Beers, beers, beers! Oh, how we like them. Whether it is in combination with a hearty recipe and in front of a roaring fire during the winter months or during a football game with our eyes glued to the screen on a terrace when it’s hot outside. And as a born Belgian, I can’t say anything else than that the best beers are brewed in Belgium. Yet, I’m not against getting to know some other brews. If just like me, you’d like to discover something new, maybe the Route du Malt in the North of France is exactly what you’ve been looking for.
Admittedly, France is first and foremost known for its excellent wine. Red, white, or rosé – they’ve got it all and they’re proud of it too. And those who like to go down to the South will certainly be acquainted with pastis, the anise-flavored drink the French like to enjoy while playing a game of jeu de boules. Yet, and you might not be aware of this, these last years French breweries have been sprouting everywhere throughout the country. Not every single one of them is worth your while but there’s a lot of potentials, a potential which would be unfortunate not to explore.
Beer, whisky and local products
The North of France is one of the regions which has seen a spectacular rise in its number of breweries. Therefore, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that some of those breweries and distilleries have joined their forces and have developed a tour, taking you to some of the best beer addresses in the Hauts-de-France. The name of the itinerary? Route de Malt. All in all, the trail measures 520 kilometers in length and will take you to 7 distilleries, 13 breweries, and 12 restaurant hotels.
So, what to expect? There’s something for everyone, really, and the offer is quite varied. Brasserie Duyck for example has been around for 99 years already, while Brasserie de Mai just opened its doors in 2018. Some of them get their inspiration from the British, while others like to give their beers soli names. And the distilleries en route will give you the chance to taste French whiskies, gins, and other concoctions. The restaurant-hotels, finally, have designed menus combining the best regional products with beers and other beverages from the participating breweries and distilleries.
If you’d like to know the exact route and the participating companies, have a look at Route du Malt’s website. Oh, and one last word of advice, don’t drink and drive.