If you can't wait until Sunday for the return of "Game of Thrones," you may have luck tempering your excitement by sipping on the latest official beer produced for the series, a dark saison ale by the name of "Three-Eyed Raven."
As with previous beers produced for HBO's hit show, Three-Eyed Raven is the brainchild of Brewery Ommegang, a New York brewery that specializes in Belgian-style suds. And just like the show's own three-eyed raven, a quick glance at the beer reveals a mysterious, brooding creature.
Before you take flight in search of your own bottle, read on for our take on the beer, a sample of which HBO and Brewery Ommegang sent The Huffington Post to review.
HuffPost's tasting panel consisted of eight people across the beer spectrum, including an admitted wine drinker, a home brewer, two noted Denver beer bloggers, and a professional brewer at Avery Brewing Co.
In Stark contrast to the three-eyed raven of the show, you're unlikely to gain special powers or any clear insight if you spend too much time with its boozy cousin, which rings in at 7.2 percent alcohol by volume.
As you'll note from the above photo, Three-Eyed Raven pours deep, murky, and dark. Darker than the cloaks that enrobe the men of the Night's Watch. Darker, even, than George R.R. Martin's black sense of humor.
The appearance, however, belies the beer's flavor itself, which reviewers described as more of a strong, bitter wheat. Initial flavors of light citrus fruit quickly dissipated into a dry, hoppy finish with quite a few tannins. Literature accompanying our samples described that hoppy finish as "herbal" with notes of "dry rye," and while some panelists enjoyed it, others found it a little too bitter. Readers who don't enjoy hops would be well advised to age their bottles a couple months, which should mellow that flavor significantly.
A thick, well-developed tan head rested comfortably atop our pours, though on our chilled sample the nose was barely perceptible. In a slightly warmer bottle, one reviewer found aromas of banana, phenols, and caramel, though they weren't immediately apparent unless you're really looking for them.
While the pairing notes supplied to HuffPost recommended "roasted chicken and pork," and "grilled vegetables, goat cheese and smoked gouda," our panel went an entirely different direction and imagined enjoying this beer with a nice Sunday brunch. Think hearty buckwheat pancakes with maple syrup, said one participant, or a savory apple tart with green chile.
So is Three-Eyed Raven worth seeking out ahead of the show's April 12 premiere? Our reviewers said "yes" for the novelty factor at an MSRP of $9.50, but were otherwise on the fence, especially at any higher price point. We recommend buyers age the beer for a couple months for the bitterness to mellow and the malty profile to come to the forefront.
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