All Men Must Drink
A Review of Valar Morghulis by Ommegang Brewery
Posted on 6/12/2015 by Chops
                   
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Unless you have been living under a rock, you have at least heard of HBO's epic series Game of Thrones, based on the wildly popular fantasy novels by George R. R. Martin. Craft beer fandom and fantasy geekdom seem to go hand in hand, as countless beer nerds rejoiced when Ommegang announced a series of Belgian beers influenced by the mythical lands of Westeros. I recently got my hands on the fourth beer in the series, entitled Valar Morghulis (''all men must die'' in High Valyrian). Not exactly the most confidence building name for a beer, but at the same time, Thrones fans are all about adventure.

As per Ommegang: In the world of Westeros, Valar Morghulis means ''all men must die''. Fans of the hit HBO show chose the foreboding phrase as the name of the newest beer in the Game of ThronesŪ collaboration between HBO and Brewery Ommegang. As part of a Facebook poll, fan voting determined the style and name of the next beer. An Abbey Dubbel was selected and it is perfectly represented by 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 appearances at will.

In the glass, this beer had a deep chestnut coloration with plenty of yeasty sediment. It came with a big frothy light tan head that had really nice retention. On the nose, I found an array of tart dark fruits, namely cherries and raisins. Rounding out the mix were notes of candy sugar, banana, light citrus, and a spicy alcohol nip. I found nothing out of the ordinary for the style and the beer smelled poison-free, so I crossed my fingers and dove in for that first sip.

As my life hung in the balance, I managed to jot down a few tasting notes. The flavor closely mirrored the aroma with few additional revelations. I found sugary goodness with dark fruits and spicy alcohol. Additional notes included apples, caramel, and sweet peppers. The alcohol presence was mercifully light, allowing for a lengthy enjoyment of the primary flavors. While certainly complex and rewarding, no particular note jumped out as dominant, creating a nicely balanced brew. The beer had a medium body and felt somewhat dry on the palate. The finish was a tad sticky and exited with an aftertaste of fruity tannins.

Overall, I found Ommegang's Valar Morghulis Abby Dubbel to be a delicious brew with a vibrant personality. The beer was stylistically sound with a fun stamp of interpretation. As a result, I can easily recommend this brew to any fan of big Belgian beers. And besides, the Ommegang name alone is more than enough to quash any unwarranted hesitation. As a fan of both the brewery and the books (and the show), I geeked out all over the place with this beer. So, please pardon all of my nerdy puns, but I honestly can't help myself. While all men must die, my taste buds whispered... not today.

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Valar Morghulis by Ommegang Brewery
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