I am ashamed to admit this, but I bought French. I don't even buy imports too often, much less French. It was a moment of weakness, and I apologize. That said, I now have to apologize further for what you are about to read. Please forgive me.
Brasserie De Saint-Sylvestrie 22oz brown bottle poured into large Brandy snifter
A - A plain label; just the title and silhouette of a French lad with a jaunty cap, no brew date. A carbonated pour the orange-red of Fall leaves. A good one inch head with generous lacing and plenty of dancing little bubbles. Nice retention; hangs around just long enough to bring forth the aroma.
S - Lots of fruit, unripe fruit. A crisp aroma of strawberries, apples, raspberries. Faint traces of hops and spice, with a strong malt heart. A bit of yeast and funk creep in, but don't take center stage. A bright, refreshing smell for a high gravity brew.
T - This is tart. Fresh, crisp, clean. Lots of fruitiness that has yet to reach full sweet potential. Doesn't quite get the pucker going, but you can just about imagine it. The malt forward base is what saves it. It brings balance, and character, and keeps that tartness at bay. Hops are minimal here, playing only a minor role. There are pears and apples, cherries and berries, with just a hint of vinegar towards the finish. Again, very refreshing, and very drinkable for 8.5%.
M - Very smooth on the palate with spirited carbonation, and although it isn't heavy, it is very full due to all the flavors at play.
O - I almost hate to say it, but I quite enjoyed this. The overall balance was very nice, with full flavor playing against light feel, and malt backbone against lightly sour fruit. Biere de Garde isn't a choice I typically seek out, but I do enjoy one when opportunity presents itself, i.e. nothing more interesting available. The price tag wasn't bad either, so I would likely buy this again if I were to find it, and my basket wasn't full already. Shoot, I guess they owe us something after pulling their butts out of the fire, and I for one will take this over wine or art...but bring me a sharp cheese to match this garcon!