All posts by Camille Malmquist

paris beer week 2

Our Guide to Paris Beer Week 2014

The first in what hopes to be an annual event, Paris Beer Week aims to encourage both the making and consumption of craft beer. Throughout the week, bars, shops, and brewers will be hosting a wide range of events at locations across the city. With so many events on the schedule – beer tastings, lectures, brewing demonstrations, tap takeovers, beer-pairing dinners and more – there are going to be some tough decisions, but we’re here to help narrow it down.

Beer by Nick MalmquistPhoto by Nick Malmquist

Friday, May 23

The opposite of an afterparty, the Soirée Beerfore is Beer Week’s sneak preview. Eleven breweries from Paris and Ile-de-France have joined forces, each choosing a different hop for La 11, a beer brewed at the Parisis brewery just for Beer Week. La 11 will be unveiled tonight at five bars around town: La Fine Mousse, Brewberry, Les Trois 8, Le SuperCoin, and Café Louis.

Saturday, May 24

7:00am-3:00pm Open House/Brew Day – For early birds and fans of day drinking, Deck and Donohue, Paris’ newest brewery, are opening up to the public. Watch them in action as they brew some of their already-popular beer, and taste some special experimental batches on tap. Given the quality of what they’ve produced so far, these promise to be both interesting and tasty.

12:00pm Une Journée à l’Usine – Beer week kicks off at Les Trois 8, where they’re opening early to pour the three beers they brewed in collaboration with La Brasserie Outland in a 24-hour brewing marathon last February. We’re especially looking forward to the coffee-infused (with Belleville beans, obviously) morning beer, 6-14.

4:00pm-7:00pm Tasting: The Kernel – Popular beer shop Biérocratie hosts The Kernel, one of England’s best (and hardcore beer-geekiest) craft breweries. They’ll be pouring rich porters and single-hop IPAs, and serving cheeses hand-selected by the brewer to accompany them.

5:00pm-12:00am Grand Quizz de La Fine Mousse – Paris’ best-known beer bar has a simple challenge for you: taste all the beers and match them with their descriptions. Even if you don’t get them all right, it will be a lot of fun trying.

paris beer week

Sunday, May 25

11:00am-8:00pm Biéromatique: Brew in Your Washing Machine – Yes, really. An all-day demonstration of how to rig up a home brewery in a washing machine, which you’ll be able to see in action on Friday. Stop by Express de Lyon to watch, and have one of their excellent tap beers while you learn.

12:00pm-5:00pm Brunch/Tasting with Birra 32 – It’s all Italian, all day at L’Epicerie Musicale (55, quai de Valmy, 75010) where they’re pairing Italian salumi and cheeses with beers from one of Italy’s foremost craft brewers, 32 Via dei Birrai. To complete the ambiance, they’ll be spinning ’50s Italian music on vinyl.

2:00pm-6:00pm Afternoon Snack and Dessert Contest with BrewDogLa Cave à Bulles will be pouring some lesser-known beers from BrewDog alongside a dessert buffet. Free entry if you bring a dessert to share, otherwise it costs 7 euros for a glass, a drink, and all the dessert you can eat. Diabetes what?

Two tasting workshops this afternoon offer a chance to educate your palate:

From 2:00pm-5:00pm, at La Fine Mousse, the Atelier de perfectionnement à l’analyse de la bière promises to perfect your beer analysis technique, with a focus on identifying and naming faults in beer. The workshop will be led in French, and is aimed at people already well-versed in brewing and beer-tasting. Space is limited to 20, and cost is 55 euros. Sign up here (2 euro internet supplement) or in person at the bar. Recommended for the serious beer geek, and people who don’t like dessert (see above).

For those just learning about beer, Brewberry‘s Atelier de dégustation A la découverte de la bière takes place from 5:00pm-9:00pm. You’ll learn about the history of brewing, key ingredients, and brewing technique as well as sensory analysis (read: tasting). 6 samples (10cl each) and a snack are included, price is 30 euros. Reserve in person at the shop or by calling 01 43 36 53 92.

6:00pm Twist and Stout – One of our favorite places to drink beer in Paris, Le SuperCoin celebrates French stout with three examples of the hearty, dark beer on tap, including one specially brewed for the occasion by Outland and Brasserie Crazy Hops. ’60s music and dancing to complete the theme.

