When the Boy and I started dating, one of the first things we bonded over was Game of Thrones – we had long discussions about the characters, who was interesting, who was scary, who deserved to live and whose death was not grisly enough. And the very first time he came over to my apartment was to watch the Game of Thrones season finale. I’d bought a couple bottles of the most recent release of Brewery Ommegang’s Game of Thrones beer, and together with my brother (since I’d invited him before the Boy and I even started dating), we watched all the drama unfold in that show. It was such a pleasant evening that in the years since, for every finale we make sure to have the current release of beer to steel ourselves against the thought of spending another summer, fall and winter without knowing quite what happens next on the show. So when the Boy saw something on Facebook advertising a beer release for Ommegang’s newest GoT beer at the Jack Rose Dining Saloon, we knew we had to go. We invited Ben, since he likes the beer too, and decided to meet up after work.
On the way from the bus stop to the bar (Jack Rose is in Adams Morgan – not the most convenient if you’re coming from Arlington), I happened across this tableau on the wall that runs along the sidewalk. Ben and I thought it was funny and perfectly appropriate for the day. The Boy felt bad for whoever left their calculator out and likely would not see it again.
But Ben and I got to the bar and immediately set to the work of testing out the newly released beer – Seven Kingdoms, a hoppy wheat beer. Normally, I love wheat beers, and this one was no different on first taste. A little sweet to start, but if you waited a little bit after sipping, or drank quite a bit and then waited, the bitterness of that “hoppy” flavor sneaks up on you. My friends like to comment that when something is too bitter for me, I’ll make a face like a cat with a bad taste in its mouth – pinching my nose, mouth open and snapping my tongue in an effort to get rid of the flavor. This beer is not that bad. It’s actually pretty good, but if you’re the kind of person who cannot stand any hoppiness in beers, this may not be the one for you.
I had the chance to try two other Game of Thrones beer releases (on tap – YES!) that I hadn’t tasted before – the “Take the Black Stout” (pictured above) and “Valar Morghulis”, a Belgian Dubbel. The Take the Black was pretty good – nothing mind blowing, but a solid stout whose creamy roastiness was a welcome change of pace from the hops of Seven Kingdoms. On the other end of things, the Valar Morghulis was very sweet and very strong, both things that are to be expected from a Dubbel. So while none of the three beers I tried would be “my favorites” – the “Fire and Blood” (an Amber/Red ale) or the Three Eyed Raven (a Saison) are my favorites.
Since we were drinking beer, we also needed to put food in our bellies. We got an assortment of appetizers to split, which included some tasty BBQ almonds, very solid french fries, and fried mac’n’cheese (I had to!). But the best part was the truffle mayo dip that came with the fried mac’n’cheese – so good that we repurposed it to flavor the remaining french fries and even almonds. We also got something a little more substantial (gotta soak up the beer somehow), with Ben and I ordering grilled cheese sandwiches (I had the gruyere, he the provolone), and the Boy getting an order of chili.
The event itself was also pretty cool – there was a costume contest for best Game of Thrones costume, something that seemed mind-boggling to me coming straight from work. But there were easily a handful of people dressed up. Three Wildlings in full black leather and bone regalia, a girl in modified-from-work-wear Dothraki warpaint, and one girl as Daenerys Targaryen with chain/scale male shoulder armor, and a cute little dragon stuffy that attached to her shoulder. We didn’t see who won, but it looked like it could have been close (especially among the Wildlings). They were also handing out the beer chalices to patrons since they wouldn’t be able to use them after that night’s events, so lucky us got to take a few home to enjoy for ourselves (especially when watching GoT this season – even if it’s not filled with Ommegang beer).
It was a fun outing. Too often my first instinct is to stay at home on a weeknight, and not fill up my “precious free time” away when there are things that could be done at home. But the thing I forget is that even when I am at home, my tendency is to do as little as possible, and I’m unlikely to be as up-and-about and active as I should be. Venturing into the city gets me out of my routine, gets me moving (walking to metro stations, up escalators, to and from the bus stop), gets me interacting with more people, and gets me trying new things. For example – I’d heard about Jack Rose long ago, but never made the effort to visit before. But now that I’ve been, I want to go back, and try out one of the nearly 2400 whiskies behind their bar, and taste the food in the downstairs dining saloon. I want to find more Ommegang beers and find out which ones are particularly good, and which ones aren’t worth my time. It takes an effort to go out and be an active person – socially, emotionally, physically – but in the end, it is worth it.