Belgian and French Ales

Biere De Garde

Biere De Garde is a style of beer that originated in Northern France, the name translates to “Beer for Keeping” or “Beer that is lagered” and is named so because of the way it is brewed, whereby it is made in the cooler months to be stored until it was needed to quench a thirst when it got warmer. Brewing during the winter was also more beneficial than in the summer as beer brewed at warmer temperatures often resulted in unpredictable quality especially with wild yeast activity being more likely to spoil the beer.

Biere De Garde is an old style of beer that you would call a Farmhouse beer, relating to where it was brewed. It was not necessarily made by commercial breweries and remained a farmhouse industry and the industrialisation of brewing almost made the style extinct. It has luckily however become more popular in recent years.

Biere De Garde is a malt accentuated beer and can vary in colour from blonde to amber to brown, most commonly there should be light body and not too much hop bitterness and next to no hop flavour.

IBUs: 18 – 28
SRM: 6 – 19
OG: 1.060 – 1.080
FG: 1.008 – 1.016
ABV: 6 – 8.5%


Saison is another historical Farmhouse beer or one where the prime intention is to provide the farm workers in Wallonia, Belgium with a quenching ale at the end of the day. Saison was originally a seasonal beer brewed in the cooler months for storage until the warmer months.

Saisons are most often a bronze colour but can range from straw to deep amber, some darker versions are rarer. A typical ABV is in the range of 6.5% but also as low as 5% and up to 9.5%. Often fruitiness and spiciness dominate and Saison is a great example of a beer that uses spices without throwing balance out of the window. Hop bitterness can be moderate to high and hop aroma is usually low to moderate. Yeast is important in brewing a Saison and the beer strain attenuates highly giving a dry finish.

IBUs: 20 – 35
SRM: 5 – 14
OG: 1.048 – 1.065
FG: 1.002 – 1.012
ABV: 5 – 7%


The term Witbier simply mean “White Beer” and the appearance has a certain degree of milky whiteness to it. Most examples are typically somewhere between very pale straw to gold with an opaque cloudiness that gives it a white appearance. Witbier is a 400 year old style of beer descending from gruit ales which use a blend of herbs or spices instead of hops. Today hops are present and still some of the herbs and spices remain.

Witbier is a style that shows the use of spices or herbs in a beer doesn’t have to overpower the malt and hops. Spices like coriander and Orange peel are common as well as cinnamon, grains of paradise and cumin. Hop bitterness is low and aroma may be spicy or earthy and typically noble hop varieties. 50% unmalted wheat is used in most typical examples with pale malt making up the rest, this provides a smooth, silky mouthfeel.

IBUs: 10 – 20
SRM: 2 – 4
OG: 1.044 – 1.052
FG: 1.008 – 1.012
ABV: 4.5 – 5.5%