Category Archives: Biere de Garde

New England Brewing Co ‘Wooden Ram II’ BDG


24059007_777631765754304_5278926080591942806_n“New England’s second Wooden Ram is a 7.3% French-style Biere de Garde. It is brewed in the farmhouse tradition of using fresh ingredients in autumn and storing during winter, for summer knees up! After being cellared during a New England winter in Hunter Valley Shiraz barrels, Wooden Ram II has wine and oak characters, complemented by malt sweetness and fruity aromas. Enjoy with cheeses, rich desserts, and good friends.”

Served in a tulip. Quite a contrasting range of colours in the glass – starting bright golden around the edges and working in to a light burgundy red in the middle. Short lasting white cap which still manages to stick a reasonable lace as it ebbs.
The aroma is somewhat complex. Definitely picking up the oak and subtle tannins from the time spent in wine barrels. The citrus component is acidic, tart and slightly artificial. We like the harmonious fusion of rich and sweet malt with the even sweeter dried fruit character – apricot, peach, pear and apple. Some really lovely farmhouse elements to take in here.
The flavour is a bit more heavier on the sourness than we were expecting. A touch of sour lemon and vinegar before the woody oak component softens it a little. Getting hints of full bodied red wine….the likes of Shiraz or Cab Sauv. Undertones of red berries and dried stonefruit mellow out in to a pleasant finish which offers a soft woody note in the tail.
The mouth feel is tart, well carbonated and a touch dry but ultimately smooth and approachable. The 7.3% ABV is well buried.
Biere De Garde certainly isn’t a style which we claim to know a lot about but from the relatively small amount we’ve reviewed it stacks up pretty well. Some sourness in there, woody oak, fruit, sweet malts and a hint of funky farmhouse. Practically ticks all the boxes.

Frenchie’s ‘La Perouse’ Biere De Garde


22007508_753003714883776_357993650228411214_n“BIERE DE GARDE is a style from Northern France, malty, complex, lean and very refreshing. Deep golden in color it exhibits flavours or malt, white stone fruit and spice. This is the kind of beer that would have been drunk in high quantities by the sailors of Laperouse from Kamchatka to Australia. The legend goes that the beer took them of course and therefore reached Botany Bay eight days after the first fleet.”

Served in a stemmed tulip. Hazy golden orange appearance. The pour doesn’t really stir up a great deal of head, swelling to about half a cm before settling to a ring. A wet and streaky lace is seen as we imbibe.
There’s quite a fair bit going on here. Plenty of fruity esters, yeasty spice, angostura bitters, caramel and subtle woody/oak tannins coming through. It has flashes of saison-like candied citrus with a very light funky sourness tucked in right behind. Maybe just a hint of herbal hop and alcohol poking through as well. Very neat.
The palate is somewhat dry, woody and grainy which develops a bit of warming booze as it progresses. Just a suggestion of lemon drops and honey that has a spicy and herbal hop character cutting in. The finish is again a little dry and woody with a mild alcohol warmth in the tail.
The texture is light and drying. Co2 is moderate and the body mild-medium.
They’re kind of strange beers these – complex and typically woody and funky but the fruity aspect adds a certain freshness to it. This one is light and pretty easy to put back but we wouldn’t say it’s all that sessional. Not bad.

Bridge Road Brewers ‘Biere de Wilde’ A.Rodda BDG


14907106_593399420844207_7596837278270982912_n“Adrian Rodda (A.Rodda) has been involved in making wine since 1998, spending more than a decade at Oakridge Wines. Adrian, then moved to Beechworth, and has being producing wines with fruit from the Smiths Vineyard, which is the oldest established vineyard in Beechworth. The quality of the A.Rodda portfolio has been consistently excellent.”

Served in a beer tulip. Our aggressive pour didn’t yield much head as it immediately vanishes and reveals the candy red hue beneath. A frenetic twirl of the glass conjures up some really complex aromas. Similar to the Sorrenberg version the A.Rodda also provides a heady oak mustiness from the French barrel aging process. A firm wine tannin works its way through, hinting at Pinot noir or Merlot in its delivery. We also get a scent of minerals that lends a slight saltiness to the nose. Strange. We much rather the Sorrenberg version so far. The mouth feel is smooth, low in Co2 but quite high in acidity and a touch sour while the 7.6% ABV creeps in a bit with a penetrating warmth in the swallow. The flavour profile mimmicks the Sorrenberg with its woody/oaky tannins, slight vinegar tartness and ripe dark fruits up front. The middle hits a somewhat sweet note with toffee malts and stewed plums that lead in to the delicately dry, fruity and musty finish. She endures well on the back end too, developing a rich fruit complexity the longer it sits. It’s always tough stacking one beer up against another but we feel on the grounds of character, aroma and flavour the Sorrenberg wins. On any other day this is a decent BDG and should certainly be respected. Not bad.

