Style Profile: Biere de Garde

Posted on November 24th, 2009


The French are not particularly well known for their beer. Although wine gets most of the attention in France, there are some wonderful French styles of beer that are worth seeking out. Today we’re looking at Biere de Garde, a style which makes a great accompaniment to Thanksgiving.

Biere de Garde is one of the few beer styles native to France. It’s produced mainly in the Pas-de-Calais region not too far from where saison is produced in Belgium. The close proximity between these two regions is fitting as they share many common characteristics. In many ways, biere de garde can be thought of as the sweeter cousin to saison. Both beers are light in flavor and were originally produced to provide sustenance during the hot summer months. However, there are some key differences between them. While saison is light and crisp with a spicy taste and floral aroma, biere de garde tends to be slightly malty with mild hops and a subtly sweet flavor with notes of honey or butter. Biere de garde’s combination of malty and light flavors makes it a fantastic beer to pair with many meals.

As we discussed last week, there a lot of great beers that will enhance the various courses of a Thanksgiving meal, but if you’re looking for something that will do well with all of it, look no further than biere de garde. If you haven’t heard of biere de garde before, don’t feel bad. It’s a fairly rare style, but it’s been making a come back in recent years. American craft brewers  The Lost Abbey do a great job with there  Avant Garde ale and  Jolly Pumpkin‘s  Oro De Calabaza isn’t bad either, although it’s probably a bit lighter than most bieres de garde. Within the French examples,  3 Monts from Brasserie De Saint-Sylvestre is the classic version. Jenlain from Brasseurs Duyck is also worth a try, as is Castelain Biere De Garde.

Whatever you pair with your turkey day meal, all of us at Beeriety hope it’s a good one.

Happy Thanksgiving from the Beeriety crew!