Sitting here staring out at the sun we thought we would revisit a beer that we enjoyed many times but for some reason never published. Looking at the calendar its hard to believe for us that it’s already August and yet it was only a few months ago that we enjoyed a French-style Ale typically found during March.
With it’s origins in France the Bier de Mars is a celebratory beer during the Spring season, usually released towards the end of March. Produced in limited quantities from locally sourced spring-barley, this beer often arrives in March / April but it is not restricted to one month.
Bier de Mars’ Origin
This seasonal beer was born in Arras in 1394 , for reasons related to the flowering cycle of products used to make. These constraints have disappeared with the progress of agriculture , the tradition has been lost. She was given up to date in the late 1980's for commercial reasons. However, it continuously over the centuries that beer is available in Swiss Romande under the name of Palm beer as coinciding with the end of Lent .
In Belgium, some breweries have followed suit. Examples include Achouffe that produces a beer for each of the four seasons, and Belle-Vue , which each year sells a Kriek Primeur , available in March and April
It is generally a beer fermented amber , low alcohol (4.5 to 5.5 °), very different from the Märzen German because less hoppy (less bitter), less alcoholic, although it is very colorful (often by the addition of caramel or coloring plant extracts), and slightly spicy. These criteria were defined by the Brewers Association of France who seems to hold the name "March beer". Some brewers prefer the term "spring beer", free to use and which does not restrict sales to a single month this year.–source, Wikipedia.com
For the first time in three years we are pleased to offer one of our favorite harbingers of spring, Biere de Mars.
With earthy tones of ripe mango and lemon verbena, this bottle-conditioned ale reflects the hearty character of the southern Belgian and northern French countrysides. Brewed with barley, oats and wheat malt, Biere de Mars' celestial orange hue inspired the planetary play on words.
Brettanomyces, a wild yeast strain, added for bottle-conditioning creates a refreshingly sour flash across the palate. Lemon peel coupled with the lemon verbena imparts fruitlike character and a citrusy finish.
Just the facts Ma'am...
- ABV -
- IBU -
- Calories -
- Hops -
Target, Willamette, Cascade
- Malts -
Pale, C-80, Aromatic, Oats, Wheat, Carapils
- OG -
- TG -
- Fruits/Spice -
Lemon Peel, Lemon Verbena
Escaping from the bottle New Belgium’s Lips of Faith Bier de Mars rests in the glass with a copper appearance while producing a definite clarity. With about 12 ounces resting in our Belgian tulip we can see a strong initial, off-white, foamy, head; that recedes leaving behind minor lacing inside the glass, after each sip.
Swirling the glass around and placing our nose underneath the glass is rewarded with bits of citrus (orange), clove, along with some ‘breadiness’ along with a noticeable brett aroma (almost lemony).
Further investigation whiles taking our first sip confirms the initial observation of clove, bread, citrus, as well as some minor bits of ginger. Overall this beer finishes with a medium weight to it and there isn’t much stickiness.
Should Try. Whether you are slaving away in the yard, sitting with a good book, or entertaining guests during a barbecue session; Bier de Mars is a great alternative to those red wines that are commonly sought after at the dinner table. If you are looking for some grilling suggestions we might start with some Jerk Pork (suggested by the brewery), Smoked Trout, or even “… a soft, rich, buttery and beefy cheese with nuances of fruit and nuts”.
Need more ideas? Visit New Belgium’s Bier de Mars page for additional ideas (see above).
Thoughts by your Colleagues
About the photos’ author
Paul “Fruit Trees” Orchard, is an amateur craft beer enthusiast and amateur photographer. Throughout the many years in craft beer he is always carrying a camera (smartphone, digital, traditional) and is invites you to see that beer can also be exciting even if you can’t drink the photo.
In accordance with new FTC regulations regarding bloggers and endorsements, the aforementioned company has provided me a free sample that was used for research prior to writing this review.