Sunday, September 27, 2009

Among the Frenchmen

As I told earlier this month, I spent some of my Summer vacation in France. Before I went, I heard that France was not a beer country, and after visiting the country I agree. In the towns and villages I visited, the French beers sold were in most cases typical eurolagers that could be described as boring compared to many other European lager beers.

It was nice trying Duvel for the first time. And I did it in France.

The French are good at wines and spirits. I have tasted many good red and rosé wines this Summer, and a cognac or a French brandy is often very nice. I also liked the French pastis. I have visited Greece several times and am very fond of ouzo, so that was no surprise to me as the two spirits have very much in common.

From a French Supermarket: Value packs abound.

Supermarkets in France have a good selection in beers. Many Belgian beers are available in the shelves together with French and Dutch lagers. Often you can find value packs of 20 or 30 bottles for a great price.

My fridge in France: Various thirst quenchers sold in French supermarkets.

I found the use of 0.25 litre bottles very funny at first. At home here in Norway 0.5 litre cans are the preferred measure, but 0.33 litre bottles are also widely sold. The fine thing about the small bottles in France, is that the beer is always fresh. That was an important point when I visited The Netherlands some years ago and found 0.20 litre glasses at pubs very amusing.

From another French supermarket.

I enjoyed being in France, but I feel that the leading French beer brands are not among the best I have tasted. Kronenbourg was nice to quench my thirst, but I would have loved to have a Pilsner Urquell or a Budvar instead. But still Kronenbourg and its French colleagues were nice lager beers - just like many I have tasted in Greece, Italy or Spain. They take away your thirst, but you know that better alternatives exist.

1 comment:

  1. French beer is very much under-rated in my opionion - I guess though because my parents live there I have an inside track on microbrewed stuff. Having said that, some of the more popular brands are very pleasant drinking, in particular La Goudale (which I see in your picture at the top of your blog), and also Trois Monts. From the Peronne area there is a nice, reasonably strong pale lager, called Colvert. In the Limousin there are the beers of the La Lemovice brewery, and if I remember rightly within 20 miles of my parents something like 8 craft breweries.