Brewery Goudale Arques (3)Brewery Goudale Arques (3)
©Goudale d'Arques Brewery|Philippe Hudelle

Visit the Brasserie Goudale

Discovering Goudale Brewery’s IPA, Grand Cru or even rum beers is an astonishing experience. This latest-generation brewery, designed with visitors in mind, is a vibrant, noisy and fragrant liner that awakens all the senses. Perched on a metal catwalk, I was able to go behind the scenes of the beer-making process. Before tasting it, as if it were my first sip.

Immediate boarding at Arques

In the distance, huge fermentation vats tell me I’ve reached my destination. I’m impressed by the huge modern building in front of me, surrounded by hop fields and fragrant scents. A large portrait of the creator of this titanic brewery welcomes me. André Pecqueur, reigns over a small empire of 400 people, devoted to beer, here in Arques and Saint-Omer. The history of the Goudale brewery, built in record time in 2017, I discover thanks to a film.

I learn that the recipes come from ancient know-how inherited from the Gayant brewery in Douai. Acquired by André Pecqueur, it was reborn here in Arques in an ultra-modern building, where specialty beers are produced. 5 km away, the Saint-Omer brewery produces lighter beers. Mashing, brewing, filtration, fermentation, by the time I leave the screening room, I know everything – well, in theory – about beer making.

A gateway to beer

And then everything accelerates: with my audio-guide on my ears, I dive right into the heart of the matter. In spite of the ambient noise, I’m well equipped to take full advantage of the guide’s explanations. Here’s the brewhouse, where for the first and only time I’ll see the liquid wort that will become the golden beer I’ll soon be tasting.

Before the laboratory, I learn that the alchemy of a good beer lies in the quality of its recipe, ingredients, water and yeast. In the microbrewery, I discover these famous raw materials and all the beers they create. And here’s the most impressive part: the bottling and packaging lines.

Dancer in Goudale

The noise intensifies: clinking glass, pulsating metal, jets of steam, shrill alarms and warning lights testifying to rigorous controls: the ballet, impressive, is well honed to the millimeter. Above a sea of stainless steel pipes and intricate machinery, I watch in amazement as bottles swirl to the right and cans to the left.

They form rivers of glass and aluminum, depalletized, cleaned, filled, corked or encapsulated and finally packaged to 70 countries, mainly in Europe. The efficiency of this process is staggering, and truly astonishing to observe. The 1h30 visit goes by like a flash, with no time to get bored for a minute.

Time for tasting

All this made me thirsty. And just as well: it’s time for a drink in the beautiful bar area, right next to the boutique, where you’ll find all the references from the Goudale and Saint-Omer breweries. Our guides take us behind the bar to suggest a few beers to enjoy (in moderation). Goudale, “Good Ale”, means good beer. The Arques brewery lives up to its name!