Beer in France
France has long enjoyed a reputation as the premier producer of wine in Europe, if not the world. But, with a new brewery opening every month in France, it’s clear the country’s love affair with the delights of beer is very much in the ascendency.
If you fancy an adventure to a new frontier in independent craft beer production, why not hop on one of our car ferries bound for Calais, Dieppe, Dunkirk or alternatively head to Amsterdam and into the country to explore the brewing revolution at your own pace.
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At the turn of the 20th century, there were over a thousand breweries in France, mostly small rural outfits selling small batch beers almost exclusively to locals.
But with a general move from the countryside into the cities, these breweries all but disappeared.
Much of the beer brewed and sold today in France is mass-produced by large commercial brewers, but in recent years many microbreweries have popped up as interest in beer has been piqued.
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The Alsace is the main commercial brewing centre of France, with famous breweries such as Kronenbourg (of 1664 fame) and Meteor having sites in the area in or around the city of Strasbourg, the region’s capital. There are tours to be had at many of these large industrialised facilities, though they may lack the charm of the smaller, independent breweries.
Elsewhere in France, many smaller, craft beer breweries have sprung up. In Paris, three notable must-visits are Brasserie Outland in the east of the city, Les Brasseurs du Grand Paris in the west of the city, and Get Radical Brewing who were recently named Best Brewer in France by ratebeer.com – quite the accolade!
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France has one of the greatest bar cultures in the world, rivalling its own world-class café culture for excellence and sheer volume.
However, France is still in the midst of its craft beer uprising, so finding artisanal ales and lagers can be tricky. If you’re looking to sample some high-quality beers and catch a live band, look no further than Les Trois 8 in Paris.
Also in the capital, La Fine Mousse stock a fantastic range of beers from across Europe, pouring them from over 20 taps which ring their impressive bar.
Elsewhere, try The Beers in Lyon and Le Sur Mesure in Nates – both excellent bars run by landlords who know good beer.
Image credit: Jeffrey Beall
France’s burgeoning beer scene means there is no shortage of festivals celebrating the wonderful combination of yeast, grain and hops in all its glorious varieties.
The Mulhouse Beer Festival, held in the city of Mulhouse in north east of France, holds an annual three-day beer festival. As well as sampling a number of local and international guest beers, visitors can watch beer contests, brewing demonstrations and beer and cheese-making workshops.
The Paris Beer Festival was established in 2013 and brings together 45 national and international breweries, as well as all the major players in the French craft beer movement. The festival offers enthusiasts a week of events, collaborative brewing, home brewing contests, and the now infamous “Grand Finale” closing day extravaganza.
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