Friday, February 05, 2010

Beer of the Week (Vol. XLI)

This edition of Beer of the Week brought to you by the fine folks at Glen Lake Wine & Spirits who are always glad you came and, if you go there often enough, where everybody will know your name. You never know who you're going to run at the store either. Just this past Wednesday, I happened to bump into Johnny Roosh of Shot in the Dark renown. Mr. Roosh is apparently something of a regular and Dan (Glen Lake's owner/operator) always makes sure he has a fresh bottle of Boone's Farm Sun Peak Peach on hand to satisfy Johnny's imbibing needs.

By now, I'm sure everyone knows that because some rodent saw the comparative darkness that results from his body blocking light rays we're going to have to endure another six weeks of winter. Here in the Northland, we can only wish that would be so. Six more weeks of winter would be a walk in the park. We're likely looking at another two months of the long hard slog. And even then when "Spring" comes, it won't mean trees budding, flowers blooming, bird singing, blue skies, and sunshine. It will mean rain, wind, clouds, muck, and probably a late snowfall or two lest we get too hopeful that Spring has actually sprung.

But even though it still seems like a long ways off and it never really delivers on the promise, you can't blame us for dreaming of Spring. So even though it's ridiculously early to even be uttering the "S" word, our beer of the week is the first Spring seasonal of 2010. It's another offering from Flying Dog Brewery in Maryland called Garde Dog Biere de Garde:

Proving the French may actually know something we don't...Garde Dog is a traditional French Biere de Garde or "beer for keeping". This classic farmhouse ale was brewed in March for drinking during the spring and summer months. With its toasted aroma and spicy, malty sweetness Garde Dog will liberate you from the winter doldrums.

That's a promise of freedom that we all can drink to. In all my years as a beer aficionado, I've never heard of Biere de Garde:

The Biere de Garde is golden to deep copper or light brown in color. They are moderate to medium in body. This style of beer is characterized by a toasted malt aroma, slight malt sweetness in flavor, and medium hop bitterness. Noble-type hop aromas and flavors should be low to medium. Fruity esters can be light to medium in intensity. Flavor of alcohol is evident. Earthy, cellar-like, musty aromas and flavors are okay. Diacetyl should not be perceived but chill haze is okay. Often bottle conditioned with some yeast character.

Okay then. Now that we have the background, we can consider the beer itself.

Brown bottle. Usual gonzo style Flying Dog label with a rabid looking watch dog who would make the boldest intruder think twice. Tri-color design is a nod to the beer style's Gallic origins.

Beer Style: Biere de Garde

Alcohol by Volume: 5.5%

COLOR (0-2): Gold and mostly clear. 2

AROMA (0-2): Malty, sweet with a little wheat. 2

HEAD (0-2): White and pretty thin. Fades fast. 1

TASTE (0-5): Malty sweet flavor with spices and a bit of a bitter finish. Light to medium body. Very drinkable. 3

AFTERTASTE (0-2): Dry and mostly clean with a little lingering burn. 2

OVERALL (0-6): I haven't had any previous experience with the Biere de Garde style so I'm not sure how Flying Dog's offering compares. There's not a ton of flavor yet it is refreshing. This is a beer definitely best suited for warmer weather and I'd probably favor it over many of the other Spring seasonals. Assuming that we actually see Spring around these parts while Garde Dog is still available on the shelves. You might want to pick up a six-pack now and garde it until Spring does arrive in Minnesota. You know, June maybe July. 3

TOTAL SCORE (0-19): 13

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