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France 2023 Beer Notes

Discuss beer travel and regional information, including the best bars and places to check out around in Canada and around the world, and other chat that is not specific to Ontario.

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G.M. Gillman
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France 2023 Beer Notes

Post by G.M. Gillman »

Travelling in the South currently and this beer bar and brewery at Nice, called Beer District, is a good example of the current craft scene here, with excellent house, and other French brewery, selections. One encounters this regularly now in France. It co-exists with the older scene in the North and Paris based on biere de garde, Belgian beers and French versions, Irish pubs, etc.
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Post by G.M. Gillman »

Craft has spread through the nation including the North and Paris. Maybe 10-12 old family breweries survive in North that are bridges to craft like Jenlain whose biere de garde is spicy and malty, more English than Belgian. The later craft ales generally have either Belgian influence, or American for IPA. Pelforth Brown is from a former large regional in the North owned for decades now by Heineken..
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Post by G.M. Gillman »

IPA shown, Trois Chariots from Normandy, was great. As many today it is a kind of a mash up (sorry) between West Coast and NEIPA. A fine orchard fruits taste from the hops mixed orange, tangerine, grapefruit and lemon flavours. Light amber in colour. Unlike a few years ago IPA quality here easily rivals our own today,.

Next up is my review of bottled Urquell, about two months from packaging, similar more or less to what we get in Ontario, but which to me always tastes a notch above. We'll see this time.
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Post by Tapsucker »

It's interesting how before craft, we generally felt that the beer world had flattened out. Countless brands basically all making the same thing. Sure there were regional styles and some old world regional brewers left, mostly in Europe, but in general, we didn't expect much local when we were in a different locale. Yeah, some of those old world regional brewers also had some outposts in the new world or colonies as your blog so wonderfully explores, but basically it was same-same everywhere.

Then came craft and a rediscovery of regional styles and inventions of new ones. I didn't go to a bar in France to get a locally brewed west coast IPA, though I guess some went to a bar in North America to get a locally brewed Irish stout, but in general, beer became place based again. It actually made travel extra fun.

Somehow, I'm disappointed to read that you can get an IPA brewed in France with quality "easily rivals our own today". Perhaps you meant to indicate that the quality is as good, but the beer itself is uniquely French in some way, not just a clone?
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Fans are cash cows.
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Post by G.M. Gillman »

I meant it is as good - this sample especially was often better - compared to our IPA norm but not especially local French in any way. But for me that's okay, part of craft beer world wide today is working with established styles like IPA, Imperial Stout, Berliner Weisse, etc so when I find a particularly good one anywhere I enjoy that.

But some craft brewers here make a point to use local ingredients, or do foraging, e.g. some beers here (Nice area) use a local chick pea grain in the beer.

Some beer even from older brewers advertises say all malt or hops from a part of France, often the North or Alsace, I'll give an example later.

So you find all that too, plus the surviving bieres de garde although these are reduced in number now, saison and Abbeys seem much more popular, at least relative to the number of beers out there.

My approach, hence my interest in the Urquell sold here, is to find an especially good example of any style. More soon, and thanks for the comments on the blog.
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Post by G.M. Gillman »

House brand of a supermarket chain, U. From "BL Alsace", which is Brasserie Licorne, earlier Saverne, an old regional in eastern France. Owned for some years now by a regional German group.

All-malt lager and label states Alsace hops give an aroma. It does, a nice floral note, probably Strisselspalt. Good body, easily could pass for a worthy craft lager. Not at level of the best craft lager (imo), or say Urquell or best German pils, but still excellent and well-priced. Superior imo to French lager norm.
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Post by Tapsucker »

I'm liking the no pregnant woman symbol. What's the other one? Passing gas?
Brands are for cattle.
Fans are cash cows.
The herd will consume until consumed.

G.M. Gillman
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Post by G.M. Gillman »

This symbol and the sorting one next to it mean, afaik, the bottle is considered recyclable and when disposed of a separate container should receive such glass. I think the three short arrows designate the different bins that get either bottles, regular trash, and maybe paper.
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Post by G.M. Gillman »

Tried Pilsner Urquell in brown bottle, same one LCBO still gets although sales of the can are probably higher. It is very good but I can't see any obvious difference from the Urquell we get. Bottle was about two months from packaging going by date code,.

Ontario gets it at about same age, maybe another few weeks on average but that shouldn't make a difference. In the past I felt that Urquell that stayed in Europe was a notch above the one shipped the extra distance to Canada. This time I didn't feel that way. Perhaps it speaks well of the current distribution arrangements for Ontario.

Afaik Urquell today uses a 10 month use-by code system, not a year as common for many Euro brands.
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Post by G.M. Gillman »

This little number was released in European markets a few years ago. A nice take on Carlsberg lager - unfiltered (though I'd think pasteurized), with a slightly sweet taste. Mild, rounded hop character, a touch fruity. Just under five percent abv.
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Post by G.M. Gillman »

Found this in a small Indian grocery in Nice. From Madagascar. Standard international pils, made by a brewery called Star. Well made, fresh, tasty. Corn and sugar adjuncts used (per label) but a good natural beer taste results.

I opened this after a "bio" (organic) craft brune gushed on opening, there had been continued fermentation. It was not sour or bretted but too dry for me.

It happens, though rarely in Ontario now.
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Post by G.M. Gillman »

A classic of Guinness, Foreign Extra Stout is the closest type still made to 19th century heyday Guinness. 7.5 per cent. An export stout with a tang that recalls the long aging it used to get in vats. This is available in Ireland, Britain, a good part of Europe, U.S., but not Canada. I've never understood this especially for Ontario. As many reading know Guinness today makes numerous other iterations of its stout, e.g. a milk stout. We don't get that either.

This beer is malty, tangy, hoppy - regular Guinness ramped up considerably. I think anyone who knows it would realize why Guinness earned the reputation it did from early days. The current draught and widget Guinness are okay but this is much ahead in character.
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Post by G.M. Gillman »

I meant, for availability, the Dublin-made one. A version of FES is also brewed locally in a few spots around the world including the Caribbean and Nigeria, due to long-standing local markets. I can also get the Nigerian version here, may try soon to A/B with Dublin's. It uses sorghum in the brewing.
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Post by shintriad »

I was in Dublin in May last year, and got to try all the export beers at the brewery. Really good stuff, and I did everything I could to advertise their availability. Alas, most people didn't get past the basic version of Guinness, no doubt entranced by the opportunity to pull your own draught.

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Post by G.M. Gillman »

These are generally well-regarded in craft circles.

I believe Foreign Extra can be had on draft as well at the Baltimore outpost of Guinness.
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