Soaking Up the Suds with James Crane

It’s been a few weeks now. I’m sure you miss it. The blood, the sex, the intrigue … it was a staple of your Sunday night. Most likely, you read this and thought of Game of Thrones. Otherwise, your life is quite a bit more interesting than mine. In which case, good for you. Let me know when your book is coming out.

For the rest of us, however, there is a gap in our souls. Sure, you could try and find some other series to fill it, but who are we kidding? When it comes to filling the empty void inside of us, what works better than beer? At the very least, it is something to do while we wait a very long time for the next season.
If you’ve been reading this column or if you’ve hung out in any half-decent bottle shops, it is likely that you know of the Game of Thrones-themed beers from Brewery Ommegang in New York. They’ve done blonde ales, red ales and stouts. Their “Three-Eyed Raven” dark saison was particularly tasty and unique. As with everything from Ommegang, these beers are well balanced and delicious, always exemplary examples of their particular styles.

This week, I’m trying their latest in this line of brews, Seven Kingdoms Hoppy Wheat Ale. A good wheat ale is one of my favorite summertime drinks, providing that needed thirst-quenching crispness with a good amount of character. Some extra hops never really hurt anything either. Belgian wheat and spice with some American hops sounds like a great union.

First, let’s talk about the pour. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a beer pour as beautifully as this one. Even with a careful tilt and a slow stream of liquid, this brew made copious amounts of beautiful fluffy white head. There was about a good two fingers-worth of that lovely foam. It never really went away, each sip of it having to make its way through that fluffy top. It left thick lacing all the way down the glass. It really was one of the most beautiful pours I’ve seen.

The scent was certainly one of a Belgian wheat beer. There was yeast, biscuity malt, bananas, spice and a bit of lemony citrus. Added to this were some hops.
While it didn’t seem like there was an absurd amount of the flower in the brew, it did seem like there would be enough to make their presence known.

The taste was pretty much perfectly described on the bottle. There was wheat, and there were hops. It was so incredibly clean; each of those ingredients were so distinguishable from the other. I feel like I could have just chewed on a mouthful of wheat and then a mouthful of hops and it would have tasted pretty close to this beer. Words like fresh, crisp and pure come to mind. Sure, there was some lemon and spice too, but this toasty grain-hop combo really takes center stage. The lack of abrasion in the flavor made this hazy brew really quite drinkable. Nothing really stops it from easily going down your throat and into your waiting belly.

This beer is exceptional. It is incredibly well crafted and balanced. If you’re going to fill that iron throne-shaped hole in your soul with booze, this is a great one to pick.

The Seven Kingdoms have never looked better.