The craft beer brewery La Gorge Fraîche has decided to settle down where it all started in 2014. Ever since the idea sprouted from the brain of old mates Mathieu Debilliers and Ludovic Lasserre, the local beers are a big hit and sell like hotcakes. And now it is possible to actually visit the brewery slash bar in Béziers! Their new premises, aptly named ‘Canal du Demi’, located along the Canal du Midi in an industrial building that used to be a former sugar refinery. The perfect spot to quench your thirst with a refreshing beer.
It might surprise you to find a beer brewery in the land of wine. However, the choice to start producing this malt liquor isn’t that strange, explained co-founder Mathieu Debilliers. In fact, at the end of the 19th century, a renowned brewer, Monsieur Kayser from the Alsace region, installed his brewery in Béziers. More brewers followed, to the point that during the 1950s almost every town in France had their own brewery. Unfortunately, the popularity of beer dropped in the 1960s and many breweries had to close their doors.
Until 2014, the year when Mathieu and Ludovic jumped into reviving local craft beers. La Gorge Fraîche is the result of the desire to cure a ‘dry throat’ (gorge in French) with a refreshing (translated as fraîche) drink. What better way to do so then becoming a ‘maître brasseur’ (brewmaster in English)?! So that’s what they did, and in five years the company grew so much that it needed bigger premises with the possibility to grow even further. Hence the rise of La Gorge Fraîche and its bar ‘Canal du Demi’ a stone’s throw from the Canal du Midi. Mathieu gave me a little tour around the brewery. Only four simple ingredients are needed to create an unpasteurised and natural beer: hops, yeast, water and barley malt. It’s La Gorge’s Fraîche artisanal recipe that does the trick and remains a well-kept secret, of course.
From September 2020, the complete range will be brewed on the spot in Béziers. This will include their original white, blonde, amber and winter beer, as well as their more recent creations, amongst which are a stout, imperial lager and IPA. And the guys of La Gorge Fraîche are bubbling with new ideas! Like hosting the locally famous Sainte Tartine festival every January. Or l’Échappée Fraîche, a visit that introduces you to the art of brewing, including a bite from chef Pierre Augé and an indoor jeu de boules. Yep, the Canal du Demi, with its open space design and funky wall-art, is a great asset to Béziers. And now it’s time to do something about that dry throat!