With the latest beer linked to the hit HBO series set to debut Oct. 1, it's apparent that Game of Thrones fans are also beer fans (we're not surprised). The first two releases in HBO Licensing’s partnership with Cooperstown, NY-based Brewery Ommegang, Iron Throne Blond Ale (spring 2013) and Take the Black Stout (fall 2013) sold out in just a few weeks. The most recent release, Fire & Blood Red Ale (spring 2014), flew off the shelves just as quickly, despite being brewed at almost twice the volume of the previous releases. (Who’s been drinking all this ale, the Hound?!)
The style and name of the fourth entry in the beer series were selected via a Facebook poll last December. Fans picked Valar Morghulis, a Belgian-style dubbel ale.
Named after the High Valyrian phrase that Arya Stark adopts as a mantra against those who have harmed (if not brutally massacred) her family, Valar Morghulis (“All men must die”) is brewed with pilsner and other specialty malts and hopped with Appollo and Hallertau Spalt Select hops, plus dark Candi sugar. It has a malty, sweet aroma with a dry, light finish. The brewery suggests pairing it with savory dishes such as marinated roasts and grilled venison (that you’ve hunted yourself, obviously) and strong, Britishy cheeses such as Stilton, Gorgonzola and smoked cheddar.
“Valar Morghulis is a complex beer, much like the stories surrounding the phrase,” said Mike McManus, Ommegang innovation manager. Indeed, one would be wise not to mess with Arya Stark, her PTSD and her "Needle."
Valar Morghulis beat out Seven Kingdoms (Tripel), Hand of the King (Quad) and Khal (Quad). It was the clear favorite, with almost half the votes. “It’s not uncommon to hear ‘valar brewghulis’ spoken in the halls of the brewhouse, so we were secretly hoping that Valar Morghulis would be the winner,” said Bill Wetmore, director of marketing for Brewery Ommegang.
The label art features the two-headed iron coin that Arya carries with her, and each cork is fire-branded with “Valar Dohaeris,” the traditional response to “Valar Morghulis,” meaning “All men must serve.”
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Valar Morghulis will be available nationally on draft and in corked 25.4-ounce bottles. At 8.0% ABV, it is a heady brew. To find it near you, click on the “find a beer” tab at www.ommegang.com.
Apparently, all men must drink (Valar Imbibus?) as well as die.