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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

So Close and yet ...

There's a French brewery called Brasserie au Baron a stone's throw from Belgium, southwest of Mons. And I mean that literally; it's about a hundred feet from Belgium. As is WAY too common among French breweries, Baron appeared to have no website* and therefore no way to be contacted. This was frustrating, because I wanted to discuss Cuvee des Jonquilles, easily the most pleasantly named beer in the world.

What's very strange is that thanks to modern tech and Google, I can actually look at the brewery. I can drive around the mannered little town of Gussignes, and I can see the river on the banks of which grow the jonquilles that inspired the name of Baron's saison.

It's so tantalizing I can actually peek inside the brewery's window.

I sat there, toggling back and forth with an uncontrollably visceral sense that I might actually be able to catch someone's attention. I can put my nose to the virtual window, but in truth, I am thousands of miles away.

All of which is to say that if you want to have a gander at that rare foreign brewery, sidle on over to Google maps. Chances are you can get a great view.

*As it turned out, as I was toggling around, I happened to notice that on the Google maps page, there was a link to the Au Baron website, so it all turned out fine. Don't know why it wasn't popping up in the search, but I guess technology isn't foolproof.


  1. We visited Au Baron on our trip to Belgium last year. From our trip notes: "Our first stop (of the day) was Bailleux Au Baron in Bavay, Belgium / Guissignies, France. It is so close to the French border if you walk 50 feet or so out of the brewery you are in France. We got a nice tour by Xavier Bailleux, and later met his father Alain. We tasted their Cuvee Des Jonquille Blonde made with bitter orange and very tasty. That was followed by the Saison St. Medard Amber and Brune, which have coriander in them and were also good."
    It was quite a nice stop. They do have odd hours, so we had to arrange a visit in advance.

  2. FYI, just in case you find yourself stuck in the future there is old technology available: the telephone.

  3. Stan, you have inadvertently uncovered one of my secret anxieties: the phone. But in this case I have a perfectly reasonable excuse. Cold-calling France as an English/Hindi speaker sets up the possibility of an uncomfortable and expensive communication failure.

    With further help from Google, I can translate emails into French. And avoid the phone.

  4. Jeff I went there in late 2005 and interviewed the owner, got some quotes if you want — this was the place where I realised that Biere de Gardes weren’t all amber as I had thought before.

  5. Adrian, thanks for the offer--it's most gracious. My questions are traveling cyberspace and if they go unheeded, I may take you up on that.

  6. If you guys do interview them, can you please ask them if they intend on exporting their brews to Australia?