Visuels-Page-Concours-SlideMonday, May 26

After a busy weekend, that first day back at work might be rough. The schedule today is light, but two mellow events in the evening promise to take the edge off the beginning of the week.

Starting at 6:00pm, you can kick back in the new indoor garden at Bar Demory with French, Swedish, and American beers. Fill your belly with housemade sausages and relax in the summery atmosphere.

From 7:00pm on, you can taste Brasserie Outland’s recent collaborations with Malmö, Le Paradis, La Barbaude, Crazy Hops (formerly Brasserie de l’Ourcq) and Les Brasseurs du Grand Paris (formerly My Beer Company) at La Fine Mousse. Live jazz music to help soothe your jangled nerves.

Tuesday, May 27

10:00am-7:00pm Public Brewing and Tasting – Back on the horse! Brasserie de la Goutte d’Or opens their doors for you to watch them brew and taste their wares. At 5:00pm, Brasserie Dieu du Ciel from Québec joins the party with another round of tastings. Don’t miss their Aphrodisiaque stout – it’s a real treat.

4:00pm-8:00pm Speed Tasting Westvleteren – La Cave à Bulles pits four powerhouse Quadrupels against each other in a head-to-head (pardon the pun) blind tasting to determine once and for all which one reigns supreme: Westvleteren 12, St, Bernardus ABT 12, Rochefort 10, or Rigor Mortis? Whatever you do, eat something before going here.

Tempting options abound tonight, so we’ll divide it up geographically:

On the Left Bank, start with Bières et Fromages à la Butte aux Cailles from 5:00pm-7:00pm. The famed Fromagerie Quatrehomme will provide the cheese, and “beerologist” Elisabeth Pierre will lead the tasting and beer pairings at Le Barrault-Vins (70-72, rue Barrault, 75013). Then head to Brewberry from 7:00pm-11:00pm for Sur la Route des USA, a six-course beer pairing dinner featuring – what else? – American microbrews and cuisine. Amuse-bouche, two starters, main, cheese, and dessert with a beer pairing for each will run you 50 euros. Reserve in person at the shop or by calling 01 43 36 53 92.

On the Right Bank, begin at 6:00pm at Bar Demory with Be Crazy, Love Hops. Jerôme Picard of Brasserie de l’Ourcq (now Crazy Hops) will answer questions about brewing, hops, and his own beers as he guides you through a tasting of his work. Meanwhile, the Demory sausage makers have developed a special dish incorporating hops for the occasion. At 7:00pm, continue on to La Fine Mousse for Mixology Night co-hosted with the crew from Experimental Cocktail Club, because if you must make cocktails with beer, you might as well do it with the czars of the Paris cocktail scene. (If you miss it tonight, they’re doing it again, at ECC on Wednesday.) Follow up with Les Trois 8‘s Blind Test, initiation à la dégustation at 8:00pm, a craft beer tasting that promises to be both educational and fun. If you didn’t fill up on sausages earlier, and you wish there was an American beer dinner on this side of town, you’re in luck because Le Festin Nu is letting Les Brasseurs du Grand Paris take over their kitchen tonight from 7:00pm for Brasseur au Fourneau! They’ll be dishing up American specialties cooked with beer, designed to go with beer.

beer taps by Nick MalmquistPhoto by Nick Malmquist

Wednesday, May 28

Still conscious? Take the morning off, and tonight, we look to the North…

4:00pm-7:00pm La Brasserie Nøgne Ø, la Brasserie Sans Compromis – Bièrissime, a beer shop in the Marché St. Quentin, offers a tasting of beers from the creative and talented Norwegian brewers, Nøgne Ø.

6:00pm La Fièvre du Grand Nord – It’s Northern Fever night at Bar Demory, where they’ll be pouring beers from Södra Maltfabriken (Sweden) and Fanø Bryghus (Denmark).

6:00pm-9:00pm Belgium Blind Taste – Meanwhile, on the Left Bank, Bières Cultes (the one at 44, rue de Boulangers, 75005) will have Sint Stefanus blonde on tap, and if you do well in their Belgian beer quiz you could take home prizes bearing the abbey brewery’s logo.

