While France might be more famous for its wine that doesn’t mean that's all they offer on the menu! French beer might not be the main star when it comes to French beverages but there's still some great options and a rich history to explore.
So, let's take a look at French beers in more detail, shall we? Breweries were once a very common sight in France and it's believed there was over 1000 of them at one point during the early 20th century. The growing trend and move towards industrialisation meant many of these breweries shut down.
France wasn't alone in this respect as many countries that once had thriving breweries saw their numbers deplete over a short period of time. Things just had to move with the times however while this limited the variety of beers in France it did also bring about some new names as well.
Bière de Garde (the English translation means beer for keeping) was one such beer and it's still a popular choice in France today! It's a strong pale ale that is usually top fermented with a golden copper-like colour.Most of the beer market in France is controlled by the major breweries and most of the options will be pale ales and lagers. Popular beers like Kronenbourg were made in France and the Kronenbourg Brewery is still housed there today. Many of the older more well-known French beers and breweries like Pelforth famous for its stronger tasting malts are owned by the Heineken International group. However, their beers are still being produced and are still quite popular.
The French certainly seem to favour the pale ales as you've no doubt surmised even one of their more speciality beers the previously mentioned Bière de Garde is a pale ale. However, France does certainly have more to offer than just those.
Looking Beyond The Pale Ales
France has taken a more quirky approach to some of its beer production, for example, there are speciality March beers. These beers are produced in a limited supply and are top-fermented ales with a more moderate kick and a darker colour.
Many French breweries have their own special March beers and they are well worth checking out if you're looking for something a little different but they are only served during the month of March so time your visit carefully. Like many other countries France also has its own festive Christmas beers as well and if you want something a little different then a whisky beer might just be what you're looking for!
Whisky beers and made with peat-smoked malt and are one of France's most popular specialty beers. While at first glance France's selection of beers might seem a little lacking there is actually a lot of choice out there it's just a little harder to find.
Cheers To French Beer!
French beers are always going to have a hard time standing out when compared with their more famous "sibling" in French wines. Wine is really France's national drink and some would even argue it's an essential part of France's national identity.
But despite this France does still have a thriving beer industry and it's actually the largest producer of barley in Europe and it also holds the distinction of being the world's largest malt exporter as well. So, there is certainly still demand and while French beers might never be as famous as their wines they still have plenty of fans.
Industrialisation and the damage caused by World War 2 certainly had a big effect on France's beer market but trends are changing. France (like many other countries) as seen a sharp increase in the number of microbreweries and speciality beer sales have also shot up!
So, could we be seeing the first signs of French beers entering a new renaissance? Well, it's probably a little earlier to say but I think the future looks positive.