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Hommelpap Microbrewery

Bailleul, France

Spent most of the day alternately irritating and amusing Sue with passages from Stephen Clark's '1000 years of annoying the French'.

Went a little early to Bailleul for the Brasserie Tour & meal that we had booked for 7pm and took the opportunity to visit the quite large cemetery in Bailleul itself. The military cemetery is an extension of the old town cemetery and contains the graves of German, French and BEF soldiers along with several Chinese Labour Corps. As Bailleul Hospital was a major casualty clearing station and hospital, I would guess that many of those interred here died of wounds. Our way to the brasserie from here was probably across an RFC aerodrome, as there was one near the town.

The brasserie was a fairly typical microbrewery and we were taken to a field about 50 metres up the road to be shown hops growing, with an explanation of how much was under cultivation and tonnage produced which was converted into the amount of beer produced. As the animateur spoke softly and rapidly, I didn't catch any of the details and we had the same story as we had heard at the windmill about children starting school late in September so that they could help with the harvest. Back 50 metres down the road to the brewery for an explanation of the constituents of beer and how the hops were dried and why they were used in beer; again I didn't catch most of the detail and I probably only gathered what I did by being reasonably familiar with the process. The explanation took place in a small hallway about 5 metres by 4 with the brewery itself in a room about the same size next door through a glass partition. High tech it was not. To be honest it was a bit of an anti-climax.
Once the tour was done, we went upstairs into a galleried area with tables and shown to our reserved table (pour deux Anglais). It was a lovely bucolic environment with open space above our heads provided by the roof timbers and with agricultural impedimenta supended from the beams and on the walls. The family all took part in the business; we suspect Grandpa and Grandma providing beer and direction respectively, grandchildren waiting on tables and Mum & Dad in the kitchen. We ate boeuf carbonnade au biere du maison avec des frites and it was truly magnificent. The beef was tender and tasty and the fries were really good. I had a barley wine aperitif with a distinct and very pleasant base of honey and Sue had one based on a rhubarb cordial with sparkling wine. The meal was washed down in my case with the brewery's own Hommelpap, while Sue had a pear juice She was driving back! We finished with coffee and had an altogether delightful evening. All for a very reasonable amount that should shame many more prestigious establishments; I have had many 'better' meals that have been exorbitant and I have not enjoyed as much.

On our way back we had a couple of surprised stares at our right hand drive and I felt the urge at the next car to throw my hands in the air in a 'look no hands gesture' as we approached, which caused some consternation to the oncoming car and amusement on mine; juvenile I know, but being looked at by people as though you have two heads can sometimes affect one that way.

permalink written by  rickandsuejohnson on August 13, 2011 from Bailleul, France
from the travel blog: Paying our respects
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