Beers

A look at Valar Morghulis

Yesterday, Mashable announced the name and style of our fourth Game of Thrones-inspired beer. Today we’re happy to share additional details about the new beer with you!

To answer the big questions up front: Valar Morghulis will be available this fall. Ommegang is not available in North Dakota, South Dakota, Mississippi, West Virginia, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming so unfortunately Valar Morghulis will also not be for sale in these states. Ommegang beers are only exported to a few provinces of Canada at the moment so Valar Morghulis will only be available outside of the United States in British Columbia, Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and Saskatchewan.

In the world of Westeros, Valar Morghulis meansall men must die.” Fans of the hit HBO show decided that “all men must drink” as well when they voted the foreboding phrase as the name of the newest beer in the Game of Thrones collaboration between HBO and Brewery Ommegang as part of a late December Facebook poll. The voting also determined the style of the new beer – an Abbey Dubbel – which is perfectly represented by the “two-headed” coin which will adorn the labels.

Valar Morghulis is a central thematic element in the critically acclaimed show’s fourth season, which recently debuted to record ratings. As Arya Stark continues her journey to track down what family she has left and to avenge those who have fallen, she adopts the High Valyrian phrase as a mantra against the people she wants dead. As the name for the new beer, the phrase won out during the December poll over Seven Kingdoms (Tripel), Hand of the King (Quad) and Khal (Quad). Thousands of fans cast their votes during the contest, and Valar Morghulis was the clear favorite with almost half of the votes.

“The fan response to the beers has been so incredibly positive that we thought it would be a fun reward to ask them to play an active role in selecting the fourth beer,” said Bill Wetmore, Director of Marketing for Brewery Ommegang. “It’s not uncommon to hear “valar brewghulis” spoken in the halls of the brewhouse, so we were secretly hoping that Valar Morghulis would be the winner. Our brewers are also excited to brew a Dubbel, a classic Belgian beer style, and have some great ideas to make this release extra special.”

Valar Morghulis follows Iron Throne Blonde Ale (spring 2013), Take the Black Stout (fall 2013), and Fire and Blood Red Ale (available now) in the hugely popular partnership between HBO and Brewery Ommegang. The limited runs of Iron Throne and Take the Black sold out in a few short weeks, and Fire and Blood Red Ale is also selling out quickly, despite being brewed at nearly double the volume of the first two beers.

“The fan base for Game of Thrones keeps growing larger as each new season debuts, and the popularity of the beers is growing right along with the show,” said Josh Goodstadt, Vice President of HBO Global Licensing. “For this fourth beer, we found the perfect opportunity to give those diehard fans the power to choose what beer they wanted to drink, and we can’t wait to share this special brew with them this fall.”

Valar Morghulis is brewed with pilsner and other specialty malts and hopped with Apollo and Hallertau Spalt Select hops. The hue is deep amber-brown with a persistent, creamy, off-white head. Aromas include caramel, toffee, ripe fruit, banana and slightly burnt sugar. The taste is well-balanced with rich malty sweetness, caramel and sugar, and just a touch of bitterness to balance. The finish is surprisingly dry and light on the tongue, belying the aroma and initial taste.

“The Dubbel is one of the most recognized beer styles in Belgium and this is a very tasty version of that style,” said Mike McManus, Ommegang Innovation Manager. “Valar Morghulis is a complex beer, much like the stories surrounding the phrase.”

Valar Morghulis image_small

The label art will feature the two-headed coin, given to Arya Stark by Jaqen H’ghar, one of the “Faceless Men of Braavos” – legendary assassins with the ability to change their appearance at will. Each cork will be fire-branded with “Valar Dohaeris,” which is the traditional response phrase to “Valar Morghulis” meaning “all men must serve.”

Valar Morghulis will be available nationally this fall (exact launch date still TBC) on draft (sixth-barrels) and in corked bottles (25.4 ounces). The recommended retail price is $8.50 per bottle.

Fire and Blood Launch

UPDATE 4/14: B-21 has Fire and Blood in stock.

UPDATE 4/7: CraftShack.com is sold out of Fire and Blood but Totalwine has it in stock.

UPDATE 4/2: We saw last night that CraftShack.com has Fire and Blood in stock.

Finally, the day you all have been waited for is here, as March 31 marks the first official day of Fire and Blood sales. There are always a lot of questions floating around on how to get the beer so we thought it would be helpful to offer some tips and explain a few elements of the process.

