Tillamook, Oregon, is a sleepy, remote, and often damp coastal town 74 miles west of Portland. It smells of sea air and dairy farms. It’s also home to founder and head brewer Trevor Rogers’ de Garde Brewing, whose singular focus is spontaneously fermented, barrel-aged beers. The brewery, found near the Tillamook Air Museum’s massive blimp hangar, barely distributes, meaning fans must either track down bottles on the Internet or visit in person. Once you’re there, the handful of wild ales and guest rarities on tap and limited-release bottles available to go don’t disappoint. Berliner weisses, Belgian ales, porters, and more are left to naturally ferment in an open-air cool ship, letting wild yeast descend from the Oregon Coast air. Local fruit and a variety of cherry, oak and gin barrels add bold notes and tart overtones. Peaks and Pints grabbed five de Garde beauties for today’s to-go beer flight that we call Peaks and Pints Pilot Program: de Garde Brewing Flight.
de Garde Marion BuVeaux
De Garde’s Marion BuVeau is adorable. The BuVeaux base, the little sister to their “The” beers, is treated to a secondary fermentation in oak with whole Oregon grown marionberries, after its original and extended slumber in oak barrels. Expect fruit in abundance with some delicate funk peeking out. Mostly though, it’s a delightful, effervescent, and fruit forward wild ale.
Tillamook, Ore., is a sleepy, remote, and often damp coastal town 74 miles west of Portland. It smells of sea air and dairy farms. It’s also home to founder and head brewer Trevor Rogers’ de Garde Brewing, whose singular focus is spontaneously fermented, barrel-aged beers. The brewery, found near the Tillamook Air Museum’s massive blimp hangar, lets their beer naturally ferment in an open-air cool ship, letting wild yeast descend from the Oregon Coast air. de Garde’s The Frais is a spontaneous wild ale aged in oak barrels blended from two years then dry hopped with fresh Amarillo hops.
Ivy is a wild ale made with 100 percent Oregon grown pale malted barley. In the kettle, it sees both 3- to 4-year-aged whole leaf Oregon hops, as well as Oregon pellet hops from the most recent harvest. It is the simplest of de Garde’s recipes, yet one of the most complex in expression. One malt, one hop, Tillamook water, and time. Ivy spends two years in neutral wine puncheons. Puncheons are more suitable for wines that are fruit driven. These wines usually do not require a high oak extraction but rather elegance, finesse, balance, and a soft integration of toasting and oak tannins into the wine. De Garde selects from these barrels a blend that is funky, but not too funky; tart, but not too sour; complex, but still hedonistic. Altogether, Ivy is well balanced, flavorful, and complex — dryer, airy, crisp for style, and slightly vinous.
Vin Lee is a spontaneous red ale with Syrah grapes aged in oak barrels for four years for a caramel, grape, funk, lemon, oak, and tannins nose, followed by wine grapes up front with some pleasant bitter barrel, lemon, oak, tannins, and plum with a lingering tartness.
de Garde Spruce Desay
De Garde’s Spruce Desay is a sour and fruity farmhouse inspired beer fermented and aged in oak wine barrels blended with 2-year-old earthy and rustic farmhouse beer barrels. It’s conditioned on Oregon coast foraged spruce tips after blending for mildly tart, oak-y stone fruit kombucha amplified flavor with piney evergreen notes.