If you’re going to create an edible tie-in with Game of Thrones, beer is a sensible choice (good luck marketing eel pies and Dothraki goat). To mark the show’s upcoming third season, HBO has partnered up with New York-based Ommegang brewery to produce a line of beers fit for the world of Westeros.
Unlike some tie-in campaigns, which repurpose pre-existing products, HBO asked Ommegang, which specializes in Belgian-style ales, to create brews from scratch. The first beer, Iron Throne Blonde Ale, will debut mid- to late-March to coincide with the show’s March 31 premiere. The second beer will launch next fall, followed by two more beers in subsequent seasons.
How exactly does one translate the essence of a TV show into a brew? For its inaugural beer, Ommegang decided to go with a beer that was flavorful but not too complex. "We wanted to make something that was fairly easy to drink while you watch the show," explains Ommegang brewer and Innovation Manager Mike McManus. So in lieu of a dark, heavy beer, they chose a blond ale and zeroed in on the evil Lannister family for inspiration. "We wanted something fair-colored that related to the fair-haired Lannister household. There’s also a certain amount of conniving and back-door dealing that they do. To relate to that, we used a traditional spice in Belgian beer called grains of paradise. We also used lemon peel to make the beer a bit tart."
Given its Belgian-style tradition, Ommegang is a logical tie-in for a drama set in medieval-esque times. "We brew in a tradition that Belgians have been using for hundreds of years," says Ommegang PR manager Allison Capozza. "That’s what makes us a good fit for Game of Thrones as opposed to a comedy, which is lighthearted and slapstick."
Iron Throne Pale Ale will be available on draft and in 750ml bottles.