Monday, March 2, 2009

Grilled Meat and Farmy Ale Near the French Border.

I've been working on a piece about visiting Belgium's great farmhouse breweries. Haven't sold it yet. (If you're a magazine editor, you should buy it. Drop me a line to find out more.) Meanwhile, the research was an excuse to do something we've been meaning to do for about two years: visit the Brasserie de Blaugies for lunch.

Specifically, we'd been hankering some chow on some flame-grilled meat at the Fourquet, the tavern run by the same folks who make the beer. We washed down a terrine of duck and some shrimp croquettes with the Darbyste, which is brewed with fig juice and is one of the driest fruit beers you'll ever find. My thick, juicy pork chop found a good buddy in the Saison d'Epautre, a grainy spelt-based beer that is one of Belgium's best saisons. But the Woman won the day with her grilled lardon. Imagine two obscenely thick slices of bacon and you've got the gist.

For Blaugies, it's not just a romantic gimmick to call it a farmhouse brewery. It's the fact of the matter. The farmhouse's small garage might hold two little Euro-cars, maybe, if there weren't a nanobrewery in it. To cart the beer across the road to the bottling barn, the family uses a former dairy tank attached to wheels stripped from an old French artillery gun.

Just like a family farm, everybody does a bit of everything. Ma and Pa – Marie-Noëlle Pourtois and Pierre-Alex Carlier – both brew and run the tavern, with Pierre-Alex often spotted working the grill. ("You see that workhorse on the label?" Pierre-Alex said. "That's me!") Sons Kevin and Cedric also brew and get help from a couple of "interns."

The address is Rue de la Frontiére 435, 7370 Blaugies. It's very near the French border and not much else. Bring your GPS, your thirst, and your appetite.


  1. Get your lardon, literally. Sounds bloody great. :D I had been angling for a holiday in France, but looks like we have to make a trip back to the old country to keep the family happy. Maybe in summer. I have a GPS...

  2. Thirsty Pilgrim, Great blog. Have linked it up to mine.

    I ate here recently. Absolutely beautiful food and the hospitality very welcoming. The range of their own beer is only three (four in winter) but very enjoyable and traditional.
    My review of La Moneuse on my website