8:00pm Les Brasseurs du Grand Paris at The Pure Malt – Brewer Anthony Baraff, the American half of Brasseurs du Grand Paris, will be on site at this Scottish pub to pour his beers, give away t-shirts, and talk brewing.

Thursday, May 29

1:00pm-6:00pm Atelier Brassage Amateur – Florian, a passionate homebrewer, demonstrates how to brew at home and what you need to get started in Left Bank beer shop Biérocratie.

4:00pm-8:00pm Distrikt Rock the Louxor! – If you’ve got Beer Week fatigue but still want to participate, this is the event for you. Distrikt Beer invades the Louxor movie theater bar with their brewer on site, beers, tapas, and a special playlist. You need a movie ticket (9 euros) to access the bar, so might as well stay for a film.

Not in the mood for a movie night? There are no fewer than four tap takeovers happening tonight.

Starting at 7:00pm, Danish brewing vanguard Mikkeller takes over all 15 taps at L’Express de Lyon, while at La Fine Mousse, La Nuit du Lambic promises a wide variety of fruity lambics, sour gueuzes, and other spontaneously fermented brews. Then at 8:00pm, Brasserie de La Goutte d’Or joins forces with Le SuperCoin for AfroBeer & FoodSystem, celebrating Africa and the 18th arrondissement with food and beer made in this, Paris’ most pan-African neighborhood. At the same time, Swedish brewery Malmö Bryggus invades Les Trois 8, where the brewers will be happy to guide you through a tasting of their wares.

Friday, May 30

There is a lot going on this evening, to start the weekend off right.

4:00pm – Black is Beautifull (sic) – Didn’t believe that washing machine brewery constructed last Sunday could work? Watch as it gets put to use, brewing a black IPA at Express de Lyon. If you prefer tasting to brewing, go instead to La Cave à Bulles, where Michaël Novo, brewer of Brasserie du Mont Salève is offering a free tasting of his wares.

5:00pm-8:00pm – Two beer shops on opposite ends of town host tastings, just in time for happy hour. On the Left Bank, local brewer Emmanuel of Brasserie de la Vallée de Chevreuse will be pouring his organic Volcelest beers at Biérocratie. For Right Bankers, England’s St. Austell Brewery takes pride of place at Bièrissime.

6:00pm – Again, concurrent but similarly-themed events on each side of the river, this time Italian. Bières Cultes in the 5th hosts an Aperitivo with Italy’s Extraomnes brewery until 9:00pm, while Luigi Nastri, Italian chef of La Gazzetta in the 12th, will serve dishes inspired by Birra 32.

8:00pm – Rogue ‘n’ Roll – Oregon’s most-exported brewery is the star tonight at Les Trois 8, where the playlist of American rock comes from Rogue’s brewer, and the night promises fun, special beers, and surprises.

Saturday, May 31

11:00am-3:00pm – Open House at Deck and Donohue – Taste the brewery’s 5 regular beers as well as specialties brewed just for Beer Week.

3:00pm-6:30pm – Paris International Beer Celebration – The first session of the epic grand finale event for Beer Week at Café A. 30 breweries will be pouring samples and the awards for the homebrewing competition will be awarded. Tickets for the afternoon session cost 10 euros and include a glass and 4 galopins (12.5cl tastes). There is also an all-day VIP pass (49 euros) which, in addition to access to the day and evening sessions gets you a T-shirt, poster, barbecue dinner with the brewers, and 12 galopins. Tickets can be purchased online here or in person at Les Trois 8, Le SuperCoin, Brasserie de la Goutte d’Or, Express de Lyon, La Fine Mousse, Brewberry, La Cave à Bulles, A la Bière Comme à la Bière, and Biérocratie.

4:00pm-10:00pm – “Surprise” Tasting: Brasserie Sainte Crucienne – The brewer from Sainte Crucienne, one of Alsace’s best and most innovative breweries, will be at Chop’In to offer a sneak preview of his latest beer, an on-trend black IPA.

5:00pm-8:00pm – Tasting: St. Austell – In case you missed yesterday’s tasting, La Moustache Blanche will host another chance to discover the Cornwall brewery’s offerings.

