Bière De Garde And Farmhouse Ales

As we move through these cold spring days, I find myself reaching more and more for a good farmhouse ale. From complex and earthy saisons to tart and vinous golden and brown ales, these are the beers I enjoy most—not only as a lover of beer, but also as a lover and student of wine. I find these beers engender the same excitement, curiosity, and desire to experiment with food pairings as any fine wines would, usually for significantly less money than you would spend on a nice bottle of wine. While most of us are familiar with the Belgian beers of this style, this month we will be exploring the Flanders region of France, alongside some domestic beers inspired by the style (particularly the blonde and amber ales). While earlier iterations from the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th century were written about as closer to a lambic (aged in oak for months, purposefully sour and vinous), the style as we know it today is came to popularity in the 1940s, with Brasserie Duyck’s Jenlain Bière de Garde, which grew to prominence as a cult beer in the late 1970s among French college students. Most contemporary producers of Bière de Garde acknowledge Jenlain as the archetypal example. Prior to Brasserie Duyck’s redefining of the style, Bière de Garde was served as a draught beer in the 3%-4% range as compared to 6%-8% in modern versions. Brasserie Duyck reinvented the style and set a new standard by offering Bière de Garde in a cork-finished Champagne-style bottle, allowing for year-round consumption. The more modern take has little hoppiness outside of a bit of herbal or peppery notes and tends to be more malt forward with the darker styles.


Justin Malesheetz

Beer Buyer

Thiriez Blonde d'Esquelbecq Blonde Farmhouse Ale

Esquelbecq, Nord / France

One of the newer breweries in the Nord, started in 1996. Pale gold with a thin mousse like head. Bready, floral nose with notes of banana, vanilla, and clove. Warming with light herbal hop bitterness and medium malt sweetness, and soft mid length finish. Similar to a light hoppy hefeweizen.

6.5% ABV

Brasserie Thiriez

$6.99 per bottle

Soft rind cheeses, garlicky sausage

Three Magnets Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed Golden Farmhouse Ale 

Olympia, WA / USA

This farmhouse ale was brewed with house culture from Fair Isle Brewing, blended with their 2015 Helsing Junction Apricot sour ale and aged in wine barrels before being bottled in the winter of 2017. Hazy gold with a thin white foam, this ale sings with notes of apricot, white pepper, red apple, grapefruit, and a mild herbaceousness. A vinous and mellowed sour character clings to your palate for the long soft finish.

7% ABV

Three Magnets Brewing Co.

$10.99 per bottle

Mussels in white wine, bleu cheese, chicory and citrus salad

Oxbow Space Cowboy Bière du Pays

Newcastle, ME / USA

Pouring medium amber and slightly hazy. Moderate alcohol on the nose followed by a light spiciness, fig, cinnamon, banana peel, and a grainy maltiness. Slight bitterness on the palate with a dry, crisp finish. Brewed with oats and European hops.

4% ABV

Oxbow Brewing

$4.99 per can

Ramen, fried dumplings, chicken marsala

Trinity Brewing L’Internationale Bière de Garde

Colorado Springs, CO / USA

An international collaboration with the Saison, Bière de Garde and Farmhouse Ale Appreciation Society. Light amber with a thin white foam. Notes of biscuit, cinnamon, caramel, dried apple, chamomile tea, raisins, and dates with a warming palate with rich malt sweetness and long nutty finish and slight tartness. Complex, rich, and very food friendly.

8.1% ABV

Trinity Brewing

$12.99 per bottle

Roast chicken, cochinita pibil, grilled root vegetables

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