Patrick and Lauren stayed about three more years in Martel. The work was all-consuming, Beille says, and while they loved the farm, animals and friends in Martel, they both wanted to have what he calls "a normal life." That would be something like 9-to-5 jobs with weekends free, and maybe even a few weeks of vacation each year.
Oh, yeah, sounds much better, no?
So Beille put the for-sale sign on the farm and Les Bouriettes.
He and his wife moved to Chicago. While getting accustomed to American life, Beille says, "I bumped into a liquor store." He was shocked at the array of beers for sale, particularly those crafted in small breweries.
"I spent an unreasonable amount of time reading beer labels," he says. "It was like going to the library. Coming from France and its wine culture, with wine labels quietly and politely posing on the shelves, what I could see in beer was the expression of a great creativity and freedom.
"I was picking up six-packs every week to educate myself to the beer culture. Then we visited a brewery. The smell of the brewing triggered something in me and I took seriously from then on my brewing aspirations."
He brought those aspirations to Baltimore. Lauren works as a fundraiser for the Y of Central Maryland. And Patrick, the former French sheep herder, puts all his energy into the Peabody Heights Brewery, a co-operative on 30th Street in Waverly where three brands are brewed – RavenBeer, Full Tilt and Beille's Public Works Ale. He and his partners brewed their first batches a year ago, and they're on their way.
As the French say, "La vie est trop courte pour boire de la mauvaises biere." (Life is too short to drink bad beer.) Salute!
Dan Rodricks' column appears each Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. He is the host of "Midday" on WYPR-FM.