6:00pm – This is USABar Demory celebrates the United States with beers from California Brewery Anderson Valley, hot dogs, music, and dancing.

8:30pm-2:00am – Paris International Beer Celebration – The party continues at Café A with the evening session, which features a giant beer bar and dance floor. Tickets are 15 euros and include a glass and 4 galopins or two demis. See purchasing information above.

Sunday, June 1

9:00am-12:00pm – Run the Distrikt! – Gluttons for punishment can sweat out their excesses of the week with a 5k or 15k run in the country, with a glass of La 11 beer waiting at the finish. Registration information here.

12:30pm-4:00pm – Le Brunch Bavarois – For those who’d prefer to sleep in, stay in town, and fill up on sausages and pretzels, Bar Demory‘s Bavarian brunch might be a better option.

Monday June 2

Let the detox week commence!

Additional Reading

 

La Moustache Blanche craft beer Paris

Craft beer blows up in Paris

At long last, it’s an exciting time to be a beer lover in Paris.

Until recently, beer drinkers in France who wanted to quaff anything with character had to be content with a limited number of foreign-made beers, mostly from Belgium. The Belgian brewing tradition is long and revered, featuring a wealth of brews in traditional styles. But as devotees of craft beer know, there is more to beer than simple tradition. Microbrewers in the US and UK have been bucking tradition for decades now, and in doing so have revitalized an industry and gained legions of passionate customers. In more recent years, while craft beers have taken off in neighboring countries like Denmark and Italy, France has lagged behind, content with its industrially-made Kronenbourg. That’s all changing. It seems that in Paris, craft beer has finally arrived.

Camille's favorite Paris beer shops: Brewberry
Camille’s favorite Paris beer shops: Brewberry

Strictly defined, a craft beer is one made by a small brewery – in the United States this means one that produces less 6 million or fewer barrels per year – with the majority of beers being brewed with 100% barley malt. An American craft brewery must also be independent, meaning that at least 75% of it is owned or financially controlled by non-corporate interests. France lacks a specific definition of craft beer, but its ‘bière artisanale’ category covers a wide range of models, including Trappist ales, regional beers, and microbrews. Despite differences in legal definitions, craft brewers the world over share traits of innovation. Working from a base of respect for traditional styles, they reformulate classic recipes with unique twists or even create new styles using conventional ingredients or techniques.

“Before about three years ago, the only beers being brewed in France were very classic, inspired by the Belgian tradition,” explains Cécile Delorme, owner of Brewberry, who began driving to the Netherlands to hand-import beers for her shop when the locally available selection didn’t offer enough variety. “But now, new kinds of French brewers, inspired by the beers of the world – in particular the hoppy craft beers of the United States – are starting to make and sell different kinds of beers.”

Camille's favorite craft beer bars: Express de Lyon
Camille’s favorite craft beer bars: Express de Lyon

The craft brewing trend that took hold in England and the United States in the 1970s and ’80s has taken much longer to arrive in France, but beer itself is not a foreign concept. In addition to the deeply ingrained wine culture of France, regions like Brittany, Alsace, and the Nord-Pas de Calais (near the Belgian border) all have longstanding brewing traditions, and France’s brewery-beer halls (the word ‘brasserie’ actually means brewery) were very popular places to eat, drink, and dance in Paris in the first half of the twentieth century.

Companies such as Gallia and Demory, revivals of defunct Parisian beer brands, are looking to bring this culture back. “Many people didn’t know that beer could be more than the industrial stuff poured in cafés, says Jonathan Kron, co-founder of Demory. “When they find out that small, tasteful beers exist, they prefer that.” Delorme concurs: “People are drinking less, but better.  Once they try a beer with real flavor, they don’t want to go back.” In fact, according to Kron, “Industrial beer sales are declining in France, while sales of artisanal beers are increasing.” Given this preference among Parisian consumers of quality over quantity, and the increasing desire to consume local, non-industrial products, craft beer is primed for a boom.

“It’s changing very fast in Paris – we’re catching up to cities like Rome and Copenhagen, and in five years Paris will be one of the top beer cities in Europe.” predicts Simon Thillou, who founded Paris’ second-oldest beer shop, La Cave à Bulles, and is cited by his peers as a major instigator of the current beer revolution in Paris. “If Simon hadn’t been there, we probably wouldn’t be selling French craft beer,” says Claudia Lerin-Falliero, co-founder of Le Supercoin.

Camille's favorite craft beer bars: Le SuperCoin
Camille’s favorite craft beer bars: Le SuperCoin

Where to drink craft beer in Paris

The availability of good beer in Paris has expanded from a reasonable selection of Belgians to include a rapidly growing set of craft beers from smaller producers in the UK, the Netherlands, Denmark, France, and even the USA.  While bars like Académie de la Bière and Falstaff continue to delight patrons with their libraries of Trappist and Abbey beers, there is a wave of newer bars where serious beer lovers can go to get their craft brew fix from a wider geographic palette.

The stars of this burgeoning scene include Express de Lyon, an otherwise nondescript PMU bar that just happens to pour tasty beers from the likes of Craig Allan, Mikkeller, and BrewDog; Le SuperCoin, whose all-French beer lineup is impressive not only in its diversity but also in its low prices and lack of pretense (“It’s not Sartre, it’s beer,” quips Lerin-Falliero); and La Fine Mousse, where the pain of paying 7€ for a demi is tempered by the fact that you’re unlikely to find this beer on tap anywhere else.

For those who prefer to do their beer-drinking on the couch at home, Paris has a few excellent beer shops, with more popping up all the time. La Cave à Bulles is the mothership for people seeking French craft brews, where Thillou (who was also instrumental in opening La Fine Mousse) has helped many a beer-lover find a new favorite among his collection. Bootlegger is a favorite for affordable bottles, and newcomer La Moustache Blanche appeals for its cool vibe, central location, and manifest enthusiasm for all the good beers of the world.

Camille's favorite craft beer shops: La Moustache Blanche
Camille’s favorite craft beer shops: La Moustache Blanche

Defying categorization, Brewberry, Bière et Malt, and Brasserie de la Goutte d’Or add more ways to buy and consume craft beer in Paris. Brewberry stocks hundreds of beers for purchase, and keeps a smaller selection chilled for on-site drinking. Bière et Malt has a similar setup, and though there are not as many beers to choose from, all are stocked cold for immediate consumption at one of the shop’s four tables. At Brasserie de la Goutte d’Or, the first actual brewery within Paris for many decades, informal tastings are offered a few evenings a week and bottles can be purchased to go for very reasonable prices. Inspired by the predominantly African neighborhood where it’s located, their four beers are brewed using exotic ingredients such as dates, allspice, rooibos, and cola nuts.

Camille’s favorite craft beer bars in Paris

See all our listings for craft beer bars in Paris

Camille’s favorite craft beer shops in Paris

See all our listings for craft beer shops in Paris

Camille's favorite craft beer bars: La Fine Mousse
Camille’s favorite craft beer bars: La Fine Mousse

Trends in French craft beer

The current contingent of French craft beers is characterized by a trend towards dry-hopping and enthusiasm for going beyond the boundaries of traditional French beer categories. Craig Allan, a Scotsman who lives in France and brews in Belgium (but hopes to move production to France this year), makes the rightfully popular Agent Provocateur, a medium-bodied beer with a floral-citrus hop character. It has more in common with an American IPA than a French ambrée.  In the tradition of German rauchbier, beers made with smoked malt are gaining in popularity as well – both Brasserie de la Goutte d’Or and My Beer Company (a brewery just Northeast of Paris in Levallois-Perret) are selling them.  While French brewers are clearly inspired by craft brews from around the world, they maintain a certain subtlety and refinement of flavor that, when you think about it, is perfectly French. Combine these with the assertive, hop-forward beers from UK breweries like BrewDog and Magic Rock and the beer-geek declensions of hops, malts, and yeasts by Danish cult favorite Mikkeller, and Paris’ emergent beer scene is looking fresh, dynamic, and inclusive.

