So as you might recall from my earlier review, I had mentioned that Atlanta-based Battle and Brew hosts monthly beer dinners. If you are interested in keeping up with their events, do follow their page on Facebook. Each month this paradise of the craft beer and epicuriousity partners with breweries to cook up a multi-course meal inspired and perfectly paired with several different beers. This month Battle and Brew joined up with Brewery Ommegang to do a special Game of Thrones-inspired beer dinner — “A Feast for Kings”, if you will.
Brewery Ommegang is known for its series of Belgian-style craft beers, mostly rich ales with complex, dark flavors. They have also partnered with HBO to create a Game of Thrones inspired-line of beers. To showcase them, Battle and Brew created a nine-course feast complete with decorations, music, door prizes, and costumes to provide an immersive experience King Robert would be envious for.
Entering the restaurant, we were greeted by the sight of the Iron Throne and servers in period garb. A paper weirwood tree had sprouted and rooted itself to the bar, while in the dining room, candles and braziers illuminated heraldic banners and a roast, suckling pig.
Our plates held a lovely menu stamped and sealed with wax and raven feathers.The King greeted us all and the feast began.
Named “Oysters, Crabs, and Cockles”, the first course was an oyster on a half shell, topped with shallot-infused faux-caviar pearls and “wildfire” hot sauce. It was a nice, refreshing bite to awaken the palate with some sweet tanginess, pairing well with the accompanying champagne. My only disappointment was that there wasn’t any crab or cockle on the plate to give me more briny deliciousness that I love. I won’t complain about sticking to canon too much, though, as being assassinated by Arya Stark before the rest of the meal is not ideal.
Second course aptly named “Die Screaming” brought on the heat with a warm kale salad, topped with spicy chorizo, and drizzled with lemon and even spicier chili oil. The bitterness of the kale grounded the spice, which then awakened with flavor and flames from a sip of Ommegang’s Fire and Blood. The red ale, spiced with rye and ancho chilies, and the salad combined created an experience to almost make you start seeing the one true fire god.
Tyrion Lannister was clearly the inspiration behind third course “I am the God of Tits and Wine”. The small starter of venison jerky, crostini, and Taleggio cheese was packed full of bold taste, and subtle notes of complexity. The paired Cabernet Sauvignon – Chateau Chercy-Desqueroux had a dark and earthy nose, sweet and like the toasted lumber scent of a woodshop. The earthiness extended on the tongue and played delightfully with the black pepper on the venison and the mushroom notes in the cheese.
Fourth course, named “I pray to the Mother every Morning and Night that she return your Child to you” served up a trio of birds in a bittersweet mother-daughter reunion. On the plate was a half of quail, stuffed with a savory bread filling, glazed with honey, and topped with lightly seasoned quail egg. Served with Ommegang’s dark saison, Three-Eyed Raven, this morsel of dark meat was delicious and wonderfully paired.
Fifth course, served as a palate cleanser, was a lemon cake, served with fresh blueberries coated in brandied sweet cream. We were also treated to the talents of an “entertainer from Dorne” — a lovely bellydancer who swirled around the room with a veil, zills, and eventually a sword.
The sixth course, titled “All Men Must Die”, was hands down my favorite. Chef Ted Kupferman explained how he had coated a leg of lamb in a thick, salt crust and slow roasted it all day. He then cracked open the crust and served the moist, tender meat with a sweet potato and pumpkin tart, and a creamy fourne d’ambert blue cheese sauce. Ommegang’s Valar Morghulis was served alongside and the brown abbey dubbel had a great caramel note, tasting like a light crème brûlée. The only way to eat it was to have a little everything in each bite, and combined with the beer it was a wonderful blend of autumn on a plate.
After stuffing ourselves silly on the last dish, the name of the next course “When you play the Game of Thrones, you win or you die” was incredibly fitting. Served over a bowl of grilled vegetables, the barbecued wild boar rib was the pig that slew us all. The meat was smoky and heavily spiced with black pepper — all the better to wash down with the honey taste of the Monks Mead served with it.
Our appetites soon recovered just in time for the next dessert course – “You’re a Fool, Jon Snow, you will lose everything”. Served with Ommegang’s toasty and complex Take the Black, we were given a cheesecake a little like the bastard, himself. Made with white chocolate and topped with a shard of sugar “dragon glass” candy, it seems innocent enough. One bite is enough to taste the complexity and depth of this creamy, dark, and subtly sweet dessert.
After another heart-racing performance by the bellydancer, the court of Battle and Brew finally sent us off with one final course – dark chocolate truffles filled with a Grand Marnier and raspberry gelee. With crisp, dark cherry flavored Liefman’s Cuvee-Brut accompanying, this pairing of blood red colors and tart flavors spoke true of the course’s name: “The Lannisters send their regards.”
Overall I cannot emphasize enough how much fun this dinner was. I highly recommend any one of Battle and Brew’s tasting events. I was blown away by not just the quality of the food, but how perfectly paired the dishes were with the drinks. The combinations truly were inspired. If I have any one request to Battle and Brew, it is to please, PLEASE do this again. The level of creativity is astounding, and so many geeks yearn to experience the tastes of their favorite fandoms. Thank you for letting me experience one of mine!
Make sure you follow Battle and Brew on Facebook to find out about future events!