Last year I recall reading a piece in The Celebrator all about French farmhouse ales, and in particular a rundown of the best bier de gardes that were being imported into America. I made a note to try some of these, and sadly I’ve barely even made a dent. One on my list off the top of my head is JENLAIN BLONDE; I’ve seen it a few times and it’s always really friggin’ expensive. Recently I espied a $6.99 bottle of CASTELAIN BLONDE BIER DE GARDE, and since that was the other one on my list that I could pull from memory, I reckoned somehow that 7 bucks sounded about right for an exotic, highly-touted French country ale loved by beer dorks worldwide. Trouble was, it just didn’t have that je ne sais quoi for me, and I guess that’s a little embarrassing considering my enthusiasm for American knock-offs like LOST ABBEY GIFT OF THE MAGI or RUSSIAN RIVER PERDITION.
It is what it is, right? CASTELAIN BLONDE BIER DE GARDE is a grassy, lager-reminiscent yellow/pale ale, nice and fresh for sure, and with some tart, mild funkiness. It feels pretty light, almost like a white wine. That said, I found it off-putting – its “earthiness” and “grassiness” didn’t necessarily translate into something particularly enjoyable; in fact even this small bottle felt like something I needed to finish for the sake of this blog than for its own sake. Drinking alcohol in order to write about it. Something tell me Carry Nation would not be proud. 5/10.