Bridge Road Brewers ‘Biere de Wilde’ BDG


13557921_537228509794632_5901657777506663671_n“Bridge Road Brewers have teamed up with some of Australia’s best Chardonnay producers to create unique beers fermented on wild wine yeast. The Biere de Wilde has been fermented in two separate 500 litre French Cognac barrels, each was separately inoculated with wild yeast from A.Rodda and Sorrenberg Vineyard. The combination of wild yeasts sourced from each active Chardonnay ferment and 12 months ageing in Cognac barrels have created two unique beers with fantastic texture and complexity.”

Served in a tulip glass. She pours quite an attractive rich mahogany hue with a short khaki head that dissipates almost immediately. No lacing is drawn out of the thin ring that remains of the head. The aroma is a lot more sour than most Biere de Gardes we’ve tried. This particular beer was fermented with a wild wine yeast strain from Sorrenberg Vineyard (just 10 mins from the brewery) in Beechworth, Victoria. It’s quite fruity with an evident oak mustiness from the aging in French cognac barrels. We love the complexity, earthy accents of licorice cut through the tart berries as sharp citrus gets nicely muddled up in the vinegary/red wine-like tannin. Intricate and interesting aroma. We like it. The mouth feel is nice and light with that saliva inducing sourness clocking in but not overpowering. Co2 is moderate and the body is moderate-medium. The acidity isn’t too overbearing either, easing off on to the back end. Upfront the taste is all about sour, tart and vinegar with that dry, funky barnyard flavour that’s more prevalent in Saisons. A subtle suggestion of cognac does come through the middle as the oak tannins begin to push through. A slight alcohol warmth (7.6%) pricks up as it leads in to a dry, funky and woody finish with lengthy duration on the rear palate. We can say that it definitely hits its mark. The wild component does give the typical BDG flavours a shake up and in effect brings an extra element to an already interesting style of brewing. Kudos Bridge Road this is a solid drop.

Red Hill Brewery ‘The Red Rooster’ Biere De Garde


12805896_484090891775061_1964001493189925161_n“Number Five in our Red Series. The “bold rooster” represents the Belgian Walloons ties to the Gallic rooster of France. Like the rooster, this beer style shares influences from both France and Belgium, traditionally being brewed to satiate the farm workers of Wallonia. A strong and malt driven brew, we had best not share it with our hop pickers until the harvest is done!”

Served in to a beer tulip. The body certainly offers a two-tone appearance with a tawny hue around the edges blending in to a chestnut brown center. The healthy two finger cap recedes to a thin bubbly overlay which retains reasonably well. Lacing leaves a bit to be desired though. The aroma is definitely malt driven with a slight funky yeast complexity that adds a touch of that tart and almost citric element to it. A firm nutty malt leads out with a subtle woody/earthy note following that actually comes off quite oaky. A lovely sweetness creeps through too, almost like fig jam or prunes, developing in to a kind of port-like aroma as it comes up to room temperature. Nice depth on the nose here. The mouth feel is a little dry and chalky with a medium-high Co2 level. The body holds a decent weight and it still seems to glide down effortlessly. The 7% ABV is quite well masked but does offer a warm vibrancy to the tongue. The flavour provides a dry and oaky character upfront with just a suggestion of citric funk cutting through. A smattering of sweet sugary malts wash over the mid with toffee, prunes and burned orange leading in to a dry and spicy finish. Good duration too, this lingering woody dryness has a lovely wine-like tannin to it. Quite complex. So, this is not your typical Walloon-style but it’s one that certainly entertains the taste buds while quenching thirst at the same time. As we’ve hinted at through the review, it’s definitely a lot maltier than the traditional BDG but essentially a tasty drop all the same. Fine offering.

