French Country Christmas Ale (Biere De Garde) - Southampton Publick House
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Ratings: 81 | Reviews: 67 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by mzwolinski:
4.6/5 rDev +13.3%
Autumnal in color, with an expansive, creamy off-white head. The aroma contains more of a roasted, caramel malt character than I would have expected from other samplings of the style. It is offset, however, by a slightly musky straw-like scent and a hint of grapey sharpness. Caramel malt is strong in the flavor as well, and blends nicely into a subtle woody flavor at the finish. A bit sweet at the start, this beer develops a lot of complexity throughout the sip, including a (mostly) grapey fruitiness and a slightly alcohol-spiced finish. Full in the mouth, yet not at all overwhelming. This is a delightfully drinkable beer.
09-09-2005 02:04:55 | More by mzwolinski
More User Reviews:
4.5/5 rDev +10.8%
Vintage 2005. Pours a beautiful deep amber orange like a blustery fall afternoon with a two finger bubbly white head on top. Simply lovely with massive active carbonation rising up in the glass. Aromas of light nutty caramel malts initially. Light fruity aromas follow with a simply wonderful fresh yeasty aroma. I get a slight sourness along with some mellow earthy, herbal hops.
First sip brings a light nutty caramel maltiness with a tasty earthen yeast aspect. Slight sourness midway through each sip along with a nuanced herbal hoppiness on the way down. Extremely fresh, elegant and well built...this is a treat to drink. Finishes clean with a lingering spicy nuttiness and an all around hand crafted appeal. Make sure you spend some time with this one as there's a lot of joy to be had from it.
Mouthfeel is smooth, spritzy, light and easy to drink. A tasty treat that I could no doubt drink all day. Easily the best Biere De Garde I have ever tasted. Definetly a brew worth seeking out and another fine accomplishment from Southampton. I'm very glad I still have another bottle of this one for future enjoyment.
11-25-2005 03:57:26 | More by orbitalr0x
4.18/5 rDev +3%
Poured from a growler into an oversized wine glass.
A--I should have reviewed this yesterday, the first day on the growler. Because today it's flatter: the head goes from about a finger and a half to a fingernail, although you do get some decent off-white skim that lasts, and even some lacing from it! This beer is no quitter, and the body is a beautiful almost pure caramel, with only a hint more red.
S--Not terribly complex, some floral hints and an earthy, almost root beer smell. Weird, and kinda intriguing, to be honest.
T--Incredibly satisfying. I'm getting plenty of toasty sweetish malt holding up behind all sorts of grain: whole-wheat, more molasses-like pumpernickel, even a touch of spicy rye. There are also hints of pepper and poppy seed that propel themselves (how's /that/ for allieration?!) out from what is mostly a mellow, almost toffee, malt backdrop. Hops aren't much here but I think that's normal for the style. What sticks out as uncharacteristic for the style is the minimal yeast presence. That may be what robs the nose.
M&D--Expert stuff here. Lively bubbles lighten the load of the barley and the alcohol is well-masked. Perfect beer for a fire!
11-15-2008 22:33:55 | More by TheycallmeTim
3.78/5 rDev -6.9%
They did not nail the style, likely intentionally. A fine Belgian near sticky yeasty ale with good malting and a significant but not bold spiciness. Fairly easy to drink after a warm (finally) day and went well with the food. Lightly orangey with lots of foamed bubbles. In a word, sweetish Belgian yeast.
04-06-2008 03:28:06 | More by Sammy
4.5/5 rDev +10.8%
Note: Although my bottle has no mention of either "French Country" or "Christmas Ale", I can only assume that this "Biere de Garde - A French Farmhouse-Style Ale" is the same beer.
750ml bottle. 2005 edition - no month listed. The bottle opens with a crack, similar to that of a bottle of sparkling wine; and pours a heady, off-white pillow of froth above a hazy robe of orange-hued chestnut. The head retention is astounding, obviously buoyed by the teeming, efferevescent bubbles from beneath, and it maintains a complete surface covering throughout the glass and leaves some nice lacing along the way.
