It’s happened more than once. I have a beer for review or that I am saving for something special. Then I have some people over and forget to put that beer away properly. Next thing you know someone is drinking that beer.
That’s fine, I’ll get over it, except that it always seems to be someone who doesn’t particularly appreciate the nuances of fine beer. For example, I once had a bottle of Midas Touch in the fridge during a raging party. The next morning I found the full bottle sitting on a book shelf with the cap removed.
Clearly, someone had opened it expecting a lager or a pale ale – or at least something recognizable as beer. They probably tipped back a mouthful and had to restrain themselves from spitting it in the face of their conversation partner. “Eww! Chris drinks the worst stuff and calls it beer. I just don’t get it.”
So last weekend, as we were preparing to have some folks over, I moved a bottle of Garde Dog, the new biere de garde from Flying Dog, way to the back of the fridge thinking we’d never work our way through everything in front of it. Sure enough, my good friend Dave showed up toward the end of the party and he and I proceeded to stay up ’til 3am listening to records and working our way toward the back of the fridge.
“No! Shoot,” I blurted out before gaining control of my manners. Dave had the bottle of Garde Dog open in his hand before I realized what was happening. “Drat, well just let me have a taste of that before you drink it,” I suggested after explaining that I had received it from the brewery as a review bottle. So taste it I did, but notes I did not take, and the next day I couldn’t recall a thing about it.
During the next week I felt obliged to find a bottle of this beer so I could write a proper review of it but my efforts to locate a retailer proved fruitless. Tonight, however, I am enjoying a bottle of Saison Vos from Sly Fox brewing, which I picked up on Thursday while visiting a friend in Phoenixville, PA. Saison and biere de garde are closely related styles, the latter being brewed in northern France and the former in Wallonia, the French-speaking western region of Belgium.
Saison typically has a low floral hop presence, a malt accented middle with peppery spice and mild sourness, and a characteristically dry finish. Biere de garde is similar but has a rounder mouthfeel due to a higher sweetness and lack of spicing. Despite its name, the Sly Fox Saison might be better described as a biere de garde or even a Belgian style strong golden ale, with its 6.9% ABV putting it at the very top of the saison range, perhaps due to an addition of candy sugar. Delicious no matter how it is classified.