Friday, May 30, 2008
Late review today. It's Friday, my boss is in another State...and I have had client meetings all morning. Stupid clients.
Anyway, I grabbed a bottle of Jolly Pumpkin's Biere De Mars. I'm really bummed that Beer Advocate redid their graphics so I can't download the bottle pics any more because this one is awesome. It's a big magnum, bottle with a picture of an angry God of War blowing a holy hell of a storm. Beautiful. I'd get a tattoo of it.
This is a Biere De Garde style, or more directly translated, a beer that you store. It's another one of those unique French-style beers farmers would brew and store to drink with dinners after a hard days work. It's got its differences from the Franch Farmhouse Ales (saison), which is a much more subtle style than a biere de garde, which is a heavier hitter a little closer, to me, to a gueuze or lambic whereby the saison is closer to a standard Belgian ale.
Love 'em both.
Anyway...Biere De Mars, aged in oak barrels like every other beer at Jolly Pumpkin.
The beer poured a deep, cloudy ruby-red-and-amber color with a thin but substantial finger-sized fluffy head. It had some nice brown highlights and even a sort of light-diffusing effect that I really liked (maybe it was my glass...).
The aroma is really hard to describe, so here it goes: candied sour cherries, brown sugar and a bouquet of flowers strained through a wool blanket. Sounds unappetizing? I assure you, it's actually not. The blankety aroma is actually an earthy pungency that underlies all of the other sweet/sour/floral aspects. It makes for an intriguing beer, but definitely not one for a beginner.
The flavors you get right off the bat are not "flavors" per se but senses. Tartness and sourness. This big cherry flavor is nice and sweet, but it sibsides to a true sourness. Not like the Sour Patch Kids sour that's simply tart, but a real sourness. The sour taste (Brettannomyces bacteria) lingers throughout the beer, but there wasn't quite enough of a malt backbone to substantiate it. It was heavy on the sour and light on the balance.
It was very nicely carbonated and left a smooth feeling on the palate despite the sour bite.
Again, this beer is not for someone you're trying to introduce to big beers. This one is even big for big beer drinkers. I really honestly regret not having cellared this beer. If I was thinking well, I'd have cellared this beer for at least 6 months if not longer to get some of these huge flavors to mellow and some of the all-but-hidden caramel character to come out a bit more. Live and learn; I went back to Oades Big 10 to find another bottle to cellar, and they had run out temporarily. I just haven't made it back yet to see if they have any more.