Le Brewery Normandy: an Englishman in France has hit the headlines worldwide when the news of his desire to consider selling Le Brewery in Normandy went viral. If you’re wondering just what it is about this particular brewery that has created such interest – click on the link and check it out.
The Good Life France is delighted to have had the opportunity to interview Steve Skews, proprietor of Le Brewery who is a most interesting and entertaining chap – definitely full of the joie de vivre and clearly suited to being a publican and brewer !
We asked him – what’s it all about?
TGLF: What took you to France in the first instance?
A love of France. The art, literature, culture. Fed up with boring Britain. We felt we deserved a life change… and it’s one we don’t regret at all.
TGLF: How did you come up with the idea of Le Brewery
Our cider farm lost its trees in the tempest of 1999… so we had to come up with a new plan! And “with a little help from me friends”, together with a passion for beer and brewing… Le Brewery was born!
TGLF: Did you have any experience of brewing beer before Le Brewery?
Started home brewing at age 14! [Editor’s note – we’re betting Mum hated it/Dad loved it!]. I’ve had a lifelong relationship with beer – I even had a brewery in my room at college! [Editor’s Note: Wow – who wishes they were at college with Steve – I know I do!]. I’ve worked with some great brewers over the years.
TGLF: Would you say that enjoying the taste of beer is necessary to brew good beer?!
(Laughs) Absolutely! Absolutely!
TGLF: How did you get the equipment needed for Le Brewery? I ask this as I’ve seen conflicting accounts – that you imported from UK or that you bought from a French brewer!
I bought it, with the generous help of my brother in law. An old brewery that was closing down, in Hampshire, in the south of England. Dismantled it, brought it over in bits and rebuilt it.
TGLF: What is a typical day like as a brewer?
Long! Bloody hard work, boozy, fun, frustrating, exciting, and immensely satisfying.
The best job in the world, in the best place in the world.
TGLF: You have two pubs in Normandy – The Secret Knight and The Famous Knight. Do the French in the area love the beer and the pubs as much as the British?
Yep, isn’t the English pub the quintessential essence of parochial paradise…It’s the hub of village life…There are real ales, real music, real fire, even fish n chips, and a Sunday lunchtime raffle [Editor’s Note: There are going to be groans from expats in France who aren’t near your pubs – who isn’t thinking of how much they’d love to be able to nip down the pub right now for a pint and fish and chips?!]. Its not just the French and the English that like the beer though, we’re getting orders now from Italy, Scandinavia and even the US! The potential seems to be growing beyond our wildest dreams.
TGLF: Le Brewery won a gold medal at the Mondial de la Bière in Strasbourg last year for “Odo” your British stout – that must have been a great feeling…
Awesome! Met some of the best brewers in the world. Tasted some of the best beers in the world. Truly awesome!