March Beer
March Beer

March beer, or Bière de Mars, is the first brew of the year, made from the fresh crop of malts and hops. It is a mellow, fruity beer with a full flavor - floral aromas (from the Strisselspalt hops), fruit (bananas, ripe fruit) and subtle notes of roasted and caramelized malt. The beer has an elegant well-balanced bitterness.

Every year in March when nature is reawakening, March beer arrives to tickle the palate and announce the coming of spring. 

Its head is light as a breeze, the color warm as the first rays of sunshine. It's a golden opportunity and the initiated know that the time has come: March marks the arrival of one of the best beers of the year. Fresh and sparkling like the first thaw, a symbol of nature on the verge of bursting forth. One of the highpoints of the traditional brewing calendar, March beer was originally the first beer of the year. 

"Out of season," you can replace the March beer called for in these recipes from the Master Brewers of France with a light pale beer, such as lager.

Beer lightens, flavors, enhances... it is as diverse and varied as the dishes it accompanies. 

Sparkling, golden, light... March beer, a springtime rendez-vous, returns each year to delight our taste buds, thanks to the skill of master brewers. This tradition, which dates back more than 600 years, is the result of a prized and delicate alchemy that has been painstakingly learned: the culimination of the brewers' technical know-how, the skill of experts who, over the course of making March beer, naturally impart their own personal touch to this product. 

Spring beer first made its appearance some 600 years ago, in the Northern French town of Arras. Emerging from the winter chill, the master brewers prepared a fresh, light beer. Made from malt from the last barley harvest, this golden beer was traditionally placed in vats around October and stored in the naturally cold winter temperatures to reach maturity in the springtime after three months cellaring. Thus it became known as "spring beer." It was the focus of great celebrations, as the barrels of beer arrived in a grand procession at the tavern doors, specially decorated for the occasion with juniper wreathes above the lintels.

Today, the brewers maintain a perfect temperature in the cellars throughout the year (the magic of electricity and the modern age!), but they have preserved the age-old traditions surrounding the rhythm of the seasons, producing this fresh golden beer each year in limited quantities to mark the return of the fine weather.

It's the skill of the brewers and the proportioning of the ingredients that gives each beer its distinctive qualities. March beer is no exception. While it is traditionally gold in color, each brewer gives it a particular aromatic note, a personal "signature" that makes it unique. 

Famed for its mildness, smooth head, slight bitterness and freshness, March beer returns each year to herald the arrival of spring, and then disappears again until the following year.

The Golden Rules of March Beer, precious and ephemeral

The Rule of Exception

  • March beer must be produced in limited quantities
  • It is available from March 1 to 31 
  • It is served only on tap
  • It is low in alcohol (between 4.5 and 5.5%)
  • It is golden in color, ranging from pale gold to pale amber.
  • It is made from a variety of barley harvested between July 14 and August 15 (Alexis, Prisma, Scarlett, Cork, Nevada)

The Organoleptic Rule

  • To the eye: the quality of its head (fine, dense, compact), its bubbles (light and fine), its golden color and its transparence (limpidity).
  • To the nose: its intensity, predominant aromas (hops, malt, yeast, ferment, grain) and its aromatic notes (flowers, spices, fruits, caramel, honey).
  • In the mouth: its aromas and flavors (bitter, sweet, sour). 

The Tasting Rule
March beer is served at a temperature of about 8°C (46° F) in a tulip glass that allows the taster to fully experience the beer's qualities. The glass should promote the beer's effervescence, allow its color and brilliance to shine through and highlight its aromatic notes.  

Don't miss it, because once the cock crows three times, it will disappear until next spring! 

Collaboration: VFC and Maîtres Brasseurs de France


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