Game of Thrones may be over, but Tormund Giantsbane—Wildling wisecrack and not-so-secret admirer of Brienne of Tarth—has taken a permanent hold in the hearts and minds of fans. Now, he’s secured himself a home in the cold reaches of our beer fridges in the form of Fair State Brewing Cooperative's double stout Giantsbane.
Like GoT, Giantsbane’s season has come to an end, but not without leaving a crater of nostalgia. In the past five years, Fair State has made a habit of perfection, but it’s the brewery's first truly great stout—a silken raider of a beer that should be elevated from supporting cast to leading man.
Like the gothic can it’s served in, Giantsbane is obsidian. That makes it a real outlier coming from a brewery famed for its bright sours and citrus-colored IPAs, but Giantsbane provides a much needed spot of darkness in the ranks. Atop the blackness is a heavenly head that looks like whipped brownie batter.
Pouring out Giantsbane is like opening the door to a cafe that specializes in mochas and cappuccinos. Aromas of chocolate and brown sugar mix in with the coffee, a surefire indicator that you’re getting into something delectable.
It’s a sweet, congenial beer that has come to make peace.”
“Double stout” is a curious descriptor for this beer, but it’s deliberate. Even at 8%, this is not quite an imperial stout. There’s no overt booziness, but every other trademark stout flavor is amplified. Giantsbane is rich and roasty, but Fair State modulates the dark sweetness with brown malt and oats, which head brewer Nikon Tonks calls “stout secret sauce.” That little secret touch helps to sheath the beer’s ABV, making it incredibly smooth.
In season 8 of GoT, Tormund Giantsbane revealed that he got his strength from nursing on a giant who mistook him for a baby. Luckily you don’t need to go to such disturbing lengths to get some of that Wildling vigor for yourself. Giantsbane is tamer than its namesake. It’s a sweet, congenial beer that has come to make peace. Still, you’ll wish the War for the Dawn hadn’t ended yet so you could steel yourself with this warming stout.