Valar Morghulis: Ommegang debuts new Game of Thrones flavors

Event

Third Prize at the contest: A Brewery Ommegang Gift Set. Photocredit: Lakeshore Beverage Co.

By Eric Scull, co-host of Gameย of Owns

On Thursday, October 9, 2014, LakeShore Beverage Co., in association with Brewery Ommegang (Cooperstown, NY) held a public gathering to celebrate the recent release of Brewery Ommegang’s latest beer inspired by HBO’s hit series, Game of Thrones. The beer, a Dubbel ale called “Valar Morghulis” after a popular phrase from the series, was available on draft as well as its predecessor, Ommegang Brewery’s “Fire & Blood Red Ale.” Over 100 friends of craft brew and/or Game of Thrones bought tickets for the event, which also featured an interactive game, costume contest and live musical entertainment. This event was held within Moonlight Studios in Chicago’s West Loop.

The evening began at 6:00pm when a VIP Hour was held for additional ticket holders. This was a good time to find a table, try some of the beer without the full lines, and to meet with the organizers one-on-one. Members of WBEZ‘s podcast, called “Strange Brews,” recorded a podcast episode where they interviewed a representative from Brewery Ommegang. The podcasters also offered their suggestions for new entries in Ommegang’s Thrones-themed beer (you can listen to their full episode at this link).

IMG_1724

In total, four of Brewery Ommegang’s beers were available on draft throughout the evening. Valar Morghulis and Fire & Blood, as well as two of Ommegang’s non-Thrones beers, “Witte” and “Hennepin.” The event was also co-sponsored by Geek Bar, an upcoming Chicago eatery who developed two Thrones-themed cocktails for the event, both called “The Red Viper.” (options were for alcoholic versus non-alcoholic)

As with Lakeshore Beverage and Brewery Ommegang’s previous event, “A Wedding of Fire and Blood” (video recaps of which can be found here,ย  here and here) Internet sensation and identical-twin dual harpists Camille and Kennerly Kitt, also known as The Harp Twins, were on site playing their own twin-harp arrangements of the Game of Thrones main title theme, songs from the “A Song of Ice and Fire” books including “The Bear and the Maiden Fair” and “The Rains of Castamere,” as well as their own versions of classic rock ballads, for the entire three-hour event beginning at 7pm.

At 7:00, the event opened to regular ticket-holders and “Valar Morghulis: The Game” truly began.

IMG_1726

Every guest upon entering the event received a coin purse with game rules and a single Braavosi token. The game, which concluded at 9:30pm, was won by whoever held the most tokens at the end of the night. Tokens could be won in multiple ways: by correctly answering beer trivia questions presented by Strange Brews; by correctly answering Thrones trivia questions posed either at the same table or by the walking, talking Faceless Assassin (actor Clayton Faits) who traveled through the crowd; by locating Daenerys Targaryen’s (Lauren Faits) three dragons which were real dragon figurines scattered throughout the room; and by purchasing beer tickets (valid for one drink per ticket) for $5.

The secret to winning ended up being to donate your coins to a worthy cause (a friend) and the friends with the largest groups pooled their resources to win the grand prize, an expenses-paid trip to visit the Brewery Ommegang itself in Cooperstown, New York.

IMG_1730

Lauren Faits, author of the blog Geek Girl Chicago, held a Game of Thrones costume contest. The prize was a fabulous “Longclaw” replica sword as last seen in Jon Snow’s employ on the T.V. series. Fan costumes included more than one three-eyed raven, Cersei Lannister, Melisandre, and less commonly two Asha Greyjoys, two Direwolves, and several “hipster” versions of Thrones characters.

Perhaps the best costume was a Hodor, however, who did not participate in the contest but instead remained in character the entire night, and closed the event by offering a rousing (admittedly one-worded) speech.

IMG_1732

While the evening was planned by the extremely competent LakeShore Beverage Company, and the always high-quality Brewery Ommegang, this reviewer’s personal favorite event would have to be the Wedding of Fire and Blood, which took place at The Radler restaurant in Chicago this past March. While this event had some wonderful ideas (audience interactivity) and more things planned than before, the venue chosen for this event felt much smaller than last. There was no seating available (so guests were forced to stand for all 3+ hours), adjacent vacant rooms were not used to their potential, and organization at the event suffered deeply from a lack of any sort of proper sound system. It was difficult to tell what was going on at any given time as a result of overcrowding and lack of audience respect (in terms of volume control) for struggling announcers. The event organizers clearly know how to throw a cool event, the beer is always superb, and there is no reason to believe that their next event won’t be even more ambitious and successful.

The Highlights:

Editor’s Note: We were given the opportunity to sample the Valar Morghulis ale at this year’s Capclave and found it to be a mellow beer with some fruity notes and plenty of foam! A nice choice for those averse to stouts, IPAs and Ommegang’s signature Belgian brews. More pictures and reviews by WotW staff will be posted soon to our tumblr. -Bex

18 responses

Jump to (and Always Support) the Bottom

    1. Benjen!

      Went beer shopping this afternoon and they were just unpacking and stocking the Valar Morghulis brew that had just arrived. Total coincidence. Arya’s VM coin on the label is just magnificent. Picked up two bottles of that dubbel ale, two of the Fire & Blood red ale and two of the Take the Black stout. It shall be a fine evening.

        Quote  Reply

    2. Nice post-it’s good to have some different things to read on here.

      I’m not normally a fan of beer/cocktail posts, but as this one had a bit more to it, and was actually a proper feature it was well worth a read, rather than a glorified advertisement,

      Not much more to say on the topic, but I’d like to see more features on here, especially when filming (and WOTW awards) ends in a couple of months.

