The current state of French craft beer is characterized by its ability to go beyond the limits of the traditional French beer category. Although French brewers are clearly inspired by the craft brew world, they retain a certain subtlety and sophistication of taste that, when you think about it, is perfectly French.
The wave of flavours and spices is so hot these days that new French brewers will also be experimenting in this arena. German smoked beer, a beer made from smoked malt, has gained tradition, popularity and is now sold in more than 100 countries around the world in the USA alone. Belenium is made in Burgundy with a blond beer with cassis, a Burgundy specialty made from blackcurrant. Another unique regional beer specialty is L'Auberge du lentil de l'Ouverture by La Brasserie de Sancerroise ( "Lentils of lentils"), which is refined with local green lentils produced in the famous Loire Valley denomination of la Brasseries de Sancerroise. Probably the most popular and visible beers are La Cagole (with a slogan called "La Cagole") and Old Port Marcel Pagnol, which the slogan claims is reminiscent of the "Old Port" (Marcel) of Pagol. Provence has some of the most famous breweries in the world, such as L'Auberge du Port and La Brasserie de Sancerroise, but they have their own specialties and a wide selection of beers.
France is Famous for Unique Beer Bottles
Souvenir shops throughout Marseille can buy a wide selection of souvenir bottles of their beers as well as souvenirs from the brewery itself. In France, you can't just choose the type of beer you want; beer is almost everywhere, and you can drink it at any time of the day or night, even in the middle of nowhere.
A typical beer experience in France probably ranges from the way a pint is ordered and served to the popular draught beers. France may be best known for wine, but when you think of beer in France, beer de garden usually springs to mind in the north-east. But the reality is that there is a whole thriving ecosystem of beers that is not limited to one style or region of the country. When you start looking at beer, it is surprisingly present in many parts of France. The Seattle Beer Examiner article is a good primer, although the numbers they cite from the breweries are far off the mark (more on that in a moment). With such a wide geographical range, serious beer lovers forget where they are going to get their craft brew fix. For those who prefer to brew their beer at home, there are a number of excellent beer shops in Paris, and there are more and more. With a reasonable selection of Belgians, the range of good beers in Paris is expanding to include a rapidly growing selection of beers from Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and even the United States.
As long as guests continue to be enthusiastic, there will be plenty of places in France where serious beer lovers can try their craft brew, even when out of town. Sources: 5
The French Beer Market
The French beer market, like the rest of Europe, is still dominated by the typical lager from Belgium and Germany, not to mention Heineken and Stella Artois, both of which operate in France. French consumers need more time to fully embrace their local speciality beers and develop a taste for what they otherwise rightly celebrate as a French indulgence. Imported beer from Belgium or Germany is easy to find throughout the country, but imported cheese and wine are often rejected in France. Perhaps one day the terms "beere biere mar" will occupy the same space as the term "bourgeois" in the language of beer and wine in France, but perhaps not for long. Other common beers are "beere beere mar" and "biere noel" ("bourgeois beer"). Some breweries offer so-called "biaes noels" for special occasions such as Christmas, New Year's Eve and Christmas Day. The popular "baesNoel," which will be available in bars and supermarkets from December, is produced by the brewery of the same name in Saint-Germain-sur-Rhone in southern France.
The Revival of French Beer
The revival of French beer was in full swing. 20 breweries opened in 1997 and a further 20 in the summer of 1998. It is now possible to drink "beere beere mar" ("spice beer") and "biere noel" ("baes noels" in English). The family - owned by a brewery family in Saint-Germain-sur-Rhone in the south of France - fought through difficult times and eventually were supported by a number of other breweries, many of which emerged in the late 1970s. The British pub chain Firkin, one of the largest in the world, has three pubs in France, in Paris, Marseille and Paris - Saint-Germain-sur-Rhone, as well as in London and London.