I am a fan of New Belgium, whether it’s from the beer they make to their annual Tour de Fat festival. I am a big fan of their Lips of Faith series, which just keeps cranking out one good beer after another.
I’ve noted my appreciation for New Belgium’s specialty beers and while the coffee-chocolate stout was definitely a good offering, it’s the sour or funky Lips of Faith brews that I really like. Enter Biere de Garde.
Made in collaboration with Michigan’s Belgian-inspired brewery, Brewery Vivant, this beer offers a lot of funk courtesy of Vivant’s biere de garde yeast strain and some nice complementary flavors. It’s got an 81 on Beer Advocate.
How much funk does this beer have? Let’s see if the George Clinton, Godfather of Funk, abides approves after the jump.
First thing’s first: The most important aspect I took away from this beer was how incredibly beautiful it looked. Yes, beer can be beautiful. The liquid itself is nearly transparent and created a huge, ivory head that sat on top. Light flew through the golden-hued beer, allowing me to see right through.
Ah, but the smell. If funky farmhouse ales aren’t your thing, then this certainly won’t be. I got a small smell of barnyard funk when I opened it and that aroma hit me hard when I poured the thing. It wasn’t offensive like the gym sock smell of Brett Beer, but not as clean as Brux. It finds a middle ground that lets some of orange zest shine through that offers a 7up-like quality of crispness. I found that the longer the beer sat, the more the fruity citrus was able to come forward. However, the beer never shook its tangy funk base.
At 9 percent ABV, Biere de Garde had a hard, boozy bite on the first few sips, only extenuated by the light body and crispness of the beer. I don’t often find a beer that light in body and mouthfeel that sits so high in ABV, so it took about a quarter of the glass to get into a groove where some of that orange zest pushed past the booze to show up. The cleanliness of the biere de garde yeast brought out some spicy esters, tropical fruit sweetness and even white grape, all pretty fairly balanced. The more I thought about it, the more it reminded me of Spotted Cow, New Glarus’ farmhouse ale.
If only because of the impact of the yeast, this beer certainly isn’t for everyone. If you’re adventurous or appreciate this kind of traditional French brew, go nuts.
Biere de Garde stats:
- Malt: Pale, Munich and C-120
- Hops: Target and Sorachi Ace
- Adjuncts: Orange Peel
- ABV: 9 percent