        Quote  Reply

    3. But I thought we were moving away from the Game of Thrones inspired drinks (kidding, it was a fan meetup)

        Quote  Reply

    4. The Dragon Demands:
      But I thought we were moving away from the Game of Thrones inspired drinks (kidding, it was a fan meetup)

      I was going to say something similar. Step away from the drink recipes! Just kidding. I picked up four bottles of VM yesterday from World Market and enjoyed one with my supper. I was pleasantly surprised as I usually prefer a Belgian type ale. I need to stock up before they are sold out. $9.50 USD is a bit pricey per bottle, but it was quite good. The corks have Valar Dohaeris imprinted on them so I am going to save then for my cork Christmas wreath projects.

        Quote  Reply

    5. I have a bottle of VM in the fridge right now. So far I have tried every Ommegang GoT brew and liked them all. I LOVED Take the Black and Fire and Blood.

        Quote  Reply

    6. Darkstar: $9.50 USD is a bit pricey per bottle, but it was quite good.

      Out of curiosity: how much would a comparable regular special beer cost where you live? I will never get my head around as to why people are pursuaded to buy these things just because a clever marketeer decided to put the ‘correct’ label on them, even if they were the same price as similar items. But yes, I’m a cynic and a skeptic by nature…
      I remember that the first year one of the readers of this [well, you know which] website made their own GoT-labels to put on bottles of their favourite beer for a GoT watching party. Doing that made those bottles every bit as ‘genuine’ as the Ommegang beers in my opinion. Hailing from Belgium, I would propose to do so with a Westvleteren Special, a Mort Subite Kriek, a blue Chimay, a Verboden Vrucht (Forbidden Fruit), a La Chouffe, and a Westmalle Tripel. It is rumoured that anyone who can drink all of those during a single episode of GoT will find themselves in Westeros on top of the Wall, watching down into the white depths of the North. Or it might just be the toilet…

        Quote  Reply

    7. I live in ‘beer land’ and the thought of anything besides hops, malt, yeast and water in a beer makes me shudder. I don’t like this fruity stuff and spices in a beer… I wouldn’t even call it beer anymore, it’s more like a mixed drink. ๐Ÿ˜›

        Quote  Reply

    8. Tar Kidho: Out of curiosity: how much would a comparable regular special beer cost where you live?

      Tar Kidho
      I don’t usually consume specialty beers so I honestly cannot tell you. They are, for the most part. too expensive for my budget. What I can compare it to is the 12-pack of Heineken or Stella Artois I generally always have on hand. They run about $12.00 to $15.00 for the 12 pack of 12 oz bottles vs a single 24 oz bottle of Valar Morghulis for $9.50. No, I won’t be swilling the stuff back, but it was the first GOT beer that I have actually been able to find, and it was surprisingly good. Yes, I purchased it for the novelty of it. The others were always sold out when I inquired. I did not bother with the Take the Black, as I do not like stout, but I really would have liked to at least have tasted the Fire and Blood; that sounded interesting

      Minty – I don’t care for fruity beverages too much myself. You should give it a try if you can get your hands on some. You might be surprised.

        Quote  Reply

    9. minty,

      You’re missing the sugars the yeast needs to make alcohol. The fruit and honey is forebearer of the Cornsyrup and granulated processed sugar brews you have gotten use to.

        Quote  Reply

    10. Atomix,

      The sugar is produced by malting the grain (usually barley) that’s what I meant with ‘malt’

      until today I have never heard of processed sugar brews 8)

        Quote  Reply

    11. minty: until today I have never heard of processed sugar brews 8)

      They actually do add sugar to some beers, Minty, even in Belgium ๐Ÿ˜‰ (interesting article on a whole, but check out the last paragraph for the sugarry bit)

        Quote  Reply

    12. Tar Kidho: They actually do add sugar to some beers, Minty,

      I do hope that the “beerland” that minty was referring to was either Belgium or Germany. Anywhere else and I may have to make a scene. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Regarding the Ommegang beers, I am a passionate stout man at heart but I was surprised at the robust flavor of the Fire & Blood Red Ale. Very unique bite to it. The label says they brew it with ancho chilies, which may be the reason for the subtle bite and surprising flavor.

      Cheers to the GoT tie-in with these beers. Great idea.

        Quote  Reply

    13. Hodor’s Bastard: I do hope that the โ€œbeerlandโ€ that minty was referring to was either Belgium or Germany. Anywhere else and I may have to make a scene.

      Phewww, I’m glad you won’t have to make a scene as I was referring to Germany ๐Ÿ™‚ I may have actually heard rumours that Belgian beers are quite good but haven’t tasted them yet. ๐Ÿ™‚ I don’t drink beer that much and normally my interest in beer production borders zero. ๐Ÿ˜› But a girl has things to learn and a girl will obey.

        Quote  Reply

    14. minty,

      Wiezenbiers in Teklenburg are to die for. Cheers! I’ll get the first few rounds for everyone. All hail the Reinheitsgebot! ๐Ÿ™‚

        Quote  Reply

    15. The beer distributor by me only had 1 bottle left and that was behind the counter. Gonna drink it later tonight when I watch football, I’ll let you know what I think

        Quote  Reply

    16. Well…hopefully I can still manage to grab this latest brew.
      I somehow managed to grab the first three even though they only seemed to have them once at the LCBO…and months after they originally came out. I frequent the LCBO often enough that I would have seen them if they were there more than once.

      They are around $9-10 each for these beers as well here.

      They certainly taste much better than the Molson Canadian swill we have to endure while Oktoberfesting here in Kitchener-Waterloo.

        Quote  Reply

    17. Oh hey! I was at that event. And I agree that the venue was pretty teeny. Still lots of fun and hope there are more in the future.

        Quote  Reply

    Jump to the Top

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *