Brewery Ommegang’s Reserve Hand of the Queen Barleywine Ale

This taster’s note: Often tasting a new beer for the first time doesn’t match up with the second or third tastes, so don’t just rely on that first sip. As for tasters’ notes, remember, everyone’s palate is different so I suggest reading tasters’ notes after you taste the beer. I also enjoy beer at room temp as I find the suppleness of the beer opens up and you discover flavor in more depth. And, count me crazy, but I even like to taste beer when it goes flat. From my point of view, if a beer is delicious, it’ll stay delicious at every level.

Brewery: Ommegang
Beer: Reserve Collection: Hand of the Queen Barleywine Ale, Game of Thrones Barleywine Ale*
ABV 10.7%

Poured a rich chestnut color, warm toasty nose and tastes like it smells. Surprisingly not too malty with no discernible hops, a nice medium weight. This is an easy-to-drink ale.

* I have never seen Game of Thrones so I don’t know who this Tyrion is; so, I can’t report whether I think Tyrion, for who this beer was brewed, would approve. But I approve.

Judi Laing

Judi Laing is founder of, a directory of restaurants' corkage policies for wine, beer and spirits. As proof of her love for beer, she is dedicating herself to promoting beer corkage as a way for beer lovers to enjoy craft beer at restaurants. Wine lovers have done it forever, so why not beer? Judi believes beer as a food pairing beverage is actually superior to wine! While this may illicit a bit of controversy, she'll take responsibility. In the name of research, Judi tries to drink new beers 'a lot' and is a craft beer evangelist talking to everyone about the glory of craft beer especially trying to mystify the assertion that "beer makes me fat". Yes, if you drink a couple of six packs every night while being a couch potato. Judi also writes an intermittent blog "a woman walks into a bar..." about her experiences sitting at a bar, quaffing delicious booze - beer and cocktails mostly - and schmoozing with fellow imbibers. Judi is Canadian if that makes a difference on how you read her reviews. Prosit!