If you are like the average person, you might grow a little confused with the 14 different De Garde beers released every month, each with moderately different labels. Some are Keepers only others are Trappers only, some are sold inside of Trapper Keepers reserved only for Founders members. It gets confusing. Other times you will seek out a beer only to find “OH YOU JUST GOT THE REGULAR CHERIMOYA BU? No that one sucks the currant gin Imperial Cherimoya Bu is THE SHIT.” Well rest assured, this beer is the best beer that De Garde has brewed to date and it enters into the realm of God Tier AWAs so forcefully that I don’t see how Trevor and them boys can outdo themselves after this masterpiece. Let’s review this 180 (?) bottle jammer in today’s review.
De Garde, Tillamook Cheeseland, OR
7% American Wild Ale with Tempranillo Grapes
As usual, let’s let the FIVER employee do his commercial copy for the beer:
“One of the oldest barrels from our stock, a lambic influenced sour ale.
We added a hefty harvest of whole cluster Southern Oregon grown Tempranillo grapes from a favorite vineyard. Big rustic and spicy fruit aromas with a bracing acidity, and earthy backdrop.
We expect this beer to evolve positively in the bottle over a long period, but the brightness and fruit character is very enjoyable now!”
A: This looks quite a bit like Grrzz Druiven at the outset and I kinda rolled my eyes with an “OH YOU” thinking I knew what was about to go down. The carb crackled away with light pinkish marroon foam that subsided quickly. There was minimal sheeting and it just drops into this ruby purplish amber three point stance and starts poppin for dollars.
S: This is where shit starts to get real, the dry tannic grape aspect wafts like a massive pinot noir and raspberries. This is certainly dry to the core but it also has a sort of madeline bready sweetness to the nose with a touch of vanilla, on the tip of your nose like an ultra cute first date where you schedule a baking activity because both of you are socially awkward and need a crutch to facilitate interaction before you decide if you want to fuck. WAIT A SECOND. There is a bit of ultra lactic Cascadey shit going on here like Cascade strawberry, but I guess I will give it a pass depending on how it tastes.
T: PASS OBTAINED. This delivers the most nuance of any De Garde offering to date and never is hamfisted in its pucker, or too brash in its acidity. In a staggering move, this De Garde impresses by sheer balance and moderation. If your face was melted by the Ambrees and you need speech therapy, this will be your Esuna. The grapes are present like a blend of Alexander the Grape and Strawberry Short Cook otter pops, you get a smuckers strawberry jamminess, acidity that serves to compliment instead of dominate, and a lingering tannic closer that tells your stepdad that he can sleep on the couch tonight. It is a beautiful moment.
M: I was bracing myself at each swallow for this to pull off the mask and turn into some punitive Upland dominatrix just stepping on my cubes, making me beg for less acidity because I BEEN A BAD BLOGGER O FUK YA. But that thankfully never happens. It provides this dry, yet jammy execution like a well done Rose, bursting with fruit and then dropping off the moisture cliff like when your Sig Ep buddy TRAVIS tries to guess women’s bra sizes at the club.
D: This is exceptional through and through. It stands head and shoulders above the whole De Garde canon, and approaches that near impossible rank of Southampton Black Raspberry Lambic, Cable Car Kriek, Pipeworks Blue Lady and all the other usual suspects you see listed as flawless iterations of the AWA genre, if maybe a touch below. If for some reason you can’t land this I would suggest uhhh, taking Omniscience and Proselytism, mixing it with Cerveza Tempranillo and a splash of Atrial Rubicite. Landing all three of those would probably take less than this elusive minx. BUT WHY GILD THE LILY AMIRITE?