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Biere de Garde

Bière de Garde (in French: "beer for keeping") is a strong ale brewed in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region in France. Originally, they were produced in farmhouses around winter and early spring, to prevent uncontrollable fermentation. Today, Biere de Garde is brewed commercially, but most of its production belongs to small companies.

Today, Bière de Garde is generally a warm fermented strong pale ale, medium-bodied, brune, blonde or ambrée in colour. It has some resemblance to modern Belgian ales with hints of butterscotch and spice, and a very subtle herbal bitterness. It usually has a very characteristic moldy, cellared aroma. Indeed, it should be matured in a cellar for a generous amount of time, preferably sealed with a cork and consumed later, like Belgian Saison. Darker varieties are usually richer in malty sweetness.

Most of those ales are top-fermented and unfiltered, with a small proportion of bottom-fermented/ filtered versions. Brewers using original methods and regional ingredients are rewarded to use the Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée, Pas de Calais/Region du Nord on their products. Good examples of Biere de Garde producers are: Brasserie de Saint-Sylvestre, Trois Monts, Brasseurs Duyck, Jenlain, Brasserie Castelain, Ch'Ti and Brasserie La Choulette, Ambrée.