France may be famous for its wine, but that doesn’t mean French beer should be overlooked. Far from it—it’s home to some truly spectacular varieties, and don’t let the mass-produced stuff fool you. There’s far more to French beer than meets the eye with the likes of Kronenbourg paling in comparison to a lot of lesser-known gems, and with the country even having its own traditional styles it’s high time you tried French beer for yourself.
The background to the beer
The French have been brewing beer for centuries with smaller, rural breweries being established that catered to the needs of local residents. This all changed with the arrival of industrialisation, however, and by the early 20th century these smaller breweries were replaced by larger (and fewer) urban ones. But that hasn’t stopped the level of variety on offer. Regional varieties of French beer can still be found as well as the traditional top-fermented Bière de Garde, and then there’s the style of monastic/trappist brewing seen in parts of Northern France.
The modern day culture
These days there are plenty of different styles to choose from, and with the rise of brewpubs, beer cafes, festivals and microbreweries the level of choice is expanding all the time. It’s something that’s become a part of French culture—indeed, a lot of French people will pick up a bottle of beer before they will a glass of wine, just showing the growth of the French beer market over the last few years, and if you want to experience the delights of French beer for yourself you need to take a look around. Here at Beers of Europe we’ve got plenty of big names as well as a few surprises for you to choose from, so take a browse through our range and you’ll soon see why French beer is rapidly competing with the wine…
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