BOÎTE AUX LETTRES
Have your say and share travel tips to win a great prize.
Raising a glass
As a long-term subscriber to FRANCE Magazine and a devotee of ‘real ale’, I really enjoyed the feature ‘Going with the Grain’ (July 2017, issue 226), which is the first one I can remember that has explored the French brewing industry.
My introduction to Bière de Garde came in a rather unusual way. In 1990, my family rented a gîte for two weeks in the village of Herzeele, close to the border with Belgium. Unbeknown to us, the cottage was owned by the mayor, who called in after a couple of days to see if we needed anything.
My wife casually pointed out that she could not find a dustpan and brush so, after ascertaining that this indispensable piece of equipment was definitely lacking, he took the three of us to the general store where he bought one. Perhaps he felt guilty about leaving two of us empty-handed, because the next thing I knew was that our young son had a carton of ice cream and I was presented with two bottles of ‘Bière des 3 Monts’ from the local Brasserie de Saint-sylvestre.
What a revelation this magnificent beer turned out to be. From that day on, and in spite of my pleasure in seeing micro-breweries expanding throughout France, it remains my favourite of all the Bières de Garde. On our annual trip, we always tuck away a dozen bottles in the car boot.
Never would I have thought that a minor difficulty in brushing up some pieces of broken glass on the floor of a gîte could lead to so much enjoyment.
ABOVE: Beers from the Brasserie Saint-sylvestre