Brewery: Yards Brewing Company
Style: Bière de Garde
Last weekend I visited Yards Brewing Company in Philadelphia, PA. I also brought back with me a growler of Hugo Bière de Garde. I’ll be going back for a refill.
I first tried Hugo after I finished my tour of Yards (stay tuned for a post on that soon) in their tasting room with a few friends. The Hugo is only available on draft in the Yards tasting room and was brewed as a small batch, a limited time offering of theirs but I really hope they decide to brew more.
This bière de garde style is a beer brewed traditionally for farmers working in Flanders. Flanders is the Northern region of Belgium. It is amber in color and packed with flavor in my opinion. French armis hops and honey were used to brew it along with fruit esters.
When I first sipped it I immediately tasted the spice from the hops it had to it, not overwhelming and well balanced with the fruitiness, which gives it a sweet finish after the spice. It is smooth.
Once the initial impact of flavor passes its smooth texture and tapering out of with sweetness left me longing for another sip. You can almost feel the warm spice flavor fill your mouth as all of the flavors sink into your taste buds. My mouth filled with the complex combinations of hops, spice, and fruit aroma. It was drinkable and crisp like a summer beer but at the same time held qualities of a rich and warm winter beer.
This made it more easily drinkable for me, making it easy to have a few glasses of Hugo in one sitting. Whereas for example Mad Elf, a flavorful winter beer, is just a little bolder, it is not as crisp tasting. I could only have about one or two of those in one sitting without feeling overwhelmed in spice. Filled with the aroma, but not the liquid like some even more heavily spiced beers.
When on the tour at Yards our guide made it known that they believed in a balanced beer. If it were going to be bold, that boldness would be balanced. This idea of balance in beers is something that Yards keeps in mind for all their brews.
After having both the Revolutionary Flight and the Signature Flight and trying everything in between, the Hugo really had me wanting more. Hence the growler. Don’t get me wrong, the Love Stout and Poor Richard’s Tavern Spruce were also among my favorites and I will be working to get my hands on some more of them soon.
It is higher in alcohol content at 9.3 ABV. To me it was quickly a beer that felt familiar, that had reminded me of others I’ve tried but I couldn’t quite place my finger on which. It was warm in color and in flavors and the combination had me wondering what it reminded me of. I’m glad I was able to bring some home and continue to enjoy this well-balanced beer leisurely, until I have to go back and refill the growler. Until next time, Yards.
Editor’s Note: I’m trying out a new system of beer suggestions. For some of my more enjoyed drinks in the the “What I’m Drinking” posts look out for suggestions similar to the beer I tried. The bolder suggestion is another beer that has bolder more robust flavors. The refined suggestion is a similar beer that has more precise flavors. Again, these suggestions will only be for the beers that I find have similarities with others. I base these comparisons off of my own tasting experiences. If you ever have any suggestions on another bolder or refined beer to include for any “What I’m Drinking” post feel free to comment.
If you’re looking for: