Brasserie de Blaugies - Bier Darbyste

Brasserie de Blaugies - Bier Darbyste

Beer Club featured in Rare Beer Club


Farmhouse Ale Brewed with Fig Juice



Bottle size:


Alcohol by Volume:


Brasserie de Blaugies - Bier Darbyste

  • ABV:

  • Bottle Size:

  • Serving Temperature:

    45–50° F
  • Suggested Glassware:

    Tulip, Pint Glass

In his book, Beer Companion, Michael Jackson commented on the budding interest in the Belgian style of wheat beers in the U.S. and elsewhere, and wrote that “perhaps an acute traditionalist will bring back the use of figs as a fermentable material.” This one’s for you, Beer Hunter. Bier Darbyste is named after John Nelson Darby, preacher of temperance and father of Dispensationalism. His parishioners were said to be oddly moved by a ‘soft drink’ they insisted was just fig juice. A variant of the Belgian “Wit” or “Blanche” style, but a little drier and considerably more flavorful, Darbyste is a saison made with wheat and fermented with fig juice. It hits the glass cloudy and medium amber in color, with a permanently present ecru head. On the nose, expect fruits with lots of tartness and funkiness. Not surprisingly, the aroma smacks of figs, with notes of raisin, pear and red grapes rounding things out. Some brown sugar on the nose as well. On the palate, things get quite interesting. According to Michael Jackson, himself a fan of this beer, “the figs are not evident in the flavor, which is light, lemony and dry.” Clean, fresh fruits blossom and grow as it warms, offering up sweetness atop a backdrop of relatively tart, unripe fruit. Expect a bit of a surge from your salivary glands with this one; it really is like you’re biting into some under-ripened stone fruits. A brettanomyces-style funkiness shows up pretty early and hangs on, with a moderate acidity working in the finish to balance the sweeter, juicy fruit notes. Giving it a good swirl in the glass after it acclimates to the room a bit conjures up some herbal, earthy hop aromatics—very nice. What we like most about this beer are two things: it’s got a big, chewy, beery middle—so often fruit beers drift from tasting like beer—and it’s ripe with flavor yet stays at a manageable alcohol content, making it pretty easy to polish off a bottle. Fruity, funky, flavorful and sessionable; can’t beat a combo like that.

The Brasserie de Blaugies Bier Darbyste can be additionally aged for up to one year, but is drinking very well now. It is delicious when served with ultra soft cheeses like triple-cream Explorateur, produced in the Ile de France region of northern France, or Rubens, a semi-soft cow’s milk cheese named after the famous Flemish painter. We also recommend it be paired with fig jam and crostini on a charcuterie platter.

Some of the world’s best beer is brewed in unconventional places, like a kitchen washtub (that's basically where Hoegaarden got its start), and is made by some unlikely characters. You may have a friend who makes their own beer at home. Perhaps you yourself are a homebrewer. Maybe that beer is good enough to be sold (don’t do it—it’s illegal to sell homebrew in the states!) Well thankfully, the homebrew created at Brasserie de Blaugies, brewed in a two-car garage by a pair of schoolteachers, can legally be sold, although there ain’t that much of it to go around.

Marie-Noëlle Pourtois and husband Pierre-Alex Carlier live in the small village of Blaugies (near Dour, Belgium), just a few clicks from the French border. Together, they have come up with a formula for creating world-class specialty beers, with a distinct and unique flare all their own, right in their small farmhouse. Marie-Noëlle does the brewing, boiling up a mere 900 hectoliters per year (roughly 1,500 kegs worth of beer—very small for a "commercial" brewery.) When the grains used in the brewing process are spent, Marie-Noëlle backs the family tractor up to the garage door, shovels the grains into the back, and takes it right out to the livestock on the family farm. Pierre-Alex does the cooking in their attached farmhouse tavern. The two have been at it since 1987, and have garnered local and international praise for their inventive take on traditional farmhouse-style Belgian beers. As such, it's not surprising that the Blaugies beers are discussed at some length in famous beer writer Michael Jackson's classic: The Great Beers of Belgium.

The Carlier/Pourtois family enjoys good food and beer, and consumes a lot of its own product for cooking and drinking. They're also just about the nicest folks you're likely to meet. Their beers have a distinctive character we consider to be a bit rougher and grainier than other, nearby commercial examples (like Saison DuPont) and this translates to a flavor profile that gives the impression that the brewer put the beer in the bottle just a short while before you popped the cork; fresh, family-brewed beer—this is artisanal brewing at its very best.

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