Considering the holidays are just around the corner, we here at 4LN thought it’d be a good idea to give you a round of nerdy food and drinks you could enjoy/share with your families this season. Being that I’m probably the biggest beer nerd of the group, I gleefully volunteered to be the one that brings you a quick review of some nerdy beers. Today I’m reviewing two beers that are directly connected to our nerd world, first being the latest in the Game of Thrones brew series the Take The Black Stout from Ommegang Brewery in New York, and second being from the stories of Harry Potter; The Hog’s Head Brew from Florida Brewing Company in Universal Studios. For those are you who are not beer snobs, I’m going to review each beer in 5 different categories:
Appearance: How it looks.
Smell: This is obvious
Taste: Another obvious one.
Feel: How it feels in your mouth (Hold the jokes, Bill. Please)
Overall: If you don’t know what this means….just leave.
This is my first ever written review of beer so hopefully you find it useful in making a decision about what to drink this holiday season.
Here we go!
Take the Black Stout—Ommegang Brewery
Serving: Wine Glass (Don’t judge me)
Style: While labeled a stout, I think this could also be labeled a Dark Belgian Ale, though I’m reviewing it as a stout.
Appearance: This is probably one of the darkest beers I’ve ever poured, and rightfully so being that its name is Take The Black (referring to an oath taken by the men who stand at Night’s Watch). Boldly black as a concentrated coffee, it pours smooth with a 3 and a half finger tan head. It looks as though the men who watch the wall brewed it themselves; dark and bold.
Smell: Served in a wine glass (I really need to invest in proper glassware) as this was the best glass I had to try and capture the smell of this lovely stout. Instantly you get dark chocolate mixed with caramel, earthy hops, and a slight fruitiness.
Taste: Deep flavors of chocolate and roasted barley are at the front, with the spices of licorice and star anise created a very mellow flavor in the back. The licorice somehow mellows the bright hops you smell, making this deliciously smooth, and perfect for a cold night by a fire. I was expecting to get a coffee flavor being that it is a stout, but it never really emerged. Considering it is a higher content beer, I expected a slight boozy taste near the end, but that wasn’t present either which is a huge plus. It was great.
Feel: It has a medium to heavy body, which is to be expected, but is perfectly balanced with carbonation to make it easily drinkable.
Overall: Aside from missing the coffee flavor that I’m accustomed to with stouts, this was a perfect order by Ommegang Brewery for their GoT series. Well done boys, well done.
Food Pairing: This is a great beer for Thanksgiving. It would blend perfectly with the turkey and all its sides. Also, this is a great dessert beer that would paid nicely with cheesecake, chocolate, or your grandma’s prize winning pumpkin pie. Enjoy.
Hog’s Head Brew—Florida Brewing Company (Universal Studios)
While at my stay in Orlando, FL we had the awesome experience of going to Universal Studios for a couple of days. The best place, and most crowded, by far was The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Seriously when you walk through the gates of this part of the park your breath is kind of taken away. On the day that we went it was actually cloudy so it felt like I had literally walked into one of the movies. Enough about the park though… let’s get to the beer.
Serving: Draft in plastic Hog’s Head stein
Style: Scottish Ale
Appearance: Slightly brown in color with a soft amber glow. The tan head of this beer was only about a finger thick (at best) and quickly dissipated. The lacing could be seen through the entire cup afterwards which was impressive being it was served in plastic.
Smell: Scents of biscuit and malts with a slight hop aroma. Somewhere in there was a bit of toasted caramel as well.
Taste: In the front of this beer you immediately get the sweetness of caramel malt with a slightly bitter hop on the back end; a crisp and slightly dry finish.
Feel: It had a light to medium body with great carbonation that didn’t get in the way. I’d be curious to taste this in the bottle rather than draft, which tends to change the mouth feel quite a bit.
Overall: Considering this is a craft beer in a theme park, I thought it was stellar. Being that Florida is always a warm place, I’d say they knocked it out of the park delivering a Scottish Ale (which can be pretty heavy to drink) that was refreshing and easily drinkable. Too bad this is only available in the park, I’d buy it again especially with Thanksgiving coming up.
I enjoyed this beer with a smoked turkey leg, which couldn’t have been a better pairing. The malty flavors of the beer accentuated the smoked buttery flavor of the turkey leg.