Biere de Garde
French country ale
Never before produced at the Cambridge Brewing Company, this traditional farmhouse ale is an uncommon beverage originating in the lowlands of northern France near the Belgian border. Because of its proximity to Belgium it is easy to draw several parallels between it and many Belgian ales.
Like Belgium, northern France is mostly unsuitable for the growing of grapes, so the locals turned to grain production and as a natural extension, brewed beer. The summer months were typically too hot to brew successfully, so beer made in Spring was for “laying down” and consumed through the summer months.
Most bieres de garde were malt-accented brews as hop production was minimal in the area, and brewers employed yeast strains similar to the Belgians which added fruity esters and spicy aromas and flavors.
CBC’s Biere de Garde was brewed last March with a combination of Belgian and German pilsner, Vienna, and Munich-style kilned malts. The hop variety is German Hallertauer Hersbrucker and provides just enough character to balance the sweetness of the malts and lend a dry finish to the beer. Two multi-strain yeasts were employed in fermentation, as our house ale yeast was aided and abetted by yeast from the Westvleteren monastery in Belgium.
In the glass, it starts out a very hazy, deep gold which brightens as it warms. Aromas are mostly fruity esters produced by the beer’s high ethanol content, with a hint of coriander or perhaps fennel. The flavor showcases a warm bready maltiness which contains hints of aforementioned spices, vanilla, hops, and possibly a light oakiness as it warms, and the beer finishes dry but not bitter on the palate with a hint of sweetness on the lips.
The delicacy of this beer overall belies the fact that it is of significant strength, so use a modicum of caution.
OG: 1074 FG: 10125 ABV: 8.0%