After nearly a year and a half, de Garde Brewing is finally beginning to distribute bottles to Bend on a regular basis. If this doesn't mean anything to you, prepare to be soured on their beer...in a deliciously good way.
Run by the husband-and-wife team of Trevor Rogers and Linsey Hamacher, de Garde launched last year in Tillamook with the intention of becoming an all-wild fermentation brewery. Like The Ale Apothecary locally and several of the Belgian old guard, they rely on an open-air process, allowing the wild yeast and microorganisms teeming in the coastal Oregon air to infect the wort. The resulting beer gains added acidity and takes in characteristics from the local atmosphere, the brewery building, and the barrels it's aged in—terroir for beer, to use a wine-y term.
Despite this being the couple's first pro brewing gig (Rogers helped run Pelican Pub & Brewery previously), nearly everything de Garde's released has hit it out of the park, gaining wild popularity in Portland and causing lines to form out the door of their tiny Tillamook taproom whenever new bottles are released. But don't worry about waiting over there—two different varieties are now available locally in quantity. The Bu Weisse is de Garde's flagship of sorts, a very light (only 2.1% alcohol) Berliner weisse with a zesty sour flavor that'll be perfect for crushing in the summertime. Petit Desay, meanwhile, is a more saison-like ale, one aged in gin barrels that boasts a heavy tartness which lingers in your mouth long after you swallow it down.
Both can be found now at the usual good-beer haunts like Crow's Feet Commons and Newport Avenue Market—and cheap, too, only $5 or so per bomber. Thirsty for more? Then definitely trip over to Tillamook, where a variety of fruit-flavored Berliner weisses and heavy barrel-aged dark beers is always available.