We have long been fans of the Domaine de Merchien. at Belfort du Quercy (46 Lot, Midi-Pyrenees) (south of Cahors and north of Montauban) Sarah and David Meakin have been developing the Domaine and its production of both wine and beer.
Rather idiosyncatically as well as producing French wines (often for sale to Brits) they also decided to try to prioduce beer for the French! Clearly the British taste in beers is quite different to that of the French. Personally I love French beer. but it tends to be best in hot summer weather and the traditional “pression” tends to somewhat gassy and light in taste. It is a long way from a pint of English bitter.
Hence, although the Meakins were a bit of a mission to bring the French around to our point of view of beer, they have instead focussed on developing a style of beer which might also appeal to the French. So what is it that the French like and dislike?
We took nearly 100 x 500cl bottles and sold out and probably could of sold half as much again! This was the Bronze mainly with a few of the Dorée, it isn’t over hoppy and although you wouldn’t call it sweet it definitely lacks any bitter end/after taste and has a fair bit of gas for a real ale. I would say its the bitterness that our French customers don’t like , hence we have tried to calm it down and it seems to have worked.
In addition to beer, the Domaine de Merchien produces a range of wines, including a VDQS Coteaux du Quercy – a red made from Gamay, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cot(Malbec) and Tannat.
For more info see www.merchien.com