Putting the Anglo-French rivalry to bed once and for all, the Brasserie du Pays Toy in the Hautes-Pyrenees region combines fresh, local produce with a love for proper English ale. Cyclists, beer enthusiasts, and lovers of the outdoors unite – to enjoy a pint near to some of the Tour de France’s most breathtaking climbs.

When the Dixons moved to Sassis in 2009, they discovered that with all the gastronomy on offer, there was still a need for real, quality ale. “Coming from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, classics such as the Newcastle Brown Ale were hard to come by in south-west France,” explains owner, Paul Dixon. “But there are so many wonderful ingredients here, and the mountain spring water is optimum for creating fantastic ale.” Taking matters into their own hands, they began to brew award-winning English ales in the Pyrenean peaks.

Brasserie du Pays Toy, English ale, French Pyrenees, Discover Southern Europe magazine

For a pitstop near to one of the legendary routes of the Tour de France, also known as the ‘cols mythiques’, the Pays Toy brewery is a fantastic place for sipping a cold one. They also have a bespoke beer selection for cyclists after they’ve got off the saddle; each of which is inspired by a nearby mountain pass. “We’re incredibly inspired by our surroundings,” says Loïc Lassalle, who assists with production.

Lassalle explains their passion for local produce: “We give our craft beer to a nearby butcher; their speciality is in fact sausages cooked slowly in Pays Toy brown ale.” The brewery invites visitors to join them and discover the world of malt, hops and casks with one of their nine beer varieties.


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