Drink and Know Things with “Hand of the Queen” Barleywine

I’m a sucker for licensed/themed food and drinks, and the Game of Thrones/Brewery Ommegang partnership is one of my faves. For the past five years, they’ve been making beers inspired by characters and events from Game of Thrones, and your viewing parties have never been the same.

Even though the show isn’t coming back for another year, Ommegang is still at it: they’re releasing the Royal Reserve Collection, a series of four new beers, in 2018. The first one is Hand of the Queen, a barleywine ale inspired by everyone’s favorite character, Tyrion Lannister.

HBO and Ommegang sent me a couple bottles to sample before it comes out, and I highly recommend you pick this up. The barleywine is bold, rich, and much smoother than I would have expected. Ommegang had this to say about the beer:

Brewed with a complex blend of specialty malts and carefully-selected old-world hops, Hand of the Queen is a rich, full-bodied version of a classic barleywine and comes in at 10.7% ABV. Malt forward and multifaceted, the beer balances the intense flavors of brandy-soaked raisins and dark fruit with the lighter notes of apricot. Hints of molasses and toffee are evident before a finish characterized by the classic yet distinctive barleywine alcoholic heat. Hand of the Queen, an old-world example of the style, attempts to balance these strong yet unruly opposing forces, much like the way Tyrion maintains the balance of power among his influential contemporaries in Westeros.

It’s the perfect drink to carry around with you while you make snarky comments about everyone else in your life. If you’d prefer to wait and enjoy the beer with the new season next year, grab a bottle now and cellar it. Barleywine can be aged like normal wine.

Hand of the Queen is available in stores in early April. The other three pieces of the Royal Reserve Collection will be released in July, October, and December. Are you going to collect them all? (I know I will!)

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