This spring we had a Brew Pub open up in our village. Nicolas, pictured above, has owned a house in Montmirail for many years, but it is only last year that he retired from his corporate job in New York City to our village. He is an extremely energetic person and began to contemplate learning how to brew beer. He had already purchased a small shop across from his house when the confinement began back in March. In June, despite the set backs, he opened up his new pub, just in time for our summer season here in town.
The pub has been a smashing success. Every time we have walked by, it is full and over flowing with customers. The shop is very attractively arranged as well. Nicolas serves tea, coffee, snacks and other alcoholic beverages besides his home brewed beer.
Nicolas has found local producers for the products he sells. He has created a wonderful and warm place for people to gather. He has both an indoor and an outdoor space.
One of my favorite features of his shop is a poster of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. We may be the only locals who know who she is. Nicolas lived in the U.S. for years and has both French and American citizenship. AOC is his representative. The shop has a real Brooklyn influence, here in this very obscure little French village.
So far he is making a pale ale and a white beer, and soon an amber. I don’t drink beer myself, but Rick says his pale ale is quite good. He has yet to try the white.
Nicolas is beginning to gear up to bottle his brew. His labels feature a photo of the castle of Montmirail. Our house appears there too, as it sits just below the château.
We were invited to his place this week on a day he is not usually open. He gave us the grand tour and we had a private gin and tonic tasting. We had tried some of his Coqlicorne gin earlier in the summer and liked it very much. It is made by a local team, a French man and a Scottish guy who produce the product not far from our village. The symbol of France, of course is the rooster, or Coq and the unicorn is the symbol of Scotland, thus the name and logo. It comes in three varieties.
The reason we got this invitation was that we were telling Nicolas about our German client who comes once a year and brings us various gin and tonic supplies every time. Last year he brought a Japanese gin and this year it was an Italian one. He also brought us a special tonic syrup to mix with sparkling water. We decided to have a tasting together.
Nicolas was the gracious bartender. We tried each gin, all flavored differently. The syrup added a nice taste and color. After three rounds we were all feeling rather jolly. It was a very pleasant evening.