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In a region so well known for its wines and spirits, it might be a little strange to think of beer being brewed behind the doors of a brasserie (brewery). However, if you travel through the region in late spring, you will not be surprised to see fields of barley (orge) and wheat (froment or blé) among the corn, maize and sunflowers. The fertile soil of Poitou-Charentes is perfect for all kinds of harvest.

And where there is barley and wheat combined with the famous waters of the region, you have the perfect ingredients for beer. In Poitou-Charentes, you will find a handful of micro-breweries and specialist breweries each with their own unique take on this popular drink. These include those on the Île d’Oléron and the Île de Ré as well as breweries in towns more associated with other drinks, in Cognac, Foussignac and in Neuville-de-Poitou.



Bouteille rousse 1356
Interview with a producer

Pascal Pouilly is the founder of the Bellefois Brasserie in Neuville-de-Poitou (86), where he makes and sells his own beers.


How did you come up with the idea to make beer here in Poitou-Charentes?

We started making beer at our home in Bellefois just for our own pleasure. We enjoyed it so much that in 2003 we decided to devote ourselves entirely to beers and form our own business. The beers quickly attracted enthusiasts who wanted to check them out for themselves and who liked the novelty of the idea. For us, it was very much about the culmination of our passion for beer.


What were the next steps?

We wanted to build our own business with our own hands and ideas. We invested in machinery and opened a micro-brewery in an old regional farmhouse. We soon found that people were looking for authentic, good quality products, so much so that we’ve since added a restaurant and a bakery!


How do you make your beers?

We only use ingredients of the highest quality. We’re lucky to be able to use water rich in minerals, since water forms 95 per cent of the beer. We leave it to brew and ferment, then we let the yeasts do their business. After three weeks, the beer is bottled and is ready for consumption!


So tell us about your beers...

Our beers are light beers with a fruity flavour, similar to pale ales in the UK. We named them after important dates in the region so each one has a story to tell. We have two beers suited to most tastes: the 507 Clovis and the 1356 Jean Le Bon. Our 507 is a light, fizzy wheat beer and the 1356 Jean Le Bon is a more malty-scented pale beer. We also have two beers more suited to those who’d like something a little more intense, the 732 Charles Martel which is our most popular beer, and the 1356 Le Prince Noir. Both are barley beers.


Brasserie de Bellefois is open for visits 2pm to 7pm Tuesday to Sunday inclusive and Saturday and Sunday mornings. 51 Route de Clan,Bellefois, 86170 Neuville de Poitou. Tel. 05 49 58 33 50.