Editors’ Picks: Bière de Garde

Whether clean and malty or dry and spicy, the beers that claim this category cover a wide range.

Craft Beer & Brewing Staff Jan 4, 2022 - 2 min read

Editors’ Picks: Bière de Garde Primary Image

Photos from Left: Courtesy La Choulette; Matt Graves(3); Courtesy 3 Monts

La Choulette Ambrée

Perhaps the most classically bière de garde-ish of Choulette’s surprisingly diverse range—they even brew a double IPA—the Ambrée brings caramel and dark-fruit character but keeps it well attenuated and digestible, with balancing bitterness. Dangerous at this strength.
ABV: 8%
IBUs: 35
Location: Hordain, France

Au Baron Cuvée des Jonquilles

Bière de garde is not a monolith, and those from this small brewery near the Belgian border overlap with Wallonian saison—dry and floral, as the grains, yeast, and Noble hops interact for resonant, rustic notes of lemon peel and hay.
ABV: 7%
IBUs: 30
Location: Gussignies, France

Two Brothers Domaine Dupage

Dry and expressive, this one leads with light and fruity fermentation esters—pear, plum, raisin, apple—backed by a bread-crust note. In the flavor, the significant malt brings out a nuttiness with just a hint of caramel. Warm despite the lean finish, it’s restrained but characterful.
ABV: 5.9%
IBUs: 24
Location: Warrenville, Illinois

The Lost Abbey Avant Garde

A modern classic in the genre, even if it’s brewed (occasionally) more than 9,000 miles from Hauts-de-France. Smooth malt layers of toffee, biscuit, and bread crust join a medley of peppery notes and soft fruit esters into a dry finish.
ABV: 7%
IBUs: 35
Location: San Marcos, California

3 Monts Bière de Flandre

If others straddle saison, this straddles strong, Flemish, devilish blond ales. Pale and sparkling, it manages a beautiful food-friendly bready quality derived from locally grown barley, with yeast-driven apple-pear notes, finishing just off-dry.
ABV: 8.5%
IBUs: 20
Location: Saint-Sylvestre-Cappel, France