The yeast character is dead on (similar to a 3 Monts), with notes of minerals and hay; over a distinctly caramelish malt base that's enlivened by some deep, Bordeaux-like character of grape and alcohol. Despite its carbonic zest, it's surprisingly cottony-soft and smooth across the palate - to the point that you almost forget that it's liquid.
The aroma does an impressive job of indicating what's to be found within, although it's certainly a bit richer. Upfront, some notes of dark fruit, apple, and alcohol appear; laced with sparkling notes of minerals. Grassy, straw-accented, and toasty swashes of caramel-soaked malt appear across the middle, tweaked by a subtle note of dark-skinned, tannic fruitiness. It's full but not overwhelming; and sweetish but only slightly (...far from candyish); backed by a solid bitterness and peppered with mildly spicy and herbal hops.
The finish is dry and lingering with notes of minerals and spice that dance a waltz over a subtly astringent combination of dark grape skins and subtly woody, toasted, caramel-accented malt. As it winds down, it becomes more apple-ish and the alcohol in noted, but subdued. It's interesting, kind of like a halfway broken-in wild stallion. And surprisingly, considering that the alcohol is apparent at least to some extent right out of the gate, it never builds to become more than a pertinent component of the beer (although it's strength can be felt!).
Overall, it's a bit darker and more caramel-accented than most of the larger, commercially available brands; but it's certainly far from authentic. This is exactly the type of beer that you might find from a smaller house-brewery along the northern border. Very well done! Enjoy it with venison or a darker meat alongside lightly buttered vegetables on a cool night; or as a relaxing goblet as the sun goes down on a warm summer's night.
02-13-2005 16:09:49 | More by NeroFiddled
4.05/5 rDev -0.2%
On-tap at The Farmhouse in Emmaus. This isn't far removed from a Belgian pale ale or amber, but there's a little something extra in the flavor. It's a literally flowery, like rose petals. Beyond that, the beer has an array of subtle flavors that range from dry biscuity malts to light citrus rind hops, and fruity caramel. This beer is not the richest, but the mellow complexities are quite nice. Certainly worth a try.
01-16-2009 02:10:35 | More by tempest
3.45/5 rDev -15%
I keep trying these Saison-type rustic ales, and I keep not liking them. I guess I'm just not a fan of the style, so take the review with a grain of salt, I suppose.
A: The most beautiful beer I have ever seen. Amazingly fluffy white head that sticks around for the perfect amount of time. A hazy copper color with maybe the smallest hint of cranberry.
S/T: Very fruity - even has that sort of fruity "bite" that you get after a crisp granny smith apple. I found the taste to be a bit harsh - not inviting like I like my beer. Medium body, low hop bitterness. Not sure what I felt this brew was missing.
M/D: Mouthfeel was great - medium to high levels of carbonation. I could feel the brew on my tongue for quite a while after swallowing, a sensation I rather enjoyed. Drinkability was very low - I enjoyed the brew a bit at the beginning, but the beer was just way too harsh on the palate. Stinging.
04-10-2006 03:54:33 | More by Lnedrive14
3.9/5 rDev -3.9%
Out of the 22oz bomber. Pours an exceptional clear and pretty copper color, nice fluffy egg shell colored head that settled fairly quick into a light ring. The aroma is fairly light, a sweet toasted malt with a touch a hoppy spice. The taste is of a toasted malt with a sprucey hop bite, lemon rind and a tart cranberry like fruitiness. The brew sits well on the palate, slightly chewy, prickly carbonation, finishes with a spicy sweetness. A nice and spicy biere de garde, more of a hoppy spice than yeasty spice.
11-22-2008 02:30:36 | More by Gmann
3.95/5 rDev -2.7%
The guy at the beer store told me this beer was flying off the shelf. I decided to try it since I like trying local brews. Pours a nice amber in to a tulip glass, shwoing off it's clarity as well. Not much in aroma, mostly bready, but not offensive. Sweetness dominates at first, but becomes more structured after the first few sips. Hints of some kind of herb. Very well made, shows it's a substantial brew by the way it sits on your tounge, with a nice long aftertaste. Highly recommended and a bit different.
