For many of our guests, a barge holiday in France through some of the world’s most famous wine regions is the perfect time to partake in a tipple or two. A cruise along the Canal du Midi takes you through the prime vineyards of Languedoc-Roussillon, tempting your taste buds all the way. However, it’s not just premium local wine that you can discover along the Canal du Midi; we also love to introduce our guests to local French beer on a barge holiday. In France the beer market is overwhelmingly dominated by major breweries, but there are excellent local craft beers on offer if you know where to look.
La Gorge Fraîche is one such brand. This small brewery is located on the banks of the Canal du Midi in Poilhes has been made by locals, for locals.
Wet Your Whistle
The name of the brand implies the importance of its location. In this region of the South of France, the hot and dry Tramontane winds blow across the Mediterranean during the summer drought. This weather can cause "gorge sèche", or a dry throat, among the local population. La Gorge Fraîche is the antidote to this summer affliction; “Fresh Throat” has been specially formulated for hot summer nights outside under the French sky. They even say that the bottle with its elongated neck has been specifically designed to be carried in festival crowds or on walks between bodegas!
A Taste for the South of France
The taste of the beer has also been formulated to suit the Mediterranean climate in which it is brewed and enjoyed. It is light and refreshing, and yet still has a nicely balanced bitterness, sweetness, body and fizz. The ingredients are strictly limited to hops, yeast, barley malt and water, and their special organic blonde and white lines contain only organic products.
The brewery is intent on benefiting the local economy and environment around Poilhes with the success of its brew. They pride themselves on supporting local businesses, so visitors will find the beers in many local restaurants, wine shops and delicatessens. They have also teamed up with the Voies Navigables de France, which is running a project to replant plane trees on the banks of the Canal du Midi. So there you have it – enjoying a cold Gorge Fraîche beer may well necessitate a future barge holiday in Franceto appreciatethe newly planted foliage along the canal!
Visiting the Brewery
The Gorge Fraîche brewery is situated on the banks of the Canal du Midi in a building with a vinous heritage. The wine cellar has been turned into a shop and tastings are run regularly, which makes this a great excursion on a barge holiday in France.
Whether you visit the brewery or simply sample their beers in a local restaurant, you won’t regret straying from the wine menu (just this once!).
Paul Newman is the Marketing and E-Systems Executive for European Waterways, the UK's most respected provider if you're looking for an all-inclusive, luxury barge holiday in France or other great destinations. Part of a team of experienced barging aficionados, Paul is first in line to endorse the perks of a slow-paced barge cruise to anyone looking for a unique holiday experience.