Moving to France I think many friends thought we’d be surrounded by vineyards. That’s not exactly the case. When we look across the lane to the side of the house all we see are sheep. We’d need to travel about an hour to the nearest wine regions of the Loire or the Haute Vienne.
With all this viticulture is easy to forget that the French have a thriving brewing industry too. Admittedly you’d be hard pressed to find, at least in this part of France, the real ale and micro-breweries now so popular back in the UK, but yesterday I spent a rainy April afternoon learning about the process and, more importantly, tasting the local brew.
Based in a former diary in the picturesque village of Coulon here in the Deux-Sèvres department is the Brasserie du Marais Poitevin. Using locally sourced wild hops and organically grown grain the brasserie supplies a range of beers to suit to most discerning palate: wheat beers, lagers and what we English would recognise as a good old bitter (la brune or l'ambrée).
On visits back to the UK I usually bring back a few bottle of bitter – one of the things I do miss is a pint down at my local. At least now I know I can top up on supplies locally. Cheers!