12-06-2008 00:34:43 | More by AaronRed
4.5/5 rDev +10.8%
Corked and caged 750ml bottle
Dirty penny in color, with good clarity and a creamy tan head that holds well. Fair amount of sticky lace. Aroma is a soft and malty blend of caramel, apples, damp wood, yeasty spiciness, hay, a hint of pear, and faint barnyard. Well carbonated, with a light and airy body.
Caramel malt and white grape skins arrive first, followed by a wonderful balance of ever-growing peppery spiciness and apple/pear-like fruitiness. The tail end has some metal, fresh hay, damp wood, and barnyard, rounding out the palate with an underlying hint of sour funkiness which gets stronger towards the bottom of the bottle. Late hit of hop flavor and bitterness. Dry finish. The apple and barnyard notes last and last The body gets a touch thicker and creamier as it sits, from both the CO2 leaving the solution and the yeast slowly finding its way into my glass.
Overall, a well-crafted and delicious example of a rare style that rarely finds its students sticking to the guidelines.
05-22-2004 16:43:14 | More by MJR
3.78/5 rDev -6.9%
Had on tap at The Gate in Brooklyn. This is the 2008 vintage poured into an imperial pint glass.
A: Translucent brown with a white ring lining the inside of the glass.
S: A little nutmeg, coriander, and other spices. Nothing crazy, maybe the beer is too cold for the aroma to come out?
T: Malty and mellow. Slight hints of egg nog? Maybe I'm just thinking about Christmas.
M: Nicely done here. Perfect carbonation - works well with the ABV.
D: Awesome. Because of the lower ABV and lack of heavy malts and spiciness, this one can be had all night.
10-09-2010 20:49:55 | More by hoppymcgee
4.15/5 rDev +2.2%
2005 750ml bottle. Damn that was one of the loudest pops of a champagne cork I have ever heard. Needless to say, it left a mighty noisy and active head. It took a while to settle down. Surprise to see it so clear. Nice amber color. Pleasant nose of caramel and sour cherries/cranberries. Subtle but obvious spices white pepper, nutmeg maybe ginger. All of this is very light but not impossible to taste- better as it warms. A good interpretation of the style.
01-31-2006 05:36:23 | More by lou91
4/5 rDev -1.5%
Thanks to Gregc for sending me down this growler as part of growlin at the moon. I served this one tonight for my sons birthday party and it seemed to be a hit all the way around. Served chilled and poured into several pint glasses, this one was consumed on 12/20/2008.
Nice pour here with a medium amber color that had a slight bit of haziness to it. Intresting tone here for sure as it was bordering on being a bit brighter. There was a nice head of white that came up over the top and settled down gradually into a little pillow.
The aroma was light, hints of grian, light hops and a touch of light peach and pear fruit notes. Subtle would be the ideal word here. There was a very nice flavor here, nothing really huge, just very light and drinkable. Nice touches of light grains and small doses of light fruit, mixing well and with subtle yet adequate carbonation, the whole thing seemed to come together quite well.
Overall a very solid little beer here, something I would have no problem at all enjoying a little more often. Quite nice and a winner at the party tonight.
12-21-2008 04:02:07 | More by mikesgroove
4.2/5 rDev +3.4%
Dark peach colored with a pale beige tinted head. This dissapates to a fine persistant sheen. Herbal fruity nose. Inital taste of tropical fruit touched by metalic sweet malts and grapefruits. the finish also has hints of nutmeg, sour plums and cinnamon. Quite complex but quite medium bodied. A nice regal selection.
