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Providing Student News to Old Dominion University Since 1930

Mace & Crown

Providing Student News to Old Dominion University Since 1930

Mace & Crown

ODU’s Golden Ale is More Than a Marketing Ploy

The ODU Golden Monarch Ale is displayed here. It is designed with ODUs school colors and the Monarch logo.

Photo courtesy of Old Dominion University and New Realm Brewery.
The ODU Golden Monarch Ale is displayed here. It is designed with ODU’s school colors and the Monarch logo. Photo courtesy of Old Dominion University and New Realm Brewery.

Behind the Scenes

Within the first 24 hours, ODU’s official Instagram post announcing the launch of their new signature beer, created in collaboration with New Realm Brewing Co. (NRB), reached thousands of views. At first glance, it appeared to be the university equivalent of an arms race—many thought of Virginia Tech’s Fightin’ Hokies Lager, but the creation of a branded beer isn’t an overnight process. 

Beyond the press release, there wasn’t much in-depth information to find. However, Brian Eubank, ODU’s Executive Director of Licensing, provided a deeper insight about this project. While Eubank’s tenure with ODU only started in April 2023, he’s worked with universities of varying sizes since 2009 and most recently finished working on another beer project at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

After a brief chat with Eubank, we dove right into business about the bubbly brew that was released this past summer.

Despite Eubank’s relatively short time at ODU, he isn’t a rookie when it comes to university beers. He’s worked with universities of varying sizes since 2009 and just came from working on a beer project at University of North Carolina Wilmington. 

The main drive behind the Monarch Golden Ale was to expand the university’s brand outreach into the consumable market. Eubank explained that there are always trends when it comes to university merchandise. You could find an example of this when flat brim caps and snapbacks were the craze, then eventually faded away from popularity. Nowadays, the trend has taken more of a dive into consumables —specifically, the alcohol category, which includes spirits, beers, and wines. 

Alcohol is here to stay.

— Brian Eubank, ODU's Executive Director of Licensing

“We would not be having this conversation back in 2009. Not even back really…maybe even 2015.” 

He had a point. Celebrity alcohol brands have experienced a surge in popularity, and even bands have started dedicating funds to making their signature beers. “Alcohol is here to stay,” stated Eubank. 

Eubank also addressed the elephant in the room once we began discussing the brewer in question. For context, New Realm Brewery is not a local company. Their flagship brewery resides in Georgia, and their 757 location is in Virginia Beach.  

Eubank said he was aware they weren’t local but that they have been amazing to the community. They’ve helped with the launch and hosted an event for the ODU vs VT football game at the brewery. The effort they’ve put into community outreach shows how much they appreciate Old Dominion and its people.

Yet, even if their community work was so grand, why were they chosen over a Norfolk brewery? 

Old Dominion University sent out requests for proposals (RFPs) to local breweries so they could come up with an idea for the beverage. New Realm Brewing Co. not only pitched the beer, but they also pitched the design. Eubank deduced that while three finalists were close, New Realm had an edge in sheer production power. 

Regarding sales and marketing, ODU’s Monarch Golden Ale has been incredibly successful. In fact, New Realm confirmed with Eubank and his team that the Monarch Golden Ale launch was their most successful in sales and outreach, especially for a university beverage. 

However, outside of the community aspect that emerged from the RFP process, the university is contributing to its students with the Golden Ale. Eubank said that royalties are acquired from each sale the university makes with merchandise, including the beer. 

“A lot of schools…their licensing revenue might just benefit athletics. It might just benefit new facilities or whatnot. Some schools — it just goes into a marketing fund to help push the brand. I like what we have set up. We are putting this money into a scholarship fund to benefit, hopefully, future students that want to come to ODU.”

There wasn’t a tankard of doubt that Eubank took pride in sharing that lesser known fact to me. 

Royalties being placed into a fund is more noble than what’s depicted on the surface.

What looked like a simple cash grab from another educational institution turned out to be an opportunity to expand the ODU community. The Monarch Golden Ale isn’t just meant for alumni or 21+ year old students — it’s meant to link the people of the seven cities, and what is arguably Hampton Roads’ most iconic university, by fostering connections through one of mankind’s oldest traditions: having a drink.

