Sunday, 14 July 2013


Beer O'Clock on Tour

Beer O'Clock on Tour moved on to France this week. It was never going to be a big beer drinking few days as we were in Paris to celebrate Lizzie's birthday, and really when in France you should probably drink at least some wine!

With this in mind my haul, which you can see below, was very small. Just 3 French beers, 2 from the same brewery accompannied my beers posted from Luxembourg and the solitary Belgian representative. Leffe was bought purely because I'd never seen it in a can before! Anyway with limited ammunition, here's what I've got.

The national lager.
As usual in these posts I'll start with the national beer, in this case Kronenbourg. I actually quite like Kronenbourg, it's a very drinkable tap lager and is not awful in the can form that I tried in the hotel. Are there better lagers? Absolutely. Can you do worse than Kronenbourg? Alot. In summing it up: Give it a go, you could do much worse!

For example you could have to drink Kronenbourg 1664. At home I think this is a fine beer that I'm more than happy to drink if offered. In France however, it was horrendous. So bad it almost became the first lager poured out on this trip. It was far far too sweet and there was close to no hop presence to balance this out. A really disappointing beer.

Great if you can find it!
Seemingly in every restaurant we went into there was Pelforth Blonde on tap. Naturally I had to give this beer a go; and I'm glad I did! It was probably the best beer I had in France, not that the bar was set very high at all! It's a pale ale, albeit English, and it's considerably better than any other of the readily available options.

Pelforth Brune is nowhere near as easy to get, but I think I liked it more than Pelforth Blonde. I picked up a can of this in the supermarket and was quite impressed when I drank it very late one night after a big wine dinner. It was a smooth dark(ish) beer, which would be good with either food or on it's own.

Canned is better!
As expected the Leffe Blonde in a can was far and away the best beer I had in France. It was certainly the freshest Leffe I've ever had, having only crossed a border rather than an ocean, and was considerably more drinkable, despite the ABV than anything the French could produce.

Possibly the biggest indictment on French beer is that all it's neighbours produce good beer. Even tiny Luxembourg produces a better lager than the French have managed to! You can read more about my review of Bofferding here.

The biggest problem I have with beer in France is that it's so expensive! Compare it to Georgia 3 weeks ago where I could get 15 beers for $10 where as in France it won't buy you one! The next biggest problem is that the beer, or at least the beer I tried, was crap. My advice would be to avoid France if you are after good beers or if you must have beer there bring lots of money or investigate the micro scene more than I did. I'll leave you with one thought though... The wine's very good in France!

A small French haul...

Remember it's always Beer O'Clock somewhere in the world!


  1. As much as it makes me sad to admit, the beer culture in France is sparse- extremely sparse. Akin to finding silk panties in a nunnery. Not all that likely but when you do, BY WOAH, it is a smash grin.

    Bars in France are far behind in drinking sophistication all together, unless you are at a dining place and there is a wine list.

    This year France added a 165% tax to beer- only beer, not wine or liquor.

    Everything you drank was macro swill, half (if not all) of which isn't even brewed within France. One simply cannot find craft beers at the local shop, like beer cultured places you are used to, it's a jungle here! Bottle shops like V&B will have SOME stuff but if you cruise by again, drop into Cave a bulles in Paris- they are a bottle shop (english speaking) who will walk you through the underground beers of France.

    It depresses me that this is what represents France for beer- diamond in the rough, just gotta look a little harder!


    1. Yeah I've heard of Cave a Bulles, but couldn't get out there.

      Everything I tried was macro because that's all I could get at the supermarket, which is where I'm aiming to buy all my beer from.

      How is the French craft beer scene?