So literature says they’re essentially the same and they seem always to be compared. The only difference being country of origin. I’m looking for a Bier de garde suggestion though because I haven’t found a good one. Saison has been my favorite brew since before I knew much about beer. I discovered saison du pont in college and I still don’t think anyone does it better. I’d say it’s my favorite all time beer but I can only pick favorites by category. Anyway saison is everything I like about Belgian beer: spicy, complex, etc. but without the higher gravity and accompanying malty sweetness of dubbels tripels and quads. The perfect dry Belgian for when you want immense flavor tHat is also refreshing and you aren’t in the mood for a hop bomb. All the Bier de garde I’ve e tried replaced the complex flavor with a tart dry blandness. Even a bit sour. Is the French version really that different or do I just need to find the right one. I’d love a suggestion to wow me and change my opinion…
Have you read Markowski’s “Farmhouse Ales” book? It focuses on these two specific styles. They really are quite different, too - I’d wager that the ones you’ve tried haven’t been great examples of the style. While they both are farmhouse ales, bière de garde typically focuses on the malt character, with subdued yeast and just a hint of hops. I’d suggest checking out the book… I think it’s a pretty misunderstood style due to the difficulty in finding them over here, and it’ll give you a good baseline, and some basic guidelines on how to brew one.
Thanks for the suggestion I’ll definitely check that book out. Do you have a favorite bier de garde? I can only recall Acadie (Louisiana) and Dogfishhead’s lavender Bier de garde. Didn’t care for either.
Honestly the only American farmhouse I’ve been wowed by was Oxbow brewing’s farmhouse pale ale (Maine)
If you can find anything from brasserie castelain in a specialty store, their beers are phenomenal. I’ve had the opportunity to try their grand cru a couple times - drinks almost like a port. I haven’t had anything close from a domestic brewery.
I’ve only had a few of each style, but they seem very different to me. I’ve hated most Saisons I’ve tried because I can’t get past the yeast. Bier de Garde is just a lovely malty drop, to me. I’ve never really considered the two anything alike, although I’ve not had many.