Saturday, 5 April 2014

Iron Throne Blonde Ale

In honour of the return of the truly excellent Game of Thrones, I thought I'd fast track my review of Brewery Ommegang's Iron Throne Blonde Ale. Synergy!

According to the label, this beer, brewed in homage to the Game of Thrones, is "suitable to serve to kings, or pretenders to the Iron Throne". Hailing from Cooperstown, New York, ITBA is sold in impressive corked 650mL bottles featuring an image of the Iron Throne itself. It contains a hearty 6.5% alcohol and "is brewed with grains of paradise and lemon peel". The label also points out that this beer is "part of the Duvel family of fine Belgian ales". It's a cloudy, muted, golden hued ale, topped with a lusty white head.  Be sure to pour it gently, lest your beer foam over.

It has an aroma that is both yeasty and citrus-tinged. Iron Throne is quite mild, particularly on the front end. The flavour blends the bitter, tart, tang of lemon peel with a sourdough yeastiness. It has a very short, dry finish with a dusting of hops and, to my mind, the best element: an intriguing spice quality. It's subtly (dangerously) boozy, with a tame, but fascinating, flavour profile.

If I were in charge of branding at Ommegang, I'd have made the Iron Throne beer something a bit more formidable--perhaps a double I.P.A. or a take no prisoners imperial porter--in order to reflect the daunting might and influence associated with the seat.  But I'm not. The powers that be opted for a blonde ale (a nod to King Joffrey?), and they came up with a pretty fine one.

As a big, bearded, loud, occasionally drunken, and frequently boorish oaf, I can safely say that Robert Baratheon wouldn't turn down a pint (of a keg) of this nectar. This is a very approachable Belgian-style brew with enough depth to satisfy a beer snob. I'd have liked a bit more flavour; bolder citrus notes in the front end and deeper hop lines toward the finish. New initiates to Belgian-style ales: get this stuff. Hardened fans of Belgian brews might find Iron Throne a touch on the mild side.

Rating; 8.0 out of 10.

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