The idea of pairing craft beer with food has been a little slower to catch on. As most restaurateurs don’t have time to track down individual breweries, they’re limited by what the major distributors are offering. In addition, diners in French restaurants are expecting wine. “The French culture of gastronomy is very conservative – people are shocked when you suggest that a beer goes with foie gras,” says Thillou. The French wine industry encourages the idea that only wine can accompany a fine meal, happy to keep beer in its place as a working-class beverage. “There is a certain snobbery which persists and for some people beer cannot be taken as seriously as wine, ” says Allan. “This is true in other countries but is fairly pronounced in France.” Lerin-Falliero is optimistic that this new movement will attract a wider audience of French drinkers to beer. “I hope craft brewing will extend the beer culture to more cultivated tastes while still remaining a drink of the people,” she says.

Camille's favorite craft beer shops: La Cave à Bulles
Camille’s favorite craft beer shops: La Cave à Bulles

There are signs that these perceptions are beginning to evolve. Les Dessous de Paris, Demory’s latest venture, is at least partly focused on serving food made to complement their beers. Craft brewers are enthusiastic about the concept, too. As Thierry Roche, founder and brewmaster of La Brasserie de La Goutte d’Or explains, “Wine and beer are compatible to people who love good drinking and food, and that’s the case for the French.” And Allan is hopeful: “There is perhaps more interest now coming from restaurants but I think it’s just the start. Paris is still far behind Rome in terms of interest in craft beer – but it’s changing.”

Additional Links

Fried chicken on the menu for the first pop-up beer lunch on January 20.

Pop-up brew pub pairs craft beer & comfort food

 

 

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Fried chicken on the menu for the first pop-up beer lunch on January 20.

Pairing beer with food is an under-appreciated art in France, but cooking enthusiast and avid home brewer Phillip Lamb is looking to change that with a “pop-up brew pub”.  In a new monthly event, he prepares a three-course lunch (entrée, plat, dessert) and chooses an appropriate beer to pair with each course.  The inaugural event, which took place at L’Express de Lyon on January 20th, featured Southern comfort food: chicken liver toasts, fried chicken, and sautéed greens, served with American, German, and Belgian brews.

The next lunch will take place on February 10th, with a Mardi Gras theme and beers from Brooklyn Brewery, location TBD.  30€ buys the full lunch with beer pairings, or it’s 20€ if you just want the grub.

Tickets can be purchased here, and you can keep up with news like menu announcements and schedule changes via their Twitter feed.

From Demory Paris pop-up beer bar (photo Camille Malmquist)

Paris’ First Pop-Up Beer Bar

Founded in 1827, bought out in the 1940s, and closed for good in 1953, Bières Demory already had a long history when Kai Lorch succeeded in resurrecting the brand in 2009. Currently brewed in Germany, Demory’s Astroblonde and Roquette Blanche beers have already gained a certain popularity in Paris. They’re available on tap in several bars and cafés, and in bottles in large supermarket chains such as Monoprix.

In order to increase brand visibility, Demory has more recently launched a pop-up beer bar in Paris. They’ve teamed up with “culture collective” From Paris to open From Demory Paris on the rue Quincampoix – two steps from beer geek paradise La Cave à Bulles. Considering the hip pedigree, it’s a surprisingly laid-back beer hall-type space.

A long bar extends the length of the room, facing a row of whitewashed picnic tables in the front and a couple of cozy couches further in. In back, next to the kitchen, there’s a Foosball table in a room lit by chandeliers. Kind of like a cleaned-up college bar, where beer drinkers over the age of 23 can still feel comfortable.

Obviously, the beers on tap are Demory: the blonde, the blanche, and a dark beer that is only available on tap here, and at a few select cafés in town. A demi costs a pretty standard 3€, and pints come in at a wallet-friendly 5€. They have a few beer cocktails on a chalkboard, but why bother when the beer is so drinkable on its own?

Beyond the beer, there are a few food options, including the “Coney Island Dinner” with a hot dog, bagel, or chili for 5€, and a planche of charcuterie for 15€. From Demory Paris has also been playing host to a number of events such as art expos and DJ nights, and a Christmas market featuring vintage and locally made clothes and accessories.

After January 5th, the pop-up will close for renovations and to reflect upon what they’ve learned from the experience. They hope to reopen a Demory bar in a more permanent capacity 2013, and even have designs on building their own brewery within the Paris city limits.

From Demory Paris
 62 rue Quincampoix, 75004
Open every day through January 5 from 6pm-2am