Le Pianiste
Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store

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French Bière de Garde
3.77 | pDev: 9.02%
Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Michigan, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Reviews: 24 | Ratings: 100 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of GuyFawkes
4.34/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Unknown vintage; drank 12/16/15 @ Hopleaf.

Opaque red appearance.

Almost no off-white head; no lace.

Tart raspberry, strawberry & faint cider notes in the nose.

Medium mouthfeel.

Tart strawberry & faint cider flavors up front; dry raspberry notes on the finish.

Fruity, with a nice balance between tart, sweet & dry. Very nice!

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.74/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

not enough biere de garde in the american lexicon right now, so i pretty much jump at every one i see. this is a bit of an obscure one from these guys, and i had not heard of it before this. its a really cool brew, not all the way dialed in, like if they did it again it would be awesome, but its a little rough around the edges. heavy for its lower abv and for the style, malty beyond what i usually look for in these, both in terms of flavor and body. i also didnt expect it to be funky, but there is a serious bretty weirdness to it, intentional or not (i would assume so). notes of red wine, raisin, cherry, and crystal malts here, along with a wet dog funk, a bit of briny acidity, and some caramel and even butterscotch to the finish. really interesting stuff, but it kind of all comes on at once rather than unfolding and layering up gently, its a bomb to the palate, a lot to decipher simultaneously. i do like it, more and more as it warms too, but the proportions and timings are a little funny, almost makes it seem a bit amateur, but the idea is there and the complexity is too. i have not always been a fan of the funky stuff from bells, its never felt like their wheelhouse to me, and the tartness here makes this a little odd, but its cool to see them reaching in new directions. not totally sure what to make of this, especially if its only ever been brewed once and is quite old now. not sure the story on that...

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Photo of neenerzig
4.18/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Having this on-tap at the Tremont Taphouse the second day of the 10th annual Cleveland Beer Week at the Tremont Taphouse’s annual Bell’s Ruins Beer Week Tap takeover event. This beer draws a fairly cloudy/hazy medium copper color. Not much head even when first drawn and served. Has a thin to medium sized white ring surrounding the inside of the glass. Not any lacing at all to speak of. Aromas of some bready malts, brown sugar notes, and some musty barnyard funk notes. The taste is pretty much the same, with some bready caramel malt sweetness that gives way to brown sugar sweetness that’s followed by some sour, barnyard funk. O yes. Interesting flavor profile for this style I feel, but I like it quite a bit. Has a very crisp, yet smooth, slightly prickly, medium bodied mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. Has a clean, fairly dry finish.


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Photo of REVZEB
4.28/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had on tap. Reminiscent of Jolly Pumpkin's Oro de Calabaza. Taste is bursting with sweet fruits, especially plums, grapes, and cherries. Almost punch like in the flavor combo. Smell is mostly sour and oak notes with slight yeastiness. Mostly the star is the taste, just wonderful!

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Photo of StoutHunter
3.95/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Short Review. This a good Biere De Garde, it's very true to style and to me it has just the right amount of sourness for the style. I like it and I would for sure get it again. it would be nice if bells bottled this one.

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Photo of RockAZ
4.61/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Tap and Bottle Tucson pulled this keg out of their cellar, 3 years old plus, and was hellafine. Read the old reviews during the tasting(s), and all I can say is that it has mellowed well. The dry pepper aftertaste is still there, more sour fruit than the old reviews stated. This batch was rare then, impossibly rare now. Really enjoyed this, for posterity the average score needs to draw upwards.

Pepper, apple and maybe a tiny bit cherry notes in the taste. More like cherry in the nose, but the odd yeast notes mentioned in old reviews, in my opinion, are gone. Some said the malt was too present in the taste, (earthiness one described it which is what I got out of it), others had different opinions, but the farmyard aroma is still there but now very subtle compared to the dry pepper I got from it today. Sharp acidity balanced well with the dryness. Pepper/Sour, some might call it spiciness, but to me a delicious fight on my taste buds, this beer snapped! The reviewers that had this and dismissed its sweetness would now love it cause that's all gone now.

Enjoyed with an awesome wood fired pizza featuring prosciutto. This is a complex beer, for me the tart dry finish that held good carbonation all the way to the bottom of the glass(es) made this a very pleasurable beer. This was a rare treat in sours for me today, one of the best in a long line of these related styles.

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Photo of Sammy
3.8/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Understated spice, decently drinkable beer, on tap at Griffon two. Some sourness which was interesting, and surprising, but not giving BFM a run for the money.

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Photo of SportsandJorts
3.54/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: deep orange with a brownish hint. A finger or so of a tannish head that fades slowly and leaves a lacing. Pretty much opaque.

Smell: very strong pilsner malt. Belgian yeast and some fruitiness.

Taste: opens with strong pilsner malts. Fairly sweet. Belgian yeast and some fruitiness.
Some earthy hops too

Mouthfeel: medium body. A little dry.

Overall: probably the middle of the series. A decent biere de garde but nothing too great.

