Well, I have to take a minute to send an apology out to all of my twitter followers. I have been so excited about the beers from the advent calendar that I’ve been tweeting them out first thing in the morning. In all of my enthusiasm, I never considered that I might be spoiling the fun for others by telling them what beer they will be getting before they get it. So, to all of those for whom I’ve spoiled any of the surprise, I apologize. So, starting tomorrow, I will not post what beer it is until I post my review. Someone else might, but I wont.
Now, today’s beer is from Iron Fist Brewing Company and it is a Bière de Garde called Spice of Life.
Iron Fist is a family owned brewery located in Vista, California, right in the middle of San Diego’s craft beer scene. While the website doesn’t give a lot of details about the specifics of the brewery or the people who run it, they do provide a list of there beers and a video that gives the story of the brewery. So rather than me writing all about them, why not take a watch.
Biere de Garde (keeping beer) is a strong pale ale style of beer that was traditionally brewed in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of France. They were originally brewed in farmhouses during the winter and spring to avoid unpredictable problems with the yeast in the summer time.
Typically copper or golden in colour, they are a beer that is brewed and then cellared in order to be consumed later in the year, basically like the Saison style. Most are top-fermented and bottle-conditioned but they can be bottom fermented. What is interesting about this style is that if it is brewed using regional ingredients it is eligible for a Appellation d’origine contrôlée, similar to French wines.
Characterized by a toasted malt aroma, slight malt sweetness, and medium hop bitterness. Typically brewed with noble hop varietals, there are earthy and musty notes often in this beer as well as fruity esters from the yeast. Chill haze is expected (hazy colour when cold) in bottle conditioned versions of this style. The style we are drinking today is brewed using grains of paradise, bitter orange peel, and coriander. It is a bottle conditioned beer and so the haze is expected. Let’s get to it.
Appearance: Copper in colour, poured with basically no head.
Smell: Brewed with orange peel, coriander and grains of paradise, all of these are noticeable on the nose of the beer. There is also the smell of toasted malt and some fruity esters from the beer.
Taste: Alcohol flavour is noticeable, common for this style. There are fruity notes from the orange peel, the coriander is present as well as toasted malt notes and a sweet smooth finish. There are also some good peppery notes to this likely coming from the grains of paradise.
Mouthfeel: Soft carbonation, smooth mouthfeel, almost creamy.
Overall: Strong example of this style. Good flavours, lots of things going for it. The lack of head was concerning at first but the carbonation throughout is great. Good fruit notes balanced against the sweet malt and pepperiness. Overall quite good.
Do I like it: Yes, I do like it. It’s a good beer to drink on a summer day, it was a nice one to have after the warm weather we’ve been having here. I had just gotten back from a long walk and it was nice and crisp and refreshing. I’m a fan of these Belgian styles of beer and this one lives up to my expectations. Quite good.