Seven Kingdoms Hoppy Wheat from the Brewery Ommegang Game of Thrones series of craft beers makes a good one. The neck label has the Game of Thrones title over the Game of Thrones banner. The main label suggests the exploding bright light from the HBO television series with the main focus on stylized interlocking rings. It is eye catching to both fans and casual observers.
I am not well acquainted with either the A Song of Ice and Fire books or the Game of Thrones HBO television series, but I am a big fan of pairing beers with works of art, most recently enjoying Bell’s Brewery Planet Series while listening to Gustav Holst’s The Planets. It’s a nice development in the craft beer world in my opinion.
The bottle appearance is traditional Brewery Ommegang. The 750ml champagne bottle is corked and caged. After uncoiling the well-twisted cage wire the bottle is opened with a satisfying pop as the cork is withdrawn which is accompanied by a circulating wisp of vapor. One can’t resist taking a sniff of the cork – wine style – and is rewarded with a wonderfully enticing aroma.
The beer pours with a thick, creamy head which is well retained in the gold Game of Thrones tulip glass and is a pale yellow in color with slightly hazy appearance one would expect from a Hoppy Wheat. The white foam lingers in clumps on the sides as the beer is consumed.
The taste is an interesting, complex mixture of styles. The foundation is a traditional Belgian, with a yeasty wheat backbone, finishing with a citrus (I tasted grapefruit, others reported tangerine) hoppiness which likely come from the generous late hop additions of Bravo, Centennial, Citra, Cascade and Columbus as reported from the brewery. As one drinks the beer, your taste buds are firing away and demanding another chance to sort out this complexity. It is rich and rewarding and never gets boring. At 6.9%ABV, it is easy drinking and the flavors are not at all overwhelmed by excessive alcohol as is sometimes the case.
It is my habit when drinking these large 750ml champagne bottles to let the bottle sit out on the counter as I drink the first glass. I like to see how the flavors evolve as the beer warms. In this case, the flavors intensify and the mouthfeel becomes more robust. The beer is equally enjoyable at the recommended 40F or warmer. Much colder and I think that the flavors would be muted.
I had the beer by itself, but it is easy to see that it would be an excellent companion at mealtime. The brewery suggests pairing with fish dishes or light fresh cheeses to complement the citrus hop character and light body of the beer.
For fans of the television series, I’d recommend picking up 10 bottles, one for each episode of season six which kicks off April 24, 2016. Or maybe you’ll be lucky and find a few of the earlier Brewery Ommegang releases, hidden in the dark recesses of your local bottle shop. There can be no doubt that having a bottle of Seven Kingdoms Hoppy Wheat is exactly what is needed when one embarks on the discovery of the world of Westeros. If this first experience with Game of Thrones is any indication, I just may have to do that myself.