Pump House Bière De Garde

Reviewed by on April 9, 2015 in Spring Guide

The Details

  • Brewery: Pump House Brewery

  • Origin: Moncton, NB, CA

  • Rated On: April 9, 2015

  • Best Before: packaged March 3, 2015

  • ABV: 6.5%

  • Ideal Temperature: cool to cellar temperature

  • Style: Bière de Garde

  • Rating: GOOD !

The Review

The Bière de Garde style is French in origin, and were traditionally brewed in the winter and early spring to take advantage of the cooler storage temperatures (‘beer for keeping’ is the translation).  They are then consumed after a few months, when spring and early summer take hold.  Although they have much in common with their Belgian Saison cousins across the border, Pump House calling their version a Bière de Garde, and then subtitling it a ‘Belgian Saison’ is somewhat incongruous, mais non?

This 341ml bottle pours a clear, bright red-brick amber hue, with four fingers of puffy, densely foamy, and lightly bubbly ecru head, which leaves some sexy spackled snow rime lace around the glass as it slowly ebbs away.

It smells of rather sweet bready, doughy pale malt, sassy, but respectful yeast, muddled sugary citrus, a soft hard water flintiness, and pleasant leafy, weedy, and mildly grassy noble hops. The taste is once again big on the morning bakery goodness – rising dough and toasty, crackery caramel – more understated citrusy orchard fruit, a still heady minerality, and more leafy, earthy, and wet hay-like hoppy bitterness.  The carbonation is rather light in its easy-going effervescence, the body a solid middleweight for either purported style, and well smooth, with a generally unassailed and burgeoning creaminess. It finishes on the sweet side, sure, but moderated by unseen (and tasted, yippee!) yeast, a restrained fruitiness, and well-cloaked alcohol.

I can’t claim to have encountered many true to form versions of this venerable old-world style (Jolly Pumpkin and Stillwater can go take a flying Belgo-Franco leap, AFAIC). Anyways, one tasty affair when judged on its own merits, as long as you’re all right with a prominent maltiness, and recessed hoppiness – yep, ain’t nothin’ wrong with that.

Brady White

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