La Divine is a beer under the St. Landelin label, brewed by French brewery Les Brasseurs de Gayant. This is the same brewery that produces the incredible biere blanche, Amadeus, that I was gushing over a while back, so I had high hopes for La Divine.
La Divine is a biere de garde that weighs in at 8-8.5% ABV and comes nicely packaged in a 750mL bottle with a swing top (Grolsch-style) cap. While researching this beer I also found that in France, at least, this beer can also be purchased in a can! The idea of drinking a beer like La Divine or Amadeus out of a can is infinitely cool, but you already know how can-obsessed I am if you’ve been reading for any length of time.
Biere de garde is a French farmhouse style beer that is similar to the more common (around here) Belgian saison style. Biere de garde, or “keeping beer,” like saisons, are meant to be brewed in cooler months, then laid down before being bottled so that they can be drunk in the warm months, when brewing is more difficult.
I poured this beer into a New Belgium snifter-style glass that can easily hold a full 12 oz bottle. The beer poured a clear, deep golden color with a just off-white head. Aroma is light with characteristic yeasty “funk” common in this style of Belgian and French beers and lots of malt. No hops that I could detect.
The flavor is mainly malt and that wonderful yeast “funk” that is found in most beers of this region. Very little bitterness and, again, no hops on the flavor of this beer. There is maybe a little sourness toward the later half of the taste, but not like a true sour beer at all… more like a little twang at the end. La Divine is a smooth drinker with a decent amount of carbonation, but the carbonation is really fine and doesn’t sizzle much in the mouth. The finish is relatively dry, but this beer is definitely all about the malt.
I have very limited experience with biere de garde, so I have to consider La Divine simply on its own merits without comparing it to anything else. I don’t know if this helps or not, but to me it seemed a lot like a Belgian/Northern French version of a doppelbock! The malt and finish are really similar to a doppelbock, but I found the biere de garde to be drier in the finish and nicer to drink, without developing the cloying sweetness that doppelbocks develop for me.
While this is not bad for a standalone drinker, I’ll bet this beer would really pair well with food coming off the grill. The malt would play right into grilled meats, and there is enough carbonation and alcohol to handle fats pretty well. According to Garrett Oliver, author of a wonderful book on pairing food and beer and the brewmaster at Brooklyn Brewing, biere de garde are incredible with a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. I bought several bottles of La Divine at Gomer’s when they were having their ridiculously great sale (I bought this for $3.5o!) on de Gayant beers, so I think I will save the rest for November and see if he’s right.