Brasserie De St. Sylvestre ‘3 Monts’ Biere De Garde


12185489_450006558516828_1408142871879276843_o“3 Monts a wonderful homecoming. This former beer flavor that we drew from the wooden barrel filled circled and number of mugs in our taverns of Flanders!
Brewed by bottom-infusion as before, with Flemish and fermented hops with high yeast, the 3 Monts reveals a rich flavor profile. Character of beer, wearing a tight, persistent foam, it is eaten to cool cellar temperature. (that of our Flemish houses: between 8 and 10 ° C)”

The first thing we notice is the brilliant clarity that gives the bright golden glow even more appeal. Well carbonated too, dozens of bubble streams rise to form the big three finger head which is maintained nicely. Eventually receding to a thick blanket with plenty of lacing being shed. Quite yeasty on the nose. Very musty and earthy with a pinch of peppery spice coming through. We also get plenty of cereal grains, oak, straw, freshly cut timber, white grapes and a faint hint of citric funk to fill it out. Essentially a very dry aroma with lots of earthy and woody notes. Not bad. Fairly well carbonated in the mouth. A slight astringency from the 8.5% ABV is felt but in essence it’s somewhat light on and sparkly. Very similar to champagne or cider in texture and acidity. Good transition from aroma to palate as the flavour profile literally mirrors the perfumes. Initially it’s dry, musty and woody but with a hint of sweet malt and yeasty funk that forms midway. A suggestion of peppery spice and white grapes develop before an earthy finish rounds out this really interesting beer. We absolutely love how the Europeans can brew such complex beers while keeping them so light and clear. We’re still only relatively new to this style but to us it feels as if this is a very traditional version of a Biere De Garde. To sum up, we really liked it. It’s great to try new world versions but sometimes it’s even better to go back to the traditional styles every now and then.

Red Duck Brewery ‘La Foret’ Biere De Garde

12087748_444767602374057_8493094229594317928_o“A very European styled, barrel aged amber beer. Baed on our Lapin and then barrel aged for 6 months in an ex-port barrel. The barrel still contained about 30 litres of port lees, so this beer has developed some vines complexities, the ageing has soften the hops, and whilst starting a beautiful amber colour at the top, the beer becomes redder and more vines towards the end. For lovers of farmhouse beers, we can confidently say that this in one of the most beautiful beers you will ever have.”
Before we start this review we just have to say how cool this bottle is. Very regal-looking and somewhat styled on the chimney shaped bottle of the Crown Ambassador. Once we toiled through the removal of the wax cap we served it in to a beer tulip. It pours to a bright amber, almost bronze tone with excellent clarity. An effervescent two and a half finger head forms before reducing to a thin film over the top. Not a great deal of lacing but enough to leave a few trails. The aroma is quite unique, very floral with a kind of rosé quality to it. Hibiscus and elderflower as well as roses spring to mind. We also detect a tangy accent in here too but not of the citric type it’s more like a delicate cherry tartness. Kind of dry and woody too with a hint of oak coming through. A little spicy, a little cidery. A certain complexity to it that’s for sure. In the mouth it offers a slightly dry texture. Light on with less Co2 than we were expecting. A subtle astringency forms midway, similar to an ABV (6%) burn but in this case more like how tannins feel in a wine. An effect we’re sure they achieved from the barrel aging process. The palate is just as complex as the aroma. Very floral, tangy, a little phenolic and a touch of spice to boot. We like how the sweet rosé-like flavours are balanced by this slightly tart cherry character. A subtle touch of oak develops late delivering a dry and well drawn out finish. Extremely distinctive beer this one. Different to all the other BDG’s we’ve tried. Really complex and would actually go well as an appertif or as a dessert beer. We’re pleasantly surprised.

Stillwater Artisanal ‘Debutante’


imageThis is another crack at this american brewery who only brew saisons. The last one we had was bloody average so we hope this is better. We do know it’s a Biere de Garde. This one in particular has no story or info for us but we do know that it is brewed with honeysuckle, hyssop and heather?? Hmmm. We head online to and we find out that it’s brewed with rye and spelt. Poured into a tulip we see an nice copper, dark golden colour, with virtually no head at all that lasts. There is some carbonation here. Again we get a sniff of mild Belgian yeasts used, almost champagne or cider like. First sip elicits a far stronger alcohol hit and more sweetness on the palate. Doughy malts, and some floral fruity esters, as well as a touch of spice from the rye presist on the palate. Quite balanced and smooth really given the 6.4% alc vol. As we drink this beer it loses all carbonation and it’s like its flat. Has an oily or liquor like appearance to it. By the end, we have actually fallen for this brew. We like the herbal or floral aromas, mixed with the yeasty or dough like malts. It’s damn smooth as it combines and slides down the gullet. We can’t say we have eaten heather, hyssop or honeysuckle but it sounds great. Overall, quite quaffable indeed.

