So I missed reviewing this for the premier of the new season of Game of Thrones, partly because I was in Pittsburgh celebrating my birthday, but principally because I don’t watch the show and thus was only vaguely aware of its return. But now that it’s back, and legions of non-Raptors and non-Pacers fans will be thinking of little else tonight — Go Raps! — let’s get to the beer.
Ommegang’s GoT beers have had a fair amount of variation within them thus far, ranging from good but ordinary – Iron Throne – to excellent – Three-Eyed Raven. This bottle-conditioned and surprisingly strong ‘hoppy wheat ale’ definitely leans towards the latter, if not quite to the level of excellence of the Raven. It is light gold and hazy, despite days of sitting undisturbed in the refrigerator — which compels me to assume a fairly high proportion of wheat is involved, resulting in the protein haze — and the highly fragrant nose is sweet and perfumey, with carnation and cotton candy notes and hints of baked pear.
The body continues in the pear theme at the front, with a caramelly sweetness making me think of candied pear in the style of a caramel apple, but the ‘hoppy’ aspect arrives in the mid-palate to dry things and lead to a moderate bitterness, adding walnut and lemon zest notes before finally ending with a dry and crisp finish.
If I were better schooled in the series, I’m sure I could make some sort of clever GoT reference here, but given that I cannot, I’ll instead note that this rates highly in the amorphous category known as Belgian style strong golden ales. And that it would be a fine accompaniment to a Sunday evening of watching pitched battles and gratuitous nakedness, or playoff basketball.