My goat was rescued by the French An author reveals how the French got my goat!

  • Tommy Barnes moved to the Loire valley in order to be a microbrewer.
  • In a sequel to Beer In The Loire, he shares the challenges of his professional life.
  • He joined the search for a goat right as he started the brewing process



by Tommy Barnes (Muswell Press £12.99, 234 pp)

What does the future hold when you didn’t quite make it as a stand-up comedian and you’ve just been made redundant as a graphic designer? Tommy Barnes made the decision six years ago that he would move to Loire to start brewing microbrews.

That’s right, in a part of France that is renowned the world over for its wines, he decided to make beer.

He bought a small brewery from a man in Wales, as you do, and set it up in a scruffy, cobwebbed outbuilding at the home he shared with his wife, Rose, small son, Albert, and a menagerie of animals that wouldn’t look out of place in a particularly eccentric episode of All Creatures Great And Small.

Tommy Barnes, who moved to a small village in the Loire valley to become a microbrewer six years ago has penned a book about the challenges of his profession (file image)

Tommy Barnes was six years old when he moved to the Loire valley in order to be a microbrewer.

Trouble Brewing In The Loire follows up on A Beer In The Loire. As you might guess from the title, Tommy’s new career is not going entirely well. Luckily, as we know from Clarkson’s Farm, chaos and failure are nearly always more entertaining than success.

Even Tommy’s rare successes are chaotic. Sang de Braslou becomes his new, brightly-colored beer. He starts the brewing process, but then gets a call from the village mayor to say that Twinkle, the family’s miniature goat, has escaped and taken refuge in the mairie.

Tommy, the mayor, and the mayor’s secretary attempt to catch Twinkle, helped by a growing crowd. Eventually there are 15 people pursuing one small goat, who is eventually cornered in a neighbour’s garage. Tommy returns home, just in time to begin the next step of the brewing.

Tommy is struggling financially, despite a steady and small sales of Braslou beer on local markets. His bottle supplier is threatening to send the bailiffs in, and as if that weren’t enough his beer begins to taste sour.

TROUBLE BREWING IN THE LOIRE by Tommy Barnes (Muswell Press £12.99, 234 pp)

TROUBLE BREWING IN THE LOIRE by Tommy Barnes (Muswell Press £12.99, 234 pp)

A neighboring micro-brewer suggests that he clean up his environment. All his neighbours (even rival brewers) are great examples of Anglo-French relations.

Le Containment is French for lockdown.

Tommy starts a home delivery service and gets some help from the government, but the family — who now have a baby daughter — are really struggling.

The book begins to get darker at this point. Tommy starts to realize that the ramshackle operation at his brewery is not like Benoit’s neat and tidy one, which is something Tommy feels represents his character. ‘It was sad and broken and ashamed of itself and there was no care to it,’ he says. ‘No order. It is not taken into consideration. No love given to it.’

Rose is the one who finally puts her family in their place of happiness. She says she’s had enough of struggling in the Loire, and wants to move to Cornwall to be near her parents.

The upside is that it will be easier to sell beer here. And if it’s not, well, at least there should be enough material for a third book.