Tag Archive: Biere De Garde

La Choulette: Ambrée (France: Biere De Garde: 8% ABV)

Visual: Carbonated amber brown, enthusiastic to escape the bottle forming a lace leaving large froth head.

Nose:  Milk chocolate and malt drinks, quite light initially with wheat grain and husks, but later comes out with almost rum like elements underneath.

Body:  Malt and chocolate, bitter back, just slightly acidic that gives a fresh touch and some black cherry notes.  Thick textured.

Finish: Liquorice and initially very slick and slightly acidic feel. Chocolate again. Drying feel to the end after the acidic touch settles, and yet still a somewhat sticky and cloying feel over the tongue. Light bitterness. Slight spice and nuttiness.

Conclusion:  An odd barrage of thoughts whilst drinking this one. First was the appropriateness of the label – from a distance Id taken it to be a plain white label that was somewhat dirty from time in the cellar.  As I looked closer I realised that there was a subtle grey line image upon it.  Similarly the beers flavours oft seem to be slightly off intrusions muddying the flavour when you first sip it, but you slowly realise that they are balanced against each other intentionally all adding to the whole.

The second thought was how closely tied the texture and flavour is.  The slightly acidic touch mix with a contrasting almost cloying sickness, this is beer you feel as much as you taste.  It reminded me of a view on Japanese food, especially sushi and sashimi, where the variety of the textures is as important as the taste itself.

For the beer then, I find it reasonable, a nice dose of chocolate heavy flavour, and a thick sticky texture (amongst all the other textures), but not special.  There is something about it which makes me think that in the right combination it would be significantly better.  There is something in its balance that would possibly express itself more fully with cheese or possibly grapes. Without testing, I will have to leave this as an interesting mix of taste and texture, but one to come back to for food combinations.

Castelain: Ch’ti Brune (France: Biere De Garde: 6.4% ABV)

Visual: Initially quite fizzy but settles quickly. Dark brown red – nigh impenetrable to light. Head dissipates soon to leave a brown pool staring back at you.

Nose: Figs and prunes. Burnt offerings, slight acidic quality.

Body: Sharp, quite fizzy and malty. Unripened fruit. Some lactose milk, distinctly nutty.

Finish: acidic, malt chocolate. Dry paste and peanuts. Burnt fudge. liquorice .

Conclusion: A sharp beer with some reasonable notes bubbling under the surface.

Its got good elements but they don’t quite come together in a coherent whole.

The main body seems elusive with tart and nutty hovering around but never settling. A lot of notes but no connection between them.

Its ok as a refreshing beer but it cant settle into a groove. Its beer type apparently indicates a beer meant for ageing, so it would be interesting to see if an older expression was a more satisfying beer.

If I had to match it up for a use, I would put it out on bonfire night with some roasted nuts and burnt ashes wafting on the wind.

I think on this turf it would settle in much better that the environ I tasted it, as the nuttiness is possibly the most distinct and most pleasurable characteristic.

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