Well, Thanksgiving came and went too quickly, as it always does! I had a Brasseurs de Gayant La Goudale with dinner, but no one would share it with me (they were too busy enjoying an excellent 10-year-old Shiraz). 750mL of 8%ABV on top of two big plates of food is quite a chore, actually! It was good, but I can’t say there was anything magical the biere de garde added to the meal. I like it better with food than alone, as the style has some of the overly sweet characters that I don’t always enjoy in most doppelbocks, but it was a good match-up and nothing to complain about.
25 Nov 2009 1 Comment
My family has always traditionally drunk wine at Thanksgiving, but I’m doing my best to educate them that beer is not just fizzy yellow crap (which they do enjoy, too), so I’m hoping to break the mold this year with some good Thanksgiving beers.
The good news is that traditional Thanksgiving feasts are going to do well with darn near any beers, so long as you stay away from some of the really hoppy stuff. Brown ales, dubbels, tripels, pale ales, ambers… they’re all going to be good.
I was reading Garret Oliver’s book, The Brewmaster’s Table, which is all about beer and food, and he says that the perfect Thanksgiving meal beer is the French style of biere de garde. To the best of my knowledge, I have yet to drink a biere de garde, but I had a bunch of them in my collection, so now is as good a time as any to break them out! (Correction: I reviewed La Divine back on July 18, 2009, here)
Biere de garde is a French farmhouse style, related to the Belgian saison, that was traditionally brewed in early Spring and then cellared until the warmer months to drink. These are common beers in northern France, so they will be very “Belgian” in character. They are available as blonde’s, ambers and browns (much like my womens! lol) and tend to be malty, spicy, with very little hop characteristics and a dry finish.
I have a Schlafly Biere de Garde to try out, as well as two from La Brasseurs de Gayant (who makes my favorite witbier, Amadeus, reviewed earlier), their La Divine label and Goudale. So, I’m looking forward to it. I will probably polish off a few Ska Brewing True Blonde’s during the day, too, and I’m taking my supplies (2:1 simple syrup and Angostura bitters) for Old Fashioneds, too, in the event that I stop while in Iowa for a bottle of Templeton Rye!
22 Nov 2009 Leave a Comment
I know, I haven’t posted anything in quite some time, but I’ve been traveling or doing something else profession-related every weekend for the past while, so once Thanksgiving is over I’ll be back in the swing of things and writing more reviews. Thanks for your patience!
06 Nov 2009 Leave a Comment
Fans of this blog know I really enjoy Goose Island’s beers, and my last special release from their brewery was probably Bourbon County Stout, a beer I absolutely love, so it is with no lack of excitement that I opened a 2008 bottle of Pere Jacques that I’ve had in the fridge forever.
Pere Jacques is a Belgian style “abbey ale,” generally thought of as a “dubbel.” Abbey ales are Belgian beers that are made in the style of the traditional Trappist ales of the Belgian monasteries, but since the brewing is not associated with the monks themselves, they are called “abbey” and not Trappist. It’s sort of the same idea that Champagne is the sparkling wine of the Champagne region of France, while similar sparkling wines are made throughout the world but aren’t technically called champagne.
In the abbey/Trappist styles, the Belgian golden ale is more or less the entry level beer. Dubbels are made with “twice as much” fermentable sugars, tripels with three times as many, quads with four… etc. Doubles and quads are usually darker amber beers while tripels and golden ales are golden and lighter in color. Doubles tend to pair well with food and, in some opinions, really need food to really shine. Because they are fairly strong and malty beers, dubbels tend to pair well with lots of foods, including roasts, grilled food, and even some spicy foods and desserts.
Pere Jacques pours a dark amber color with lots of big yeast bits floating in the beer. At 8% ABV it is no slouch in the alcohol department, and the aroma is that classic Belgian yeast earthiness with lots of caramel and some alcohol.
The flavors are definitely malt forward, bready, and some caramel with no hint of hops or bitterness. The beer has a nice mouthfeel, but I was left with a bit of a goober in the back of my throat from the sweetness, which wasn’t cloying, but was close. I detected some dark fruit early on in the flavor, too, like plums maybe? I think this would be a good beer with a cigar, actually.
Another winner from Goose Island, although for a couple bucks more for the bottle, I’d take Bourbon County anytime!