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Photo of wedge
3.56/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

@ Beer Study

Foggy autumnal orange color with nearly no head. Aromas of sweet caramel, yeast, apple, and some mild spicy and leafy notes. Flavor is more appealing and harmonious...biscuit malt sweetness, light spice, pale fruitiness, nuts, and some toasty bread in the aftertaste. Medium bodied and dryish. Pretty tasty overall.

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Photo of corby112
3.52/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Draft at The Cambridge in Philadelphia, PA.

Pours a dark golden amber/copper color with a half finger white head that quickly settles into a very thin ring.  Minimal spotty lacing left behind.

Slightly earthy aroma with peppery spice, grassy hops, faint farmhouse funk and sweet malt.  Some pepper and resinous hops along with a very subtle barnyard farmhouse character.  This is followed by sweet malt flavors of red fruits, caramel and toffee.  The nose is blander than expected and feels more like a biere de garde than a dark saison/farmhouse.

On the fuller end of medium bodied with peppery spice and an earthy presence that lingers over the floral notes, hop bitterness, light fruit and malt backbone into a slightly dry finish.  Subtle musty/funky farmhouse character along with pepper and clove.  Light malt notes of bread and biscuit followed by sweeter dark fruit notes, notably red apple and dark berries.  Complex, full bodied, well balanced and easy to drink.

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.85/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

tap blue dust. Pour is golden amber with a frothy off white head. Nose has a nice grain up front, lightly toasted bread with good malt depth. golden fruits bright behind, nice apricot and lemon notes. Taste has more grain, light spice to it, bread lingers a touch on the lemon and golden fruits and raisins. Body is light, airy, well carbonated, crisp and dry.

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Photo of Gatch
3.91/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Café.

A: amber brown in color with a thick white head. Good lace and retention.

S: light fruity malts and a tiny bit of funk.

T: plenty of bready fruity malt and sweet biscuity malts. Almost floral. Proper beer for the weather which is sunny and beautiful and warm while sitting in their gorgeous beer garden.

M: smooth and refreshing. A bit of funk to make this true to style.

O: great beer that I probably wouldn't have tried if I looked at the BA score first.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.4/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Similar to Le Batteur, this piano-inspired beer takes the bready and fruity flavors into a darker and spicier territory.

Pouring a deep amber, mohogany layered hue, the beer casts deep highlights of chestnut and dark gold through a mild haze. It's just off white head sheets the glass like creme to coffee. With smooth retention and light lace, this biere de garde looks unlike any of the style that I've seen yet.

Sweeter notes of caramel and bread crust rise first as the nose approaches the tulip. But a backnote of light pepper, toast, and nuts round the malt and yeast character into a bruin-ish nose.

Flavors ride a constent line with aromas: medium caramel is met with dry toast and bread crust taste. Lightly melanoidin-rich, the beer has a savory and nearly meatish taste. Pecans and peppercorn are lasting flavors as the beer fades into dry toastiness to finish.

Medium bodied to start, the caramel taste brings with it mild residual malt weight that slows down drinkability somewhat. Creamy rather than dry effervesence keeps the beer feeling richer and more velvety for an extended aftertaste of toast and pepper.

If I were trying this beer blindly, I would have pegged it for an American-brewed Belgian-style bruin/brune, and not of biere de garde. It's extra weight, creaminess, and simplified taste coupled with the darker taste keeps the beer living in obscurity.

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Photo of dirtylou
3.5/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

on-tap, Maduro - Madison

from notes

appearance: served in a shaker pint, dark copper body, off-white head, decent lace

smell: autumnal, bready, malty, moderate sweetness

taste: There were a handful of biere de gardes floating around the bells taplist that night - none very impressive unfortunately. Earthy and dry, toasted malt, grainy sweetness. Not sure what Bells is really going for with this line, but its kind of a bore.

mouthfeel: medium, sweet, dry and earthy

overall: ok

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Photo of TheBear11D
3.41/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Bell's August 9th

Pours a deep tangerine orange with a soft white foamy head that leaves moderate lacing.

Has a mild nose. Fresh bread and a light malt that cannot be distinguished.

Has a pretty decent balance with nothing that is overpowering and takes over the beer. Dark chocolate is present with bread as well.

Medium body with light carbonation.

Overall this beer is decent but not wonderful.

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Photo of
3.73/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Slow's in Detroit.

Appearance - hazy orange-copper with a small but persistent cap of white head. Leaves decent lacing.

Smell - subtly sweet malt, a bit of earth, and just a touch of soft tartness.

Taste - Nothing overly complex, but very tasty. A little on the sweet side, with malt upfront followed by a soft minerally tartness and a dry finish.

Overall this is a simple, but pleasing beer.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.38/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First had: on tap at City Tap House, Philly, PA

A: Golden, mostly clear, nice white head with some lacing.

S: Light malts, citrusy hops, a bit floral.

T: Light, fruity, floral and grassy.

M: Light-medium body, crisp.

D: Nice and drinkable, complex and light.

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Photo of jampics2
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Night Town during Cleveland Beer Week. The entire Bell's Jazz Series was featured for the first time ever in Ohio.