The Review

Considering how successful the Golden Ale launch was, one can’t help but wonder how good it is. However, before the review, it’s important to note that Old Dominion University went a different route when choosing a type of beer.

For those who aren’t beer savvy, there are several species on the market right now with most falling into two main categories: ales and lagers. Lagers, which are subdivided into lagers and pilsners, are the most common type of beer in the world. While taste varies throughout every brand, PBR and Stella Artois both fall into the “lager” category. Ales have plenty of subdivisions, from the infamous IPA, to the German Ale, and so on and so forth.

Since lagers are the most popular, it would be the safest bet to make the university’s beer a lager. However, the team at New Realm thought that taking the safe route would be, in my own terms, rather lame. It’s better to go against the grain with a project that stands out.

An ODU team was given a set of samples by New Realm to blind taste test, and overall, the team opted for the Golden Ale. Golden Ales, also known as blonde ales, are meant to have a crisp and light taste. This was considered fitting for ODU, as Hampton Roads is known for its proximity to beaches. If you were drinking on a hot summer day on the Oceanfront at Virginia Beach, then you’d want a crisp beverage.

Another display of the ODU Golden Ale. These are the two that were left from the six pack I purchased. (Gabriel Cabello Torres)

I purchased a six pack of ODU Golden Ale at a local store and was pleased with the design choices. The can features Old Dominion’s signature lion crest, while the rest follows ODU’s updated branding. One interesting feature is the QR code, which leads the buyer to a website where, after a zip code is inputted, a list of all the places that sell ODU Golden Ale in the near vicinity are shown on a map. The beer boasts a 4.5% ABV, which is close to the average of beer alcohol content.  

Enough about the looks — let’s get to more pressing matters.

There are several ways to drink beer but we’ll be covering three that are applicable to a canned beverage. Traditionally, beers are drunk from their container or from a particular glass. For Golden Ales, a pint glass is the optimal container of choice. The third method is a rite of passage for juvenile behavior: the shotgun.

Disclaimer: Eubank did inform me that NRB mistakenly added more hops than intended to the first batch of ODU Golden Ale that hit the market. Following batches will be corrected, and this will be taken into account for the review.

I left the six pack of ODU Golden Ale in the fridge and forgot about it until the following day. I pulled one can out effortlessly and proceeded to crack it open for a spritzy sip. My first impressions weren’t negative at all. Though, I can see how the first batch could’ve been too hoppy. 

The New Realm website advertises the ale as piney and citrusy. I couldn’t taste the “pine” notes but some light citrus tones were noticeable. Take note, citrus doesn’t necessarily mean the beer is a “sour.” A sour is a beer that has a strong acidic and tart taste which tends to be fruitier than other beers. The aftertaste was neither overbearing nor bitter. If the original recipe has less hops, then you can expect future stock to be a more pleasant experience. 

The beer wasn’t dry but left more of a refreshing taste in your mouth, which is aided by its light carbonation.

For those unaware, shotgunning is an age-old tradition where one makes a puncture near the bottom of a beer can, opens the tab on the top, and proceeds to drink through the puncture hole. All the air and gasses will leave through the top, allowing the drinker to down the beer in record time.

The bottom-line for these beers? They’re incredibly complicated to shotgun. These cans are sturdy, and it goes to show that New Realm Brewing takes pride in their work which manifests itself to the overall quality of these brews and their containers. However, making a puncture was a chore, even with a sharp pocket knife. 

As soon as the hole was made, I popped the can open and let it rip. The taste was not bad at all. Granted, the last thing you’re focused on while shotgunning is the taste, but the ale went down easy. It didn’t have harsh carbonation that makes you regret your life choices like other beer brands. 

Plans for more types of beers to be released under the ODU lineup are currently in the works. If the Golden Ale wasn’t your style, then hopefully the new releases will be. To reiterate what Eubank mentioned in our interview: enjoy the beer and, as always, drink responsibly.

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About the Contributor
Gabriel Cabello Torres
Gabriel Cabello Torres, Technology Editor
Gabriel is the Technology Editor for the Mace and Crown. He is in his junior year at ODU and is currently majoring in Mechanical Engineering Technology. In his spare time, he loves to play instruments and write music. He's an avid gamer and a concert junkie with a love for rock and metal music. He's excited to be on the Mace and Crown and cannot wait to work with such a great team. Contact him at

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