Fire and Blood has three unique labels that are randomly distributed throughout the cases. Each bottle contains the same beer. Each case has at least one of each type of label.

Ommegang is currently not distributed in North Dakota, South Dakota, Mississippi, West Virginia, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming so unfortunately Fire and Blood Red Ale will also not be for sale in these states. Ommegang beers are only exported to a few provinces of Canada at the moment so Fire and Blood will only be available outside of the United States in British Columbia, Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and Saskatchewan.

It is illegal for us to sell online or directly to customers who are not at the brewery, so we cannot do any online orders. We sell the beer from the brewery to distributors in each state who then sell to retailers (bars, grocery stores and other locations). There are a few websites that are allowed to sell beer directly to fans and we will post those them here as they come in.

The first available sales day is Monday, March 31st. Not all stores or bars will be launching the beer this day as their delivery time for this week may vary.

Our best advice is to call your local beer store first. The beer is going to sell very quickly in some places so before you trek out to find it, call ahead and make sure your store has it in stock before making any long journeys.

We have a beer finder that will show the locations that the beer has been sold to. The beer finder works by aggregating sales data from the distributor and it is uploaded often a few days after the sale into the account. With the great demand it might even be sold out by the time it is listed on our beer finder, so again we strongly encourage you to call your local retailers in advance.

We have a limited stock of the official Game of Thrones® Fire and Blood glassware available on our e-store.

We have more than tripled the amount of beer we have produced in the past in hopes that everyone is able to get a chance to purchase the beer. Happy hunting.

Beer Dinner Recap: Cafe Ommegang’s ‘Festive Harvest’

If you missed Café Ommegang’s Festive Harvest Dinner, don’t fret. There will lots more Great Beer Deserves Great Food action in the future.  For now, let’s just savor the memories…

First Course: Fresh cherry tomatoes, roasted in balsamic & honey with toasted sesame seeds on a bed of fresh greens. Paired with Ommegang’s Abbey ale. 

This dish was a play on a Candied Apple, using a candied balsamic vinegar coating over top of cherry tomatoes, paired with the Abbey ale.  The sweetness of the tomato and the dark balsamic flavors from the coating paired well with Abbey ale’s full bodied flavors, highlighting the sweetness of the ale’s  licorice root and star anise.

Second Course: Harvest salad with radicchio and spinach, topped with grapes, dried apricots, raisins, and pine nuts in a citrus vinaigrette. Paired with Ommegang’s Witte ale. 

The contrast of sweet fruits and bitter radicchio created a beautiful balance,  like hops and malts in the fine Ommegang Witte.  The salad’s citrus vinaigrette payed homage to the orange peel and coriander in the Witte.  Overall, the pairing was pretty radicchio.

Third Course: Sweet pear & savory parsnip soup made and paired with Ommegang’s Hennepin ale.

An Ommegang cafe staff favorite.  A warm soup made with pears and parsnip.  An elegant balance of sweet and savory, the pear and parsnip soup was slightly sweet with a delicate balance of spices, supported by using the Hennepin ale in the preparation of the dish.  The soup paired with the Hennepin ale, which gave the dish a perfect compliment, finishing the soup with a light ginger taste and dry finish.

Fourth course: Chicken stuffed w/ walnuts apples and brie Paired with Duvel Rustica.

This entrée was paired with our new Duvel Rustica.  Stuffed chicken had a combination of savory and sweet flavors, varying from an aromatic brie, to a sweet, soft apple, to a slight crunch from the walnuts, served over a bed of carrots, red onion, and parsnip.  Vegetables were roasted with Duvel Rustica and were positioned on the plate to look like a pile of leaves for an extra fall touch.  A delicious butternut squash pilaf in accompanied the chicken and roasted vegetables. While each component of the dish was delicious by itself, it came together as a whole when all parts were combined, along with the Duvel Rustica.

Dessert: Forest fruit pie paired with Rare Vos

A delicious flaky pie with blackberries, raspberries and blue berries, topped with a whipped cream made with Three Philosophers.  The sweetness of the berries paired well with the caramel malt flavors.  The slightly peppery finish of the Rare Vos made the dish a delicious blend of sweet and spicy.

Look out for more Café Ommegang & Great Beer Deserves Great Food dinner announcements on Facebook.com/Ommegang.