Put down that 1664, it’s time to try some other French beer!*
Here’s my top 5 (in no particular order):
“Horizon” in the Breton language, Dremmwel is one of my favorite brands coming from Bretagne.
Of particular remark is their “Blé Noir,” a gluten-free amber beer made with buckwheat (the “black gold” of Bretagne, if you will). This beer has delicate tones of caramel and yeast complimented by a sweetness of hazelnut and walnut. It goes great with galettes!
It is difficult to find in 33cl without being in Bretagne or ordering online, but I have found the 75cl version at the local supermarket quite a few times.
With a name evoking its department of origin (Eure-et-Loir), L’Eurélienne is our beer de la Beauce. A family-owned craft brewery, this brand is emblematic of the Eure-et-Loir (I mean, it’s even got Chartres Cathedral on it!).
My two preferred are the Blanche and the Rousse.
Although people may think “blanche” (white) beer may be weak or without flavor, I highly recommend this over the Blonde. This is a perfect apéro beer. With its high proportion of malted wheat accompanied by oat flakes, it is light and flaky and goes great with some peanuts.
The Rousse is an “everyday” beer. With a blend of blond and caramelized malts, it is marked by roasted notes centered between caramel and coffee. It is not heavy, but it can definitely serve as a good side for your everyday dinner (or apéro!).
This brand is available throughout most supermarkets in Eure-et-Loire and can also be purchased from online retailers.
Brasserie Licorne (unicorn), located in Saverne, Alsace, has been in existence since 1994.
Their most outