This region is famous for wine production, so when Charles DELALAND opened up his Brasserie Distillerie Cabestan he wasn’t very worried about the competition or fitting in with the local vintners in Saint-Croix-du-Mont. The brewery is tucked into the center of town, almost hidden behind a tall gate that from behind looks out over the Garonne valley and onto the vineyards of Sauternes in the distance. It’s an incredibly scenic and inviting atmosphere for summer evenings.
Charles started working for a brewery in Seine-et-Marne before coming down to this region to begin his own brewery. This is a one man show using barley (orge) and making ales (beers made with a high fermentation level of 18C-23C). He is an excellent teacher, which I noticed from the beginning, so it wasn’t surprising to hear that he offers beer making classes (in French) on Saturday afternoons (book here) and beer tasting ateliers.
It was interesting to hear how the smaller, independent breweries will bottle their beers while they still have no bubbles but with the addition of sugar these beers ferment one last time in the bottle (much like champagne). This gives the beer a finer and more delicate bubble.
There is a reason for the ‘distillery’ in the name. With the small leftover materials from the beer making, Charles has started to distill a 40% alcohol called ‘Esprit de Biere‘. The past year he made 100 bottles that have already sold. I guess you could compare the taste it to a smooth grappa, it really didn’t have the horrible bite some stronger alcohols do. It’s a beautiful bottle as well.
Finally, in partnership with Sandrine GONDOLO, he has a ‘Confit de Biere Ambree‘ made which has a flavor much like a quince which can be used with fois gras, cheese or in similar styles to the classic Sauternes confit.
If you are looking for something a bit different from the standard vineyard visit but equally interesting and tasty, take a detour to Saint-Croix-du-Mont or book one of the classes on offer with Charles…or come to Le BoeufPop! in Bazas and taste his beers on tap!