Bière de Garde

Lost Abbey Gift of the Magi Ale


Beer: Gift of the Magi Ale
 Port Brewing Company
Style: Biere de Garde
ABV: 10.0%


Serving Style: Bottle
Drinking Establishment: Chez Wood
Primary Consumer: Kerensa





Sight: Hazy auburn body with a medium-sized beige frothy head.

Smell: It has quite a complex nose: there’s an overall tanginess that is complemented with some sweet caramel malts, yeast, tangerine, and spice aromas.

Flavor: Despite the sweet nose, it is a hop bitterness that defines the character of this beer. There are notes of earthy hops, straw, grain, and basement mustiness.

Feel: Medium body with some carbonation.

Concluding Remark: The Gift of the Magi is a dry-hopped Biere de Garde that is bottle conditioned with Brettanomyces yeast–or “Brett”–known for its “barnyard,” “damp wool,” “sweaty saddle,” or “horse blanket” flavors and aromas. Brett is appropriately used, given that this beer was created to commemorate the three Magi and the camels that transported them on their historic journey.

Biere de Gardes are known for being well-balanced with some toasted malts and hops, and have the added bonus of being pretty musty. So how does Gift of the Magi live up to its style? Well, I would say that the hops dominate the flavor profile, so it’s NOT well-balanced. However, the use of Brett renders this beer a little tangy, funky, and tart, giving it an overall musty flavor that is typical of the style.

While it’s a fine alternative to whatever beer you were going to drink today, I will say that it’s prohibitively expense ($10). While interesting enough to finish, it’s not interesting enough to ever buy again. Though, I have to give it up to Port Brewing  for using Frankinscense bark and Myrrh, which add to the authenticity of the beer. If only authenticity translated into THIS IS THE BEST BEER EVER…

Categories: Bière de Garde, Holiday | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Southampton Publick House Bière de Mars

Beer: Publick House Bière de Mars
Brewery: Southampton
Style: Bière de Mars
ABV: 6.5%


Serving Style: Bottle
Glassware: Wine glass
Drinking Establishment: A New Brunswick apartment
Primary Consumer: Ally and Kerensa



Sight: Nearly clear, amber brown body with absolutely nil head.

Smell: Crisp apple cider scent, both the alcoholic and nonalcoholic varieties.

Flavor: Maybe we’re just hungry and thinking about the French countryside (this is a French Farmhouse Ale style after all), but this tastes like bread and butter. It has a flat, generic malt sweetness and a just the faintness hint of caramel. The apple cider scent translates into a weak apple cider flavor. There’s also a bit of muted peppercorn. It’s complex, clearly, but not particularly enjoyable.

Feel: Medium body with moderate carbonation.

Concluding Remark: Don’t let the name fool you, a Bière de Mars is just a Bière de Garde produced specifically for the month of March. It’s our second Bière de Garde of the month, but we’re not convinced. While it’s hard not to compare the inferior Bière de Garde style to the superior Saison (sorry France), in Southampton’s case, it’s even harder to characterize this beer by anything other than its significant resemblance to a hard cider and its odd buttery taste. Given the French penchant for butter, I suppose it all makes sense.

Maybe the Bière de Mars needs to be enjoyed in March. Which is fine, because March  2013  is probably the next time we’ll want to try this one again.



Categories: Bière de Garde | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Two Brothers Domaine DuPage

Beer: Domaine DuPage
Brewery: Two Brothers Brewing Company
Style: Bière de Garde
ABV: 5.9%


 Serving Style: Bottle
Glassware: Wine glass
Drinking Establishment: Chez Wood
Primary Consumer: Kerensa



Sight:  Cloudy ruby body with a sad excuse for a head.

Smell:  Overwhelmingly sweet malt scent. It kind of smells like inhaling a loaf of crusty bread.

Flavor: It tastes like drinking caramel water. It’s quite sweet, but slightly balanced with a trace of herbal hops.

Feel:  Thin with low carbonation.

Concluding Remark:  This is not a Saison, but rather Bière de Garde, France’s farmhouse ale. As anticipated by the style, it’s much maltier, sweeter, and quite frankly not as spectacular as what’s found in farmhouses throughout Belgium. It has a rather uninteresting generic sweetness, but I will have to try additional Bière de Gardes in order to determine whether it’s the style that’s boring, or the Domaine DuPage. Two Brothers Brewery is out of Chicago, not the northern French countryside after all.

Categories: Bière de Garde, Saison | Leave a comment

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