Black Donkey Brewing – Arigna Series #1 – Bière de Garde – 7.5% ABV


I have a tendency to buy one of every beer I can possibly get my hands on. If it is rare, I hold onto it until I have a chance to share it, but otherwise, my storage is minimal. Stashkiller by the Beer Nut and a few other signs have inspired me to start storing a little bit of beer.

One such sign was Black Donkey Brewing’s Arigna Series #1. A limited run of 1800 bottles, it is a dark Bière de Garde, which literally translates as “beer for keeping”.

Black Donkey Brewing are clearly historically aware, it’s evident in their styles, techniques and names like “Beyond the Pale”. The Arigna Series tips its hat to the local history of mining. Maybe the fact that it is a beer for keeping is a hint that maybe we shouldn’t use all of our limited resources, but rather save some for the future. Or it could be a coincidence!

First Impressions:

The art on the label is keeping with the Black Donkey tradition, although it uses a much darker palette. This pours a dark brown, almost black, with about a centimetre of off-white head.

The aroma is yeasty with sweet fruits.

Second Impressions:

The foam on top is minimal compared to Sheep Stealer, but the beer still has a very well carbonated body. This is a strong beer, and you can really taste the 7.5%. It takes a lot of its flavour from its yeast, and also has some fruitiness.

Final Impressions:

It is always great to see a style of beer on the shelves that not everyone is putting out. Black Donkey have expanded their core range gently and consistently, and so I am hopeful to see how they develop this series and future short-run beers.


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