French-Style Biere de Garde

Biere de Garde means “beer for keeping.” The French-style Biere de Garde is a strong, pale ale that appears in colors ranging from gold through coppery red to a rich deep brown. These craft beers typically have a rich malt character aroma, with noticeable hints of toast and bread and a minimal hop aroma, if any. Concerning taste, the malt’s intensity and flavor increases as the beer’s color also deepens. There is a distinct light caramel or biscuity taste, with hops being low medium in bitterness. Darker versions will have more intense malty sweetness, while paler versions will likely have more noticeable hop flavors.

Origin of the French-Style Biere de Garde

The Biere de Garde originated from the French side of the France – Belgium border, drawing from the tradition of brewing as a constituent of farming life in rural Europe. Farmers brewed this craft beer during a short season in fall or winter and then kept it till spring. The Belgians kept their version light and fresh, while the French abandoned Belgian yeast and brewing traditions for German ways.

With advancements in brewing technology and modernization, the Biere de Garde nearly faded into oblivion due to the early 20th century’s Great Wars. So even today, the traditional old practices and recipes are lost. History credits the Brasserie Duyck with the Biere de Garde’s revival in the 1950s. This brewery bottled small versions of the beer in used champagne bottles – an attractive packaging that appealed to France’s sophistication at the time. The Biere de Garde has been officially back in business ever since.

How to Enjoy Your Biere de Garde

Enjoy your glass of this classic craft beer at about 10°C with French herbal food like herb-rubbed lamb, chicken, sausages, or duck. Seafood, cheeses, and salads also work well with the Biere de Garde, so you have many great food pairing options which you should fully explore.