Booze

Beer of Thrones

What to Drink While Watching Game of Thrones
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Like most of the Lannisters, it has a blonde head.

Like most of the Lannisters, it has a blonde head.

DogBadge Writers Marshal Rosenthal
Marshal Rosenthal is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer specializing...
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by Marshal M. Rosenthal

For the two of you who don’t yet know, Game of Thrones isn’t a sitcom. Or a romantic comedy. Or the kind of show that lets you sit back and tune out.  HBO’s gaggle of characters make this epic fantasy into engaging and compelling TV. But it’s got dragons and undead frost monsters, so it’s hard to swallow. Wash it down easier with a Game of Thrones Belgian-style brew. Who’s the Belgian brewery with the stones to produce one? New York-based Brewery Ommegang, is who.

We sat down with Brewmaster Phil Leinhart to get the skinny. But mostly so we could take the cork off their latest creation, Iron Throne Blonde Ale.

Brewmaster Phil Leinhart has the job we all want.

Brewmaster Phil Leinhart has the job we all want. (courtesy of Phil Leinhart/Ommegang)

Man Cave Daily
How does someone become a Brewmaster?

Phil Leinhart
I started my career in 1987 with the Manhattan Brewing Company in New York and then went to Boston before going to Germany to work/study there. I worked with The Lion Brewery in Pennsylvania and then for Anheuser-Busch in Newark, New Jersey. I met the original owners of the brewery and came on as the Director of Production in 2007 before attaining the title of Brewmaster (in 2008)

Man Cave Daily
What is it about working for a small brewery like Ommegang that is appealing?

Phil Leinhart
A small brewery offers the opportunity to be more creative. Also the feel is different in a small brewery…more hands-on. That said, working for Anheuser-Busch was a very gratifying experience. There is a lot of expertise and experience in a company like that and I learned a great deal there.

Man Cave Daily
So what does a Brewmaster do?

Phil Leinhart
I would say the primary responsibility of a Brewmaster is the taste of the beer. Included in that is, of course, tasting as well as reviewing lab data and making process changes as needed (continuous improvement). I am also involved in the “Big Picture” (Capital Projects, Financials, etc.).

Man Cave Daily
So it all comes down to your taste buds?

Phil Leinhart
Not entirely, because analytics are important tools that play a part. But there’s nothing as sensitive as the human palate so a great deal of what makes the brew “right” relies on taste and experience to point me in the right direction.

A beer fit for a King. Or Queen. Or a Noble. Or pretty much anyone.

A beer fit for a King. Or Queen. Or a Noble. Or pretty much anyone. (credit: Ommegang)

Man Cave Daily
How did Ommegang get involved with Game of Thrones?

Phil Leinhart
Ommegang was contacted by HBO — turns out that HBO guys frequent a Belgian cafe bar where our beers are well represented called BXL in Times Square. Ommegang’s imagery has a European, medieval imagery which matches up well with the show’s icons and symbolism.

Man Cave Daily
What are the theme beers that will be produced?

Phil Leinhart
Ommegang will be producing a total of four beers: two to be released this year and two for 2014. They’ll be available in the major metropolitan areas such as New York, Boston and San Francisco.

Man Cave Daily
The first beer, Iron Throne Blonde Ale, is available now. What can you tell us about it?

Play it safe by drinking in Queen Cersei Lannister with your eyes from a distance.

Play it safe by drinking in Queen Cersei Lannister with your eyes from a distance. (credit: HBO)

Phil Leinhart
The beer was formulated with Queen Cersei Lannister in mind. She’s very fair, blonde and beautiful and seemingly sweet — but pure evil inside. So the beer is also fair in color and a little sweet from honey malt. But we also added in lemon peel to make it tart and give it a “bite” and added more hops to amp up the bitterness.

Man Cave Daily
How long did it take before you were happy with the taste of the beer?

Phil Leinhart
It took about half a year: three or four test batches. There were also some minor tweaks to get the balance of the hops and spices to where we wanted them. We also kept in mind that a lot of people — fans of the show, for example, may be tasting one of our beers for the first time and we didn’t want to clobber them with something very big and complex. We wanted the beer to be accessible.

Man Cave Daily
Are you pleased with how people are responding to Iron Throne Blonde Ale?

Phil Leinhart
Iron Throne Blonde Ale was released in March and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. It’s good to drink anytime of course, but it really tastes great while watching the show.


Wheat photo: Thinkstock

Is this Elysium?

Marshal Rosenthal is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer specializing in technology, consumer electronics and pop culture. Visit his website.

We deserve the Congressional Medal of Self-Restraint for not writing a 55-minute Daenerys love scene.

We deserve the Congressional Medal of Self-Restraint for not writing a 55-minute Daenerys love scene.

You can never get enough Game of Thrones or beer, so here are The Best Wheat Beers, Period to enjoy while you guffaw at our Never-Before-Seen ‘Game of Thrones’ Script.

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