Parisians drink wine, right? Well, right. But also, increasingly, they drink craft beer. The brewing scene has exploded in France as locals begin to discover that wine is not the only drink with character.
There are now over 1000 micro-brasseries in France as well as a beer scene in Paris that revolves around festivals and salons. But with a growing number of caves à bières (beer shops), microbreweries and brew bars in the capital, it’s hard to know where to start, so we’ve picked out some of our favourites.
La Cave à Bulles
Established at the dawn of the French bière artisanale movement by craft beer guru, Simon Thillou, La Cave à Bulles (caveabulles-paris.fr) is an essential first stop. It carries hundreds of beers, over 80% of them from France. The guys are at the heart of the Île-de-France craft beer scene, so can tell you everything you need to know about what’s new, what’s hot and what you enjoy. Reserve a tasting session or drop in for a chat (they speak great English).
Bap Bap – ‘brassée à Paris, bué à Paris’ (‘brewed in Paris, drunk in Paris’) – is Paris’ most central microbrewery, sprawling over five storeys in a metal-framed, Eiffel-era city building. Everything happens here except the growing of the grain – malt crushing, brewing, fermenting and bottling. Take a guided tour (every Saturday, in French) to see a craft beer start-up from the ground floor, literally. Or drop into their boutique and pick up a few bottles (or growlers) of their distinctive, complex Vertigo IPA, made with six different malts and three hops.
La Fine Mousse
A classy spot that could just as easily be a wine bar, La Fine Mousse (lafinemousse.fr) is a cosy place for a long degustation (tasting). With 20 meticulously curated beers on tap and a long list of bottles, it has the best selection of beers in Paris. Across the road on this peaceful little corner of the 11th arrondissement is their restaurant, dedicated to partnering beer and food with the same seriousness and expertise that the French apply to wine matching. Passionate beer advocates, they’ll help you choose the right brew to match your turbot or veal tartare.
Deck & Donohue
Montreuil, an easy metro ride from the city centre, is a little-visited Paris suburb experiencing a beer-led renaissance. Several microbreweries have set up amongst its street-art covered streets, including Deck & Donohue (deck-donohue.com) which was started in 2014 by Thomas Deck (from Alsace, on France’s borderlands with beer-loving Germany) and his American friend Mike Donohue, with a vocation to create bières fines for the Paris market. Saturdays, they welcome visitors to their big, bright brewery to get a taste of the range – six permanent beers and a clutch of ever-changing seasonal and special editions. Try their Mission Pale Ale, a fruity, easy to drink session ale.
Paname Brewing Company
Brewpubs in Paris are rare, so it’s fortuitous that the Paname Brewing Company (panamebrewingcompany.com) has a perfect waterfront position on the Bassin de la Villette, where Canal Saint-Martin widens and continues to flow north out of the city. The spacious terrace of this 19th-century warehouse soaks up late afternoon sun and provides a popular hangout for craft beer loving hipsters. Sit with a view of the canal-side pétanque players, order a beer to wash down the pizzas, burgers and charcuterie, and settle in. Try Casque d’Or, a floral saison, brewed with French hops, orange rind and candied ginger.
Brasserie de la Goutte d’Or
In the midst of Goutte d’Or, a thriving working-class quarter home to a large West and North African community, is Paris’ first microbrewery. Drop in for a tasting and Thierry, the owner of Brasserie de la Goutte d’Or, will tell you how he takes inspiration from the history, cultural diversity and vibrant flavours of the local community. A chai wheat beer, for example, will be infused with ginger, cinnamon and cardamom. Ernestine, their dry-hopped IPA, is an homage to the traditional bock beer brewed at the Chapelloise brewery that once stood on nearby rue Ernestine.
Opened in early 2017, this bar represents something new in Paris. Outland (outland-beer.com), a microbrewery in the suburbs east of the city, has teamed up with rock bar Le Trois 8 to create something with the feel of an American taproom. This big open room has slick wood and metal surfaces and 12 beers on tap – eight from Outland and four French guest brews. Drinkers can encounter anything from a classic saison here to an orange porter or an oatmeal stout.
Le Trois 8
The most rock-and-roll of Paris' beer bars, Le Trois 8 (lestrois8.fr) is an atmospheric little spot hidden away in the backstreets of the increasingly trendy quarter of Ménilmontant. With permanently rotating list of eight beers on tap and more than 100 by the bottle, it’s easy to like and hard to leave. If you’re hungry order a generous board of cheese and charcuterie.
Taking the concept of microbrewing to the extreme, Triangle (triangleparis.com) is a tiny ‘brewhouse’ in an exquisite bar-restaurant in Paris’ diverse 10th arrondissement. It consists of three little kettles that sit behind the bar. Despite the small scale, the trio of young Quebecois behind this novel operation manage to pump out an impressive 300 litres of handcrafted beer each week which is backed up by a range of international guest beers.
This is the local beer bar that everyone wishes they had in their neighbourhood. Le Supercoin (supercoin.net) is a cosy, easy-going spot with shades of dive bar that extend to the prices – this is the best-value craft beer joint in town. There are only three beers on tap – two French craft beers and a lager or Pilsner – but a carefully curated and constantly changing selection by the bottle. Although they don't do food you can bring your own or order pizza and have it delivered from across the road. Turn up at happy hour (6-9pm) for €6 pints.
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