I seem to be having a lot of luck with my stopovers.
As Sunday tends to be pretty dead in France, I had been wondering whether choosing Biarritz as a stopover was wise. However, it turns out to have considerably more life on a grey November Sunday than many other French towns.
It also has “La Tireuse”, a bar with 20 handpumps loaded with Belgian beer. They’ve gone for a selection that avoids the usual, featuring a range of styles from the bigger “independent”* breweries – which you don’t often see outside Belgium, particularly not on tap.
So from Brouwirij Leroy they had Leroy stout (not my kind of thing – too sweet) and Yperman (described as an “ambree” – lovely stuff). From Bocq there was La Gauloise Ambree, St Feuillien Bruin, and from Van Eecke there was Watou’s Wit, Kapittel Triple and an old favourite, Poperings Hommelbier.
Also intriguingly, they have a beer called “La Tireuse special” – I can’t find reference of this beer on the internet. They told me it was brewed in Belgium, but I don’t have enough French to find out if it was brewed especially for them. It’s a “light” blonde, 5.6%, with quite a strong hop flavour. It was very tasty.
The bar staff are extremely friendly and happy to provide tasters, descriptions and recommendations. There is also food, with a nod to Belgium and Germany in the menu (Flammkuechen, Spaetzle, and great big hunks of meat and potatoes).
*I’m not sure what independent means in the world of Belgian beer – independent of what? – but all of these breweries are classified as independent on various web forums, as well as in their own publicity material.
La Tireuse is on Rue Mazagran, at the top of Place Ste Eugenie, in the centre of Biarritz. Photo to come.