Mother of Dragons
Both George R.R. Martin’s fantasy series "A Song of Ice and Fire" and the television show it begat, "Game of Thrones", have one foot in the modern and one in the archaic: They blend contemporary psychology with timeless elements that have featured in centuries of stories. So, it’s perhaps unsurprising that Cooperstown’s Brewery Ommegang, who similarly balances storied brewing techniques with modern perspective, would be the ones to create a line of beers drawing inspiration from the show.
Brewery Ommegang’s Mother of Dragons is an homage to the dragon-wielding queen Daenerys Targaryen. The beer blends a smoked porter with a kriek ale. While they’re not two styles that one might expect to converge harmoniously, the success of both books and show has been built around eluding expectations and unlikely combinations.
Appearance and Aroma
Mother of Dragons’ red velvet label rests atop a dark and opaque bottle. It’s echoed by beer itself, which pours deep crimson around the edges. The bulk of the beer, though, is black and impassable. The ominous liquid emits a focused smell, one that’s almost sweet but also contains notes of sour fruit and berries. There’s a bit of the pungent odor that one might associate with barrel aging, but it’s not overpowering here, the way it can be with some aged beers.
Mother of Dragons is a beer that brings two disparate styles together, with just enough craft to keep the two in a welcome balance.”
There’s a lot happening within Mother of Dragons. The bulk of the tasting experience, at least at first, comes from the porter side of the blend—a rich, smooth feel and taste that suggests dark chocolate. There’s a slight sweetness there, but it’s barely perceptible, more of a subtle note than anything. The kriek side of the beer is responsible for a fruity sourness and a suggestion of both cherries and cranberries. The balance between the two components isn’t just for show. Rather than an aftertaste, the porter effectively cleans up after the kriek, minimizing the impact of the sourness.
Sour beers don’t generally hit with much heft, while porters don’t usually inspire puckering. Mother of Dragons is a beer that brings two disparate styles together, with just enough craft to keep the two in a welcome balance. Despite the density of how it sits in the glass, it’s not overly strong, and the nuances of its flavor hold up well to repeat tastings. Whether you’re a dedicated fan waiting for the final season of "Game of Thrones" to air or a fan of a good sour beer, there’s plenty to savor here.