Brasserie de St. Sylvestre ‘Gavroche’ Biere de Garde

11950152_435317903319027_4457607957445962389_o“Gavroche is a character in Victor Hugo’s 19th century novel, “Les Misérables”_ a rebellious yet always generous little urchin, living by his wits on the streets of Paris.
Gavroche is a strong, red beer, in which the deep malt flavour and brisk hoppiness are very well balanced ; and the whole is gracefully accentuated by fruity flavours derived from a special top-fermenting yeast. This is a rare French example an ale refermented in the bottle.
Gavroche must be served with care (leaving behind the fine yeast sediment) at about 10°C.”
Served in to a beer tulip. It’s pouring a hazy copper hue with a mountainous three finger head which gradually deconstructs but maintains a good centimeter layer over the top. Solid head retention here, weaving artistic lace trails as it ebbs. The initial aromas we detect are malty and sweet. Kind of like a strong English ale with it’s toffee and ripened fruit overtones with bready malts flowing through. We get a subtle tangy character as well, a little citric with a hint of pear-flavoured cider. May be a suggestion of fresh herbs too..sage and vines. A very pleasant and slightly complex aroma. In the mouth it’s certainly lighter than we were expecting. A little oily in texture. The 8.5% ABV is evident but not in an aggressive way, just there to remind you it isn’t a weak beer. Lively carbonation lends the feel some vibrance that gives the tongue a nice old tickle. The flavour takes on a very different angle. Whilst the aroma was more malt and fruit forward, the front palate is all about sharp phenols and yeasty spice. A nice warmth from the booze backs it up and bridges the mid and discreetly converts in to as Kriek-like cherry funkiness. Rounds out with a slightly dry, slightly earthy finish. Surprisingly complex but overall it has a kind of light-ish feel to it. This is only our 2nd ever crack at a Biere de Garde and we’re really liking the style so far. Strange yet highly palatable.

Prickly Moses ‘Reserve de Otway’ Biere de Garde


image“This golden ale is an unfiltered, rich, complex, malty ale with an outstanding bouquet. A distinctive yeasty note with a slightly spicy aroma and a warming slightly alcoholic finish. Very smooth with a silky character. A unique styled beer inspired from the French and Belgium farmhouse styled beers. This beer is one of three in the otway trilogy series of French and Belgian Farmhouse Ales others in the range include Reserve De Otway and Saison. (6.3%).”

The Biere de Garde style is one we are only very new to. Our palates were only firstly graced with this spicy, malty type of beer recently at the Sydney GABS festival, and to be honest, we quite liked it. We’re really keen to see how this one shapes up so on we roll. Served in a beer tulip (which we also scored from GABS). This attractive chestnut pour generates a mountainous 3 finger crown which takes all of about 5 minutes to deconstruct and settle to a well retained 1cm head. Healthy lace trails are being omitted all the way down the glass. Although the aroma is slightly malt-forward the brewers have struck an excellent balance between it, the leafy/herbal hops and spices. We also get a fruity element coming through too with sweet hints of pomegranate, ripe raspberries and plum against a viscous scent of toffee-apple and caramel. Certainly presents a touch of nutty wood in the background also. Really well layered, plenty of depth on offer here. In the mouth it’s well carbonated with a silky smooth texture. Quite light on as it breezes down with hardly any grip on the tongue. The flavour profile initially offers up a saison-like spiciness with a slight caramel note and mild herbal/tea leafy hop bitterness. A soft alcohol warmth opens up as a hint of toasty malt and hay forms and carries on through the mid. Just to add to this beers complexity, a nutty undertone develops before a dry, herbal finish reveals a rye-like spiciness on the back end. Wow, this is a highly interesting beer. Maybe it’s the 6.8% ABV talking but there is a tonne of character in both aroma and flavour here. We are sure this will be the first of many more reviews to come for this style of beer. Thank you Prickly Moses, we aren’t sure what the Biere de Garde elite think but we thought this was an absolute cracker. Brilliant beer.