And now, for the post holiday doldrums, or as I like to call it, the best time of the year. This is the time when every day feeds you slightly more vitamin D, crocuses and daffodils start poking up with the first green shoots. I figure, if we’re going to do anything traditionally brewed in cold weather, now is the last chance. Enter the french stylings of Bière de Garde.
I can hear you all now. “What’s this about a French beer? French people make wine, not beer! It can’t possibly be any better than Italian beer, and that’s bad!” Ah, yes, but back when it was cool to pay your peasant farm hands with watered down beer, the French had the same idea as the Belgians, who called their version Saison. As with Saison, Bière de Garde was initially lower alcohol, to keep the workers from being drunk, but as the style developed, it changed quite a bit. Bière de Garde literally translates to “beer for keeping” and was often cellared for a bit before serving. Given the sanitation standards of farm brewing, it was hard to get a low alcohol beer to age well, often succumbing to souring bacteria not long into the process. Higher alcohol beers age better, and the ABV crept up over time from 3.5-4% to 6-8.5% or so. Ours was brewed a month ago, and is golden in color, 8.4%, somewhat malty, but dry and clean, and features traditional Kent Golding hops combined with a new Yakima variety called Belma. Like Belgian beer, the yeast matters as much as the malt and hops, but the Bière de Garde strains are not as tart and spicy as Saisons. As soon as the Too Big Blonde ale kicks the bucket, it’ll get tapped, and we are on the last of 7 kegs, so come help finish it off!
The other new beer waiting in the wings is the first in a new series, a single hop, featuring Amarillo. Amarillo, like Simcoe and Citra, is a rock star hop. If Cascade was Mick Jagger (been around forever, still relevant, gets consumed at most parties), Amarillo would be kind of a Macklemore (new kid on the scene, universally appealing, sometimes gets over-played). In an era of citrusy, fruity hops, Amarillo came on the scene a couple years ago with a uniquely intense flavor and aroma best applied to IPAs. Quickly, they became hard to get, and they sell out every year. Along with Horizon hops (you may remember Horizon from the Farmhouse IPA we did), Amarillo has the highest myrcene content of any hop, which is responsible for intensifying flavors of earthy orange and grapefruit citrus. Amarillo Single Hop is 5% ABV, and uses Amarillo at every stage of brewing, applied during the boil at minutes 60, 30, 15, 10, 5 and during the whirlpool and dry hop stages. It will get tapped as soon as we finish the Rye Stout, which we are currently on the last keg of. We will be repeating this experiment with different hops for a while (next up, Galaxy hops). Get to know Amarillo on it’s own in this simple, refreshing beer, which is also a great beer to toast touchdowns with …
Speaking of, we won’t be opening early for any games, but we will have NFL playoff games on the TV on Saturday and Sunday this week. As for the Seahawks’ Divisional Playoff game next week, we will open early, naturally, at 1pm. Go Hawks!
Lastly, please enjoy this amazing promotional video made by the lovely daughter of one of our lovely customers: