This evening I find myself sitting with my first bottle of Flying Dog’s new spring offering – Garde Dog. Garde Dog is a Bière de Garde-style brew. Bière de Garde, or “keeping beer”, is a style of ale traditionally brewed in the Pas-de-Calais region of France. These farmhouse-style beers were usually brewed in the winter and spring, to avoid unpredictible problems with the yeast during the summertime. As the name suggests the origins of this style lie in the tradition that it was matured/cellared for a period of time once bottled to be consumed later in the year (similar to a Belgian Saison-style).
The first thing that came to mind when I took a sip of this beer is that it would make a great transition beer for someone weening themselves off of macro-brewed beers wanting to try something a little more bold and daring. Even as I was pouring the beer — well before I held it up to my nose — the strong, malty aromas cut through my very cold-ridden sinuses. And, not surprisingly, the finish packed the same wallop, really showing the beer’s full body. A body which caught me off guard (no pun intended), with the beer’s mild 5.5% ABV.
Garde Dog has the look — a terrific pure gold color and virtually no head — and clean, crisp, cool taste of a pilsener. But, unlike a lager, Garde Dog has a strong and spicy hop bite to complement its full, malty body.
The Flying Dog website proclaims that Garde Dog will “liberate you from the winter doldrums” and I would have to agree. As special spring releases do (or should do), this offering bridges the gap between dark and biscuity warming winter ales and crisp and easy-drinkin’ summer ales quite nicely. But you better hurry – Garde Dog is only on shelves through May.[tags]Flying Dog Ales, Garde Dog, Biere de Garde, beer[/tags]