The big summer vacation this year was spent in France, this time with our old camper van. Usually I’m looking for wine but there was one place on my list of places that I really wanted to see. Le Puy en Velay in the Auvergne region. This is where the wolrd famous green lentils are grown and the old town has its owns, mystical charm about it. We decided to go for the Camping de Bouthezard in the Aiguilhe quarter. Yes, it was beautifully located just beneath the famous church St Michel d’Aiguilhe (as seen on the beer label). But what really sparked my interest were WiFi, laundrette and tumble dryer. The simple washrooms didn’t spark anything though…
When asking for a well deserved (changing tyres on a motorway rest stop only to find out that the extra tyre did not have enough air inside and the motor station’s inflator was out of order) welcome beer at the campsite shop the owner apologized for having only local beers on offer, no Kronenbourg or Heineken. Well, he was apologizing to the wrong person, i bought both beers on offer. A lentil beer, Perle Verte and the La Vellavia blonde brewed in the neighbouring Polignac, famous for it’s castle ruin.
The La Vellavia on the other hand was quite impressive. Orange-brown with a fine foamy head.
In the nose dried and frozen mango, dried apple, light cider. On the palate mango and malt caombined with flowery hops and a light bitter finale.
Beside the good water from the Central Massif there is one special ingredient that makes this beer so special. An ancient type of barley called Ponote that has been grown on the high plateau of Le Puy together with the Puy Lentils. The grains are quite big which makes sorting them out easier. This makes sense if you consider the way the barley was used as a ranking help for the lentils, both being grown on the same field at the same time. And both harvested together.