French Country Style Ale

When my grandmother first visited America she came from France lugging bags filled with wine bottles. They were for her own personal consumption as she feared the new world was without drinkable wine. For the most part she was right. Of course things have changed since then and now America has some very good wine. Not only that but we brew some of the finest beers in the world. French beer? Ehhh, let’s just say that France is not one of Europe’s major brewing nation’s…but that said, France has some great beers. Northern France, encompassing French Flanders, Picardy, and the Pas de Calais, is home to a style of beer, bière de garde (literally, “keeping beer”), that is treasured by beer connoisseurs. Bière de gardes, once an endangered species, have undergone a revival in the latter half of the 20th century. Spicy, strong,malt-accented, and usually packaged in 750-ml bottles with a wire-caged cork stopper, these beers can cosmetically pass themselves off as Belgian ales. They are France’s greatest and most distinctive beers. At least half a dozen of the 20 or so producers of bière de garde export to the United States.
Just to screw with you The Bodega now features a Bière de garde on draft from the western suburbs of Chicago! Two Brothers Brewing Company makes it and it’s called Domaine DuPage French Style Country Ale. It’s been described as having nutty, bisquity flavor that goes down easy and finishes with a bit of yeast fruitiness. Come by and try it, it’s $5 for a pint – mention Ben’s grandmother and get a dollar off.


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