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The Real-Life Beer Brewed For On-Screen Enjoyment in ‘The Lord of the Rings’

Intoxicating beverages abound throughout J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth. Legolas and the Elves sip on Miruvor (a fictional cordial) along with mead and various other wines, the massive tree-like Ents most prefer the revitalizing Ent-draught, and then, of course, there’s beer and ale. While men and mountain dwarfs enjoy their fair share of brew, there’s perhaps no race of beings in “The Lord of the Rings” saga that loves the beverage more than Hobbits — particularly Merry and Pippin, who even came up with a song and dance that argues which pub serves the best.

Over the course of the three-volume novel, beer and ale are mentioned over 40 times, and the Hobbits take any opportunity to drink it — and a lot of it. So when it came time for producers to translate the novel into its now equally beloved on-screen adaptations, the beverage’s crucial role in the high-fantasy became a priority. Before filming was set to kick off in New Zealand, the crew behind “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” enlisted the help of the local Harrington’s Breweries to create a beer exclusively for on-screen use. While booze-free beer is usually the standard when cameras are rolling, the film’s producers requested the beer to be authentic-looking with a darker coloring, and come in a low-ABV so actors could consume it while filming without getting drunk.

The brewery quickly got to work, reimagining its velvety Clydesdale Stout by lowering its alcohol content to produce SobeRing Thought, a 1 percent ABV milk stout. In the first film, SobeRing Thought can be spotted in the hands of the Hobbits as they prance around the shire during Bilbo’s farewell party and again at the Prancing Pony Inn.

The beer’s appearance was so convincing that Harrington’s Breweries continued to supply their 1 percent brew for the subsequent second and third installments, and the actors continued to imbibe on-screen. The low-ABV brew likely came in most handy in the third film, “Return of the King,” when all the series’ heroes come together to celebrate their victory at the Battle of Helm’s Deep. The raucous scene even involves an intense drinking competition between Gimli and Legolas, in which actors John Rhys-Davies and Orlando Bloom both slug from large mugs. After that, the scene showcases Merry and Pippin table-top dancing while singing the iconic Green Dragon song plays:

“Oh you search far and wide / You can drink the whole town dry.
But you’ll never find a beer so brown / As the one we drink in our hometown.
You can drink your fancy ales / You can drink them by the flagon.
But the only brew for the brave and true / Comes from the Green Dragon.”

SobeRing Thought’s life didn’t come to an end once credits rolled on the final film. Following the success of the on-screen trilogy, Harrington’s Breweries continued brewing the stout for the public, bottling it with special packaging with iconography from both the novel and films. While it appears the beer was discontinued in 2016, the brew is forever memorialized on-screen in the Hobbits’ giant mugs — or flagons, depending on your persuasion.

*Article Image retrieved from © New Line Cinema
*Beer image retrieved from theworldtravelguy.com

The article The Real-Life Beer Brewed For On-Screen Enjoyment in ‘The Lord of the Rings’ appeared first on VinePair.

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