10-17-2004 01:03:01 | More by frank4sail
3.8/5 rDev -6.4%
Superb white head, fully laced thrones above the sandy murky amber robe. Peaceful and balanced aroma in which no flavour takes the top on another. The bready yeast gently integrates peppery edges among the generous biscuity malt. Applesauce, grapes and pear reminiscent fruit notes unveil a vinous earthiness that evolves into serious cork notes, not in an unpleasant way in the nose, but perhaps a bit brash in mouth. Quite tart and clovey, the taste is pretty much in line with the aroma, theres just more sourness than youd expect. Not as impressive as most Southampton, but still one of the good Bière de Garde Ive had, so few have been as impressive as my enthusiasm for discovering more from this elegant style.
04-21-2005 15:39:41 | More by Rastacouere
4/5 rDev -1.5%
On tap at Earth Bread + Brewery...
Appears a semi-transparent amber with a small, off white head that sticks around for nice retention. Scattered traces of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of floral hops, a touch of grass, malty caramel, toffee, and maybe a touch of ripe fruit.
Taste is of the aromas with a standout flashing of apple and earthiness.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, fizzy, and chewy in the finish.
01-06-2010 19:59:24 | More by weeare138
2.17/5 rDev -46.6%
I must say thanks to herbjones for sharing this with me. This pours a cloudy orange with a big white head. The flavors, the aroma, are like wet grass, barnyards, etc. For me, these characteristics aren't too appealing. I just didn't like this beer. Oh well.
07-06-2003 18:09:26 | More by jcalabre
3.93/5 rDev -3.2%
This was everywhere back on Long Island when I went home for the holidays. I picked up a growler on tap at St James Beverage and carted it down here to Carolina to try. This pours a light orange amber with little but a tiny cap for a head. The nose s malty and sweet with caramel and a hint of dark fruit.
I remember taste testing this against the Harpoon warmer with the owner's brother at the filling station. I liked the texture of this one as opposed to the spiciness of the Harpoon. This one has a thick, syrupy coating and a smooth, warm, fruity finish. This improves as it warms, with hints of apple and grapes but a light, delicate flavor, in contrast with the mouthfeel. A touch more carbonation would probably help but that could have been lost in the growler fill or the four days it took me to open it. Very good, not great but worth trying.
01-04-2009 01:43:32 | More by daliandragon
4.45/5 rDev +9.6%
Appears a fairly clear bubbly amber with a tall tan head. The head stays at about a half inch cap fluffy cap the whole time, while leaving rings of lace. Aroma is a bit musty and funky with a good amount of fruitiness and spices. There is a bit of sweetness as well and yeast as well. Taste is pretty strong with spice and the musty funk. A bit doughy and there is a slight tartness towards the end. Quite a variety of flavors in the mix here. There is also a slight spicy hop bitterness and this finishes with a lingering spice and funk. Mouthfeel was crisp and bubbly with loads of carbonation. This keep me coming back for more to try and figure out all the flavors. Overall an interesting complex and tasty brew I would definitely have again. Good stuff thanks for the bottle steve.
03-03-2005 13:31:02 | More by meathookjones
3.98/5 rDev -2%
Copper color with a golden touch. Medium sized head and thin lace that holds up well.
The aroma of fruits,caramel and malts. The taste is sweet,malts with a spices and apple hints.
The feel was smooth yet crisp in the finish. Creamy going down and medium body with moderate carbonation.Dry finish.
Notes: I got a good beer for my money. No complaints here as it was easy to drink and a pleasure to have. I felt that style wise they got a little creative,but it was done well and I enjoyed it.
11-14-2008 03:24:00 | More by Lexluthor33
4/5 rDev -1.5%
22oz bottle purchased as a single from Spirit Haus, Amherst, MA.
Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 3/4" light beige head over the clear copper brew. Head recedes gradually, with heavy coating lace. Aroma is moderately sweet, with spicy yeast character. Taste is sweet upfront, lightly spicy in the middle, which kicks up towards the end. Mouthfeel is clean, and drinkability is good. This one was discounted for being a "leftover" of the Xmas season. I'll a 20% discount on this any day.
02-13-2009 23:34:08 | More by ppoitras
French Country Christmas Ale (Biere De Garde) from Southampton Publick House
90 out of 100 based on 81 ratings.