Le Pianiste is right in the middle of the series in terms of color. The beer is a cloudy, dirty copper color with hints of amber, all capped off with an off-white head that sticks around much better than its blond brother. Some decent lace is produced. This beer won't make anyone run out and start a beer blog, but it's really appealing and makes me want to come closer and get a nose-full.

The smell is really sweet. There's a baked bread crust quality and a touch of honey and a slight toasted presence. The sugars from the malt somehow really jump out of the glass, and there's little in the way of yeast or hops to balance the maltiness. The yeast does add an earthy touch and even a slight tartness with mild esters coming to the forefront. A touch of sweet dark fruit (candied raisins) closes out a rather pleasant but uncomplicated bouquet.

The taste is also very, very sweet. A traditional Bière de Garde should be lightly sweet and a touch toasty, but I wonder if this is a bit under-attenuated as it really is lip-smacking with its sugary notes. Some slight biscuit flavors and mild toast make the malt a touch more complicated than a bowl of Sugar Smacks, but the yeast has done very little to break up the almost cloying taste. Some noble hops are noted, adding just a touch of earth and bitterness to the flavor. The yeast gives slight notes of dark fruit and perhaps even some earthy nuttiness. A touch of honey rounds out a pleasant taste and leaves me pleased but wondering if my blood sugar has spiked.

The mouthfeel is medium-bodied with some stickiness. The low to medium carbonation makes this creamy and enjoyable, adding some substance to the mix and avoiding some coating sensations. There is, surprise, some lingering sweetness in the finish - almost a candy-like sacchariferous quality. The beer is drinkable and would probably go really well with dessert. But it really stands out in the series as having the least amount of traditional flavors. If there was some more noble hop presence, or even some dank basement notes, this would be on the right track. As it is, this is not a beer I'll be revisiting again unless I have some bitter Belgian chocolate on hand. Skip the piano and head to the double bass.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.8/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Eccentric Cafe - August 2010. Reviewed from notes.

Pours an orange copper color with an off white head and a decent amount of lacing. Nose brings some caramel malt, a bit of earthiness, and some minor floral characteristics. Taste is about the same, with the caramel taking on some dry undertones and mixing well with the fresh, earthy characteristics of the beer. Light body with good carbonation, this was one of the first few biere de gardes that I've actually enjoyed and detected multiple flavors from, which I hope is more a reflection on my failure to find good ones as opposed to there not being any available in the States.

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Photo of kbutler1
3.58/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Draft at Autumn Brew Review. Pours a medium orange clear color with a slight white head. Very biscuity and malty aroma in the nose. Medium mouthfeel. Sweet and matly upfront with the biscuity flavors. A beer that reminds me of the fall. Decent but probably not something I would drink all the time.

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Photo of mothman
2.9/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Jazz Series #2

Pours an off white head. Color is a hazed bright golden orange.

Aroma: Bready malts with some orange peel. Fairly malty with a light touch of earthy hops. Fairly muted nose. Has an off flavor I can't pick up.

Taste: Very bready and biscuity. Orange peel, coriander, and spice here. Really not a whole lot going on here.

Mouthfeel: Crisp and creamy. Medium bodied. Kind of chewy. Dry as well. Medium carbonation.

Overall, I just wasn't too impressed with this one. Just not much going on here. Still happy to have tried it. I didn't want too much of this beer.

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Photo of bsp77
4.07/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Number two (of three) in the French Jazz series - The Amber

Serving glass: Poured from tap into small goblet.

Appearance: Cloudy orange with very thin head.

Smell: Not much at first (slightly malty and sweet) but opens up as it warms with a focus on caramel and a nice earthiness.

Taste: Just seems to be light caramel malts at first taste, but then becomes very nutty, fruity, and earthy. This one really improves as it rests in the glass.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, smooth, somewhat full body.

Drinkability: This seems to be the more traditional Biere de Garde of the three, and I think it is the best. Great sipping beer, and at 5.8%, you can just keep sipping.

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Photo of bruachan
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


hazy (from wheat, i assume) and featuring a nice orange color. good froth too. heady

the aroma is quite yeasty: spicy and sweet and fruity. floral hops

wheaty flavor with restrained sweetness. no fruit, really but as yeasty tasting as it is smelling. a little caramel and honey, surprisingly. the hop element is considerable: a nicely balanced bitterness and good noble flavor

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Photo of tpd975
4.3/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Part of the "Jazz" series. The Pianist French Amber Biere de Garde.

A: Pours a nice amber hue with a nice tan head. Good retention and some lacing.

S: Aromas of nice sweet caramel malt, yeast, and a touch of citrus.

T: I enjoy this one more than the blond. Wish I had a chance to see the brune come on. Lots of rich sweet caramel malt. Very light yeasty undertones. Mild sweet fruits, with hints of citrus and bread dough.

M: Medium in body, smooth, creamy, damn good.

D: Awesome. I really liked this beer. Was a real pleasant surprise to see it on the menu.

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Le Pianiste from Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 100 ratings