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René van den Oort, from Beautiful Beers in Bury’s St John’s Street, says holiday time gives us the chance to try a new tipple or two. . .

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A holiday romance?

With so many of us taking our holiday abroad or in different parts of the country, it is inevitable that during this time we all experience a totally different range of food, drink and culture than we are used to.

Having just returned from a very hot central France, I was pleasantly surprised to see that even in steadfast, wine drinking France, small beer breweries are now popping up at a steady rate. Sure, it has not been at the rate we have seen here in the UK, but now local delicatessen, artisan shops and even supermarkets are stocking a wider variety of so called ‘craft beers’.

Naturally, I had to try a few and I must say there certainly were some very tasty ones. But, as we so often find out once we have returned from our time away, the food or drink brought back from our holidays don’t always taste quite the same when back in your garden as it did on that lovely campsite with that stunning view. . .

Holiday drinks (15889277)
Holiday drinks (15889277)

But if you really enjoyed that particular beer you had from this tiny brewery in the middle of nowhere, there is a good chance that you may find something quite similar here. Maybe a different brewery or from a different area but similar in style. Often these small craft breweries brew their beers to resemble the more well-known beers such as Leffe and Delirium from Belgium or Goudale and Pelforth from France.

But for me, a great part of my holidays is the fun of trying something a little different, whether it is a dish with an unpronounceable name, usually described something like ‘fish in sauce’, or a local beer with a slightly weird but funny label. Usually, 9 out 10 times, it’s perfectly fine but I must say the Foie Gras ice cream from the Brantôme parlour was definitely a ‘miss’. That one was best left to the locals, but some of the beers there were a true ‘hit’.

As William Cowper mused: “Variety is the spice of life”, and I agree whole-heartedly; you may have your favourite pint in your local, but why not try something different now and then? If anything, when sipping a quirky beer from an unusual beer glass, doesn’t it remind you of that lovely relaxing time with your feet up and seemingly without a worry in the world, rather that the depressing issues dominating current news bulletins?


René van den Oort is owner of Beautiful Beers

1b St John’s Street

Bury St Edmunds

01284 767205