Bibliophile | A Beer in the Loire brews up some life-lessons

A Beer in the Loire
by Tommy Barnes
Muswell Press

This is the record of a brave man, the author Tommy Barnes, who left his office job in London to settle in rural France and tries to establish a boutique brewing business. Unfortunately he had a couple of obstacles to overcome – he had never actually brewed any beer and he was living in one of France’s best wine-producing areas.

With his redundancy money running out, and many failed attempts at earning an income including writing a novel, he really needs to get the beer right. But unfortunately he is learning by producing really bad beer. What they never mention in the beer textbooks is the things that end up with you producing a beer that tastes “like big, meaty, sweaty ball sacks”.

He continues with his beer making catastrophes, although when his partner Rose becomes pregnant, he takes on gardening jobs to earn money. This is not something that a philosophy degree from Sheffield University and a Masters degree in graphic design has equipped him for but twenty years of drinking beer hasn’t qualified him to actually make it either.

Each chapter starts with a recipe for a beer along with a list of mistakes made. This list includes technical things like not fermenting at the right temperature as well as some life-mistakes such as “getting distracted by dogs eating each other’s vomit”.

Who would have thought that you could learn life-lessons from brewing beer? But this is what happens in the stunning location of provincial France as Tommy Barnes shares his inspiring and tragically humorous journey as well as his beer recipes.

To win a hard cover copy of A Beer in the Loire email your details to [email protected] with A Beer in the Loire in the subject title.

Lezly Herbert

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