Beers

A look at Three-Eyed Raven

Yesterday, Fast Company announced the name and style of our next Game of Thrones
inspired beer, Three-Eyed Raven Dark Saison Ale. 

Before we get to the excited beer details, here are answers to some FAQs: Three-Eyed Raven will be available this spring in the run up to the season premiere of Game of Thrones. Ommegang is not available in North Dakota, South Dakota, Mississippi, West Virginia, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming so unfortunately Three-Eyed Raven will also not be for sale in these states. Ommegang beers are only exported to a few provinces of Canada at the moment so Three-Eyed Raven will only be available outside of the United States in British Columbia, Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and Saskatchewan.

The 7.2% ABV ale will be available on draft (sixth-barrels) and in corked bottles (25.4 ounces). The recommended retail price is $9.50 per bottle.

Three-Eyed Raven is the fifth beer in the partnership between HBO and Brewery Ommegang.  Like its predecessors, the beer is inspired by themes and plot points from the award-winning HBO series. As season four wound down, the storyline of Bran and the three-eyed raven reached a shocking climax that portends dark and momentous events in store for the people of Westeros. A dark take on the classic saison style seemed most appropriate for the latest beer.

“A dark saison is a style that we’ve been intrigued with for a while now and one that’s open to a broader stylistic interpretation,” said Mike McManus, Brewery Ommegang’s Innovation Manager.  “When we zeroed in on Bran’s storyline with HBO, we knew this was the perfect opportunity to brew something with many different characteristics and attributes – a beer that’s not truly one thing or another. It is definitely the most unique beer in the series to date, which is very exciting.”

“Going into season five, Game of Thrones is bigger than ever, and we’ve learned very quickly over the past four beer releases that fans of this show are thirsty for Ommegang’s innovative and carefully conceived brews,” said Josh Goodstadt, Vice President of Global Licensing at HBO. “We’re certain those fans will be just as surprised by the complexity of Three-Eyed Raven as they were by Bran’s discovery at the end of season four.”

Three-Eyed Raven is brewed with a carefully crafted mixture of specialty malts, including malted rye, midnight wheat (provides depth of color but not the roasty flavor of a dark beer), and dark candi sugar. It’s hopped with Hallertau Spalt Select, Tettnang, and Bravo hops, which give the beer a spicy, fruity character. A fair amount of late-addition hops are added for character. Three-Eyed Raven is fermented and bottle-conditioned with Ommegang’s signature house yeast.

Saison qualities dominate Three-Eyed Raven with fruity esters, clean floral hops aromas, a light malt character with just a hint of roast and a pleasant yeastiness in the taste, and a crisp finish with lingering herbal hops and dry rye notes. The label art, which features the three-eyed raven, was created using an actual concept design illustration from the series.

Previous beers in the highly successful collaboration include: Valar Morghulis Dubbel Ale (available now), Fire and Blood Red Ale (spring 2014), Take the Black Stout (fall 2013), and Iron Throne Blonde Ale (spring 2013.) The first three beers in the series completely sold out and Valar Morghulis is well on its way, despite being brewed at nearly 4x the volume of Iron Throne. 

Counting the days until spring…

Allison, Brian, and Mike

Valar Morghulis

It’s 50 degrees at the brewery today and while we’re hoping for a few more days of warm weather, it seems that fall is taking hold. One upside to the cooler weather is the arrival of our fall seasonal, Scythe & Sickle harvest ale (available now) and Valar Morghulis Dubbel ale, our latest Game of Thrones-inspired beer, which will be on shelves soon.

There are always a lot of questions about how to get the Game of Thrones-inspired beers. It seemed helpful when we posted about finding Fire and Blood last spring so here are some tips and a few elements of the process to assist our friends this time around.

We’ve heard your shouts to make more so we have increased production to 88 brews for Valar Morghulis in the hopes that more fans will be able to enjoy the beer. 88 brews is the equivalent of 551,000 bottles or 109,000 gallons.

Valar Morghulis 750ml Bottle

Ommegang is currently not distributed 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.

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 here as they come in.

The first available sales day is Wednesday, October 1st. Not all stores or bars will be launching the beer this day as their delivery time for this week may vary. If you are in the Cooperstown area, you may purchase Valar Morghulis at the brewery store from 12-5pm beginning Friday, September 26th.

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.

Happy hunting,

Allison and Brian

From the Brewers: Upside Brown

We asked Brewer Mike McManus to tell us a bit about Upside Brown, the newest beer in our Brewmaster’s Obsession Series. Upside Brown is making it’s way from the brewery to store shelves now.

Upside Brown is an exploration of bottle-conditioned Brett character in a malty beer, specifically Brett character that enhances and complements the specialty malts. It’s best described a Biere de Garde (beer for keeping), a farmhouse-style brown ale traditionally brewed in Northern France and sometimes thought of as the lesser known cousin of the popular saison style. More so than most styles (if styles are your thing), Biere de Garde has a wide array of examples, from golden to copper to brown. Upside Brown is on the malty end of the spectrum, for sure.

upsidebrown

The base beer is brewed with wheat, Munich, a dash of drum-roasted malt, and lightly hopped with French Strisselspalt. Primary fermentation with our unique house yeast strain brings dark, ripe fruits to the party with a slight spicy, phenolic edge. Following primary fermentation, the beer is dosed with a blend of Brettanomyces and Saccharomyces.

Upside Brown 750ml BottleWe trialed a wide array of yeast blends and varying concentrations in order to get the character we wanted in this beer, a process that involved a lot of waiting and a lot of sampling. This distinctive yeast blend imparts a tart fruitiness, cherry pie character, and a fair amount of funky goodness. However, this is not intended to be a sour beer, there are a lot of misconceptions about Brett beers and sourness.

The beauty of this beer in my mind, is the marriage of the base beer and the elements brought by cellaring with Brett – the beer becomes more complex and more drinkable at the same time. We have cellared the beer for four months in climate-controlled conditions to ensure that you will not be disappointed drinking straight off of the shelf (wait until you get home). Aging will produce a drier beer with even more funky Brett character.

-Mike

Available for a limited time in 750ml bottles starting October 1st in AL, AZ, CA, CO, DC, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, KS, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, NJ, NV, NY, OH, PA, RI, SC, VA, WA, WI. Craft Shack also has some for sale online which they can ship directly to you.

Cooperstown Ale

Baseball and beer. Few things are more ingrained in America’s psyche than baseball and beer. The histories of both are laden with traditions and transcendence. Rascals and radicals. Celebration and shared experience. Treasured summertime moments with sun on our faces and a beer in our
hands. The timeless game defines our past and guides our future.

Since 1939, people the world over have recognized Cooperstown as the “Home of Baseball.” Cooperstown Ale tips our cap to those immortals and heroes enshrined and honored here. Their allure is a siren song to lovers of the game – setting them on a pilgrimage to this idyllic village, and a place we are ever so proud to call home.

Cooperstown Ale 12oz BottleBrewer Mike McManus shared his inspiration in crafting Cooperstown Ale.

As we revel in spring and look towards summer in our backyards and at our brewery, our tastes are changing with the seasons. Hop bines in our yard are climbing higher each day towards the sun and we have been firing up the grill with more frequency. At our home in Cooperstown, we are thinking more about our gardens, getting out on Otsego lake in the kayak, and of course, baseball.

With all leisurely pursuits in mind, especially those that can be performed with a beer in hand, we are happy to brew and release Cooperstown Ale for the first time in summer 2014. Cooperstown Ale is brewed with our Upstate NY home in mind. It’s one of those beers that we want to drink while watching the game, or playing one of our own.  A session-worthy 5.5% ABV, Cooperstown Ale is mashed with Pilsner, Pale, a touch of caramel malts, and a bit of white wheat and oats to round out the body. Slightly sweet malt gives way to a balanced hop character blending varieties from Germany, the Pacific Northwest, and Australia. Fruity and earthy yeast flavors come from our house strain. Thoroughly balanced, this blonde ale is a bit of Cooperstown, by way of Belgium.

2005 FALL 8in _4Being in Cooperstown during the summer is truly a special time, and while we can’t bottle that feeling up and send it to you, we figured a new beer would be the next best thing. Hopefully that will suffice until your next trip to Cooperstown.

Cooperstown Ale is available for a limited time in 1/2 barrel and 12oz 4-packs. Visit our beer finder to find Cooperstown Ale near you. 

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.