A few months ago Brewery Ommegang released the first in a series of Game of Thrones-inspired beers.  In that review, I professed my love of the HBO show despite never really having a complete understanding of what is going on at any given time.  My patient wife helps to decode everything, as she is a fan of the books and can somehow keep abreast of all the new treachery and stabbings.

To celebrate Ommegang’s latest Game of Thrones release, Take the Black Stout, I thought I’d take a moment and get everyone caught up with what happened in season 3.  Fair warning, if you’re not current with the show, you may want to stop reading now because there are going to be lots of convoluted and misinformed spoilers ahead.

Ok.  It’s a lot.  Here we go.

Jon Snow (normal name, so I remember it) has gone to the other side of the Great Wall.  It’s either north or south of the wall.  I can never remember.  He went to infiltrate this group of Scottish people for some reason.  While trudging around with them, he falls in love with a girl from Downton Abbey, and they all march off to take over one of the kingdoms (or the kingdom), even though there’s only like 14 of them.  I think he starts to like all the Scottish people, but then turns away from them anyway at the end to stick up for the wall guards.  The girl might have gone with him.

The rest of the wall guards go visit a guy who has a bunch of daughters he likes to do sex with.  Everyone is supposed to kiss his ass because he’s like the white trash king, but the guards ain’t got time for that.  There’s a big fight and everyone gets stabbed.  However, Samwise the Round elopes with one of the guy’s daughters and her baby.

Tyrion saved his family and the whole castle at the end of season 2 but now they’re all mad at him for it.  He’s been banished.  Not really banished.  He just has to live in a small apartment.  Also, he has a big scar on his face now, and he lost his Hand job.

Then there’s that other guy, Standish Boromir, who lives with the Red Witch.  They were the ones who attacked Tyrion’s family, but they lost, and now he’s really mopey.  He has a brother (?) who visits him, but they lock him in the dungeon because he’s not a fan of the Red Witch.  In the dungeon, some little girl who’s face looks like Seal’s teaches him how to read.

Cool Lisa still has her dragons.  They’re getting bigger, but they’re not quite big enough to do any really big damage, so she tries to find an army to help her conquer one of the kingdoms (or the kingdom).  She buys an army of maniacs who have all had their man parts removed.  They’re the best fighters in the world and obey her unquestionably.  I think she said they could be free if they wanted to, but they all stayed to murder people for her because they’re maniacs and they love her.  She frees a bunch of slaves in another town too, so now she’s a really big deal.  Once those dragons get big, lookout!

Then there are the Starks.  They’re trying to get back in the kingdom game.  They’re marching around conquering some things here and there, and generally being sad and dumped on by the universe .  They try to make an alliance by marrying someone in their group to someone in a group led by the Hogwarts’ groundskeeper, but he’s pissed because the guy the Starks offer isn’t the main guy, Rob.  At the wedding, THE RED WEDDING (!), all of the Starks are slaughtered, even Rob’s unborn child.  It’s called the Red Wedding because of all the blood.

Ok, not all the Starks get killed.  The wheelchair kid whose wheelchair is a big dumb guy joins up with some lost boys, and they hang around in the woods and have dreams.

The sassy Stark girl is still hiding from everyone with her new best friend, the Hound.  She wants to murder Joffrey and his family.  Joffrey’s still acting exactly like all the rich kids I went to high school with.

At some point, the really dreamy guy gets his hand chopped off.  That hurts because it’s his sword hand.  He’s so sad that you really wonder how he’s ever going to have incestuous sex with his sister again.

Second to Iastly, there’s Theo, who is a friend or enemy of the Starks.  He’s captured in like the first episode and spends the remainder of the season getting tortured.  He’s a jerk but then you start to feel bad for him.  Because of all the torture.

Finally, I think I the snow zombies are starting to push on to Wintertown.  I can’t remember what they do exactly but I know Samwise kills one of them with some dragonglass. That’s a big whoa moment because no one remembers how to kill the snow zombies because it’s been so long since they zombied the crap out of everyone.

Whew!  It was a really good season, you guys!

Take the Black Stout is more of the type of beer I think of when I think Game of Thrones!  It’s dark and black like the forests of…oh, I don’t know, I’m in over my head.

The bottle design is great.  That face on the bottle is the Weirwood.  It’s where the wall guards take their sacred oath when they are inducted into the Night’s Watch.  My wife told me that.  I thought it was an Ent.  I also really like the write up on the side, despite the misspelling of “their.”  Unless that’s some Game of Thrones thing I’m not aware of.

The nosegrope of Take the Black Stout is a little hoppy and smoky with hints of coffee and vanilla.  It was much lighter than expected.

The flavor profile starts pretty bitter but ends a little on the sweet side.  There are chocolate and coffee notes and some more burnt smokiness.  It also tastes bready.  Couldn’t really find the licorice, and I’ve never had star anise, so I’m no help there.  It’s not as thick as some stouts I’ve had, nor is it as good.

I didn’t like this as much as the Iron Throne Ale.  There’s a lot going on, but I found it fairly dissonant.  Give it a try, if only for the awesome bottle.

The next brew is going to be released in the Spring of 2014.  It’s Fire and Blood Red Ale.  Dragons, y’all!

See you then Westeronians!

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