Welcome to the multifaceted world of French beers!
From the rustic breweries of Northern France crafting traditional bière de garde to the bustling streets of Paris where the craft beer revolution is taking shape, the French beer landscape is as diverse as its terroir.
Whether you’re a seasoned beer connoisseur or a burgeoning beer enthusiast, prepare to embark on a fascinating journey to explore the best beers, styles, and brands of France.
- Explore the unique French beer landscape, rich in history and flavor.
- Discover top 10 famous brands as well as lesser-known gems with distinct flavors.
- Learn about pairing beers with food, craft beer revolution and visiting breweries for a full appreciation of French culture.
Exploring the French Beer Landscape
The French beer landscape is as varied as the country itself, offering a unique blend of traditional Belgian-inspired brews and innovative beers that explore a myriad of ingredients.
Tracing back to the 16th century, the first recorded beer was brewed in France, including the popular blond beer. Brands like Brasserie Dulion, Kronenbourg 1664, and La Choulette have left a lasting imprint on the French beer scene, embodying the legacy and innovation of French brewing.
The craft beer revolution has significantly shaped the French beer landscape, with an increasing number of craft breweries appearing throughout the nation. These breweries are not just producing beer; they are creating art, exploring various styles like pale ale, and pushing the boundaries of what beer can be.
The French beer landscape is a testament to time and tradition, a reflection of the country’s rich history and its innovative spirit. From the best French beers to the flourishing craft beer scene, France’s beer landscape is a fascinating field to explore.
The Rich History of French Beer
French beer has a long-standing history that can be traced back to the Paris brewing charter of 1498, which regulated and imposed taxes on beer production, including famous French beers.
The bière de garde, a customary French beer style, stands testament to this history. Known for its distinctive strong, malty flavor, it is one of the most famous French beers, and an epitome of French brewing tradition.
Kronenbourg, established in 1664, is the oldest and most renowned French wheat beer. Known for its unique flavors, including whisky malt aromas, it has been delighting beer lovers for centuries.
Despite its rich history and vast variety, French beer has a rather poor standing in the international beer-loving community. However, with its variety of flavors catering to different taste buds, the French beer landscape is slowly but surely capturing global attention.
Top 10 Famous French Beer Brands
To truly experience the French beer landscape, one must venture into the realm of its famous brands.
Some of the popular French beer brands include:
- La Choulette
- 3 Monts Bière de Flandre
- La Débauche
With each offering a unique taste experience. Established in 1664, Kronenbourg has been producing delicious beers for over three and a half centuries. Despite being an industrial beer suitable for budget-friendly drinking occasions, the general opinion of Kronenbourg beers is quite pleasant.
Their signature lager, presented in a green bottle, offers a fine bitterness, a mellow texture, and a malt-hop finish, providing a refreshing experience.
La Choulette beer, an artisanal brew from the village of Hordain, is another noteworthy French brand. Its fruity, malty flavors and delicate bitterness have earned it a place in the growing craft beer scene in France.
The 3 Monts Bière de Flandre is a blonde beer of high fermentation with an alcohol content of 8.5% by volume. It boasts an aroma of wheat and berries with a slightly bitter finish of licorice, making it a delectable choice for beer connoisseurs.
The La Débauche brewery is renowned for its delectable craft beer. With its distinctive hoppy flavor complemented by a pleasant fruity taste, it’s a perfect example of the innovation in the French beer industry.
Diving into French Beer Styles
Beyond the famous brands, the world of French beer offers a plethora of distinctive styles. The most renowned style of traditional French beer is the Bière de Garde. Other styles that intrigue the palate include Choulette, Château Rouge, La Bière des sans Culottes, Goudale, and Biere des Trois Monts.
Bière de Garde, meaning “beer for keeping,” is a traditional French beer style that is brewed in the northern regions of France. It is characterized by its strong, malty flavor and high alcohol content.
The Choulette is an amber beer with a rich flavor that embodies the influence of regional traditions. The La Biere Des Sans Culottes is renowned for its French blonde beers while the Goudale is an ale brewed in the Bière de Garde style boasting multiple hops and malt varieties.
The Biere Des Trois Monts is a French beer with abundant character, offering a selection of different types of beer to choose from, including a triple grain blonde, triple style beer, saison, and more.
Uncovering Hidden Gems: Lesser-Known French Beers
While the limelight often falls on the famous brands, the French beer landscape is teeming with lesser-known beers that are hidden gems waiting to be discovered.
Choulette beer, Licorne black beer, La Biere Des Sans Culottes, The Levrette, The Debauche Sacred Coeur V, La Debauche, Jenlain Blonde, and Britt Blanche are some of the lesser-known French beers that offer unique flavors and experiences for beer enthusiasts.
Choulette’s beers are delightful! They have fruity and malty flavors with a subtle bitterness. This makes them inviting to all beer lovers. Autumn is the ideal time to enjoy Choulette beers, as the flavors harmoniously balance with the transition of the seasons.
Licorne black beer is a dark beer with a rich texture and deep flavor, offering a unique taste experience that sets it apart from the typical blond or amber beers.
The La Biere Des Sans Culottes, with its subtle sweetness that makes it smooth and enjoyable, is an ideal beverage to consume on a hot summer day.
The Art of Pairing French Beers with Food
Pairing French beers with food is an art form that involves the combination of various flavors and textures to create a unique and delightful experience. The relationship between cheese and beer pairings, for instance, follows the principle of opposites attract.
Sour beers with sweet cheeses and fatter cheeses with bitter beers make for a delicious contrast that complements each other perfectly.
The strength of the beer plays a significant role when pairing with cheese. Stronger beers are necessary to pair with aged, more flavourful cheeses.
The same principle applies to the texture of cheese.
Soft, fatty cheeses are best accompanied by lighter beers with higher levels of carbonation, providing a balance of flavors that delights the taste buds.
Craft Beer Revolution in France
The craft beer revolution in France is a phenomenon of the rise of small, independent breweries producing unique and innovative beers. France is the European leader in the business of craft beer, boasting over 1,000 microbreweries.
This revolution has had a considerable influence on the beer industry, resulting in an expansion in the selection of beer styles available, as well as a rise in the quality of beer produced.
French craft beer is distinct in that it typically fuses traditional brewing techniques with contemporary methods and ingredients. This has produced unique and creative beer styles, such as sour beers, barrel-aged beers, and craft beers like wild ales.
The La Débauche brewery, for instance, is renowned for crafting daring beer styles, reflecting the audacious spirit of the French craft beer revolution.
Visiting French Breweries: A Beer Lover’s Guide
Visiting French breweries is an excellent way to gain insight into the country’s beer culture. One can explore renowned breweries, taste distinctive beers, and acquire knowledge about the brewing process.
Some highly recommended breweries include Nano Brasserie SPO, Popihn Sauvages, La Cagole, Bière des Trois Monts, Licorne Black Beer, Barge du Canal, La Gorge Fraîche, Jardin du Mont des Recollets, Brasserie Artisanale Fort Boyard, and BAPBAP Bière Artisanale.
Kronenbourg 1664, the most renowned beer in France, is widely available and a must-visit for any beer enthusiast.
Visiting French breweries is not just about tasting beer, but about immersing oneself in the culture, history, and craftsmanship that goes behind every brew.
It’s an opportunity to appreciate the art of brewing, to engage with the people behind the process, and to truly savor the flavors of France.
Sustainable Brewing Practices in France
In France, sustainable brewing practices involve utilizing organic or locally sourced ingredients, decreasing carbon emissions, aiding local farmers, and emphasising cleanliness and lack of unpleasant odors.
French breweries commonly employ organic or locally sourced ingredients, such as hops, barley, and wheat, to manufacture their beers.
French breweries are also implementing measures to reduce their carbon footprints, such as utilizing renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, and investing in energy-efficient equipment.
They are dedicated to providing assistance to local farmers by procuring their materials from nearby farms and employing sustainable agricultural techniques.
Best Beer by Country:
In conclusion, the world of French beers is a fascinating blend of history, tradition, innovation, and craftsmanship.
From the traditional bière de garde to the innovative craft beer, from the famous brands to the hidden gems, French beer offers a unique experience for every beer enthusiast.
As the craft beer revolution continues to reshape the French beer landscape, and as breweries increasingly embrace sustainable practices, the future of French beer looks promising.
Here’s to discovering and savoring the best of French beers!
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the most popular beer in France?
Kronenbourg 1664 is the most popular beer in France, widely available and a well-known favorite.
What beer do they serve in Paris?
If you’re looking for a brew in Paris, you can’t go wrong with the staples served on tap: Pilsner Urquell, Paulaner Hefeweizen, and Stella Artois.
What is the oldest beer in France?
Kronenbourg 1664. Blanc is the oldest beer in France, having been created with a twist over 350 years ago in 1664.
What is the traditional French beer style?
Bière de garde is the traditional French beer style.
What are some lesser-known French beers?
Experience a unique taste with some lesser-known French beers such as Choulette beer, Licorne black beer, La Biere Des Sans Culottes, The Levrette, The Debauche Sacred Coeur V, La Debauche, Jenlain Blonde, and Britt Blanche.
Lead marketer, brewer, dad, and husband. Pretty much an all-round awesome guy. I’ve been homebrewing for +20 yrs, an aspiring pro-brewer and micro brewery owner!