking. Curiosity won out.
I bought my first bottle on its Binny's release date- 3/14. I should have written the review then, but didn't realize how quickly the brew would sell out. I don't know why I made such a poor call; Chicago's Season 3 GoT sneak peek event sold out in less than 5 minutes! For the last 2 days, I've tried to secure a second, 750 ml bottle. Ha! Let me tell you how that went.
Location 1 - Binny's Lincoln Park: This was where my first bottle of Iron Throne came from. Eleven days later, the massive promotional display was gone. I was about to pull a Daenerys Targaryen and scream "WHERE ARE MY DRAGONS?!" right there in the store, but an employee noticed and offered his sympathy. "People really jumped on that," he frowned.
Location 2 - Binny's Lakeview: This location is more about wine and cheese than beer. There was no Iron Throne. Perhaps it was never there to begin with. "Not today."
(At this point, I used the handy Find a Beer tool on Ommegang's website. It directed me to...)
Location 3 - The Beer Temple: I figured this would be the spot for sure. Their slogan, "Beer to Revere," just SCREAMED Lannister. Everyone else apparently thought so, too. There was no Iron Throne left. Owner Chris Quinn was a knowledgeable guy, though.
Location 4 - World Wide Liquor and Food: Seven hells, I'd hit rock bottom! I HATE shady liquor stores. The windows of this place were covered in posters. The inside smelled like cigarettes, and the music playing sounded like someone vomiting into a trumpet. It was worth it, though. Here, in a fridge filled with randomly-organized products, were several bottles of Iron Throne. I bought two and RAN like I was being chased by White Walkers. My hair still stinks.
Why am I telling you this, gentle reader? One, to make sure you just plain skip Binny's. Two, to assure that you don't give up- Game of Thrones beer IS in Chicago! Three, to build up anticipation for my mediocre product review, since I totally lack the necessary vocabulary. Erm. Without further ado, my analysis of Ommegang's Iron Throne Blonde Ale:
Pour - Iron Throne foams up like crazy. Each time I pour it, I end up with a thick, fluffy froth that the bottle calls "luxurious." I commit a huge sin and wait for the foam to disappear before drinking.
Fragrance - The scent is my favorite part! It's a very grassy floral with the subtlest bit of lemon.
Taste - Game of Thrones is a hit TV series spawned from a hit book series. Thus, the potential audience for this beer is HUGE. Ommegang has created a truly accessible flavor. It's a tad bitter at the front, a tad hoppy at the back, not really defining itself as either. There are even fruity notes to experience just as the beer is swallowed. Basically, there's a little something for everyone, from your girly-beer drinker to your lover of hops.
Geekiness - Wait. Did Ommegang really choose a blonde ale just because the Lannisters are blonde?? Yyyyyup. For Game of Thrones, I expected something darker and more intense. I think I'll support the choice more when the reported future varieties come out; fingers crossed for a coffee or chocolate stout in honor of The Night's Watch! Anyway, Iron Throne's bottle features the same throne imagery that dominates HBO's promos. Again, not very original, but I have high hopes for a creative, future design based on dragons. Or direwolves. Or awesome boats. Or...
Price - Around $10 (I've spent $9.95 and $9.99 thus far). For an oversized bottle with 6.5% ABV in the city, I can't complain!
Events - My ChicagoNow colleage, the Beeronaut, has an awesome list of premiere tap events happening in Chicago this week.
Overall, as someone who ISN'T an expert, I recommend this beer. I enjoy it enough to drink it even while obsessively counting calories; that's saying something! Iron Throne does little to remind me of the HBO series, but I still appreciate that Game of Thrones is getting love in such a unique medium. I can't wait for the next release from Ommegang.
...aaaaand now that I've written this, I'm going to finish my glass.
Brace yourself. Intoxication is coming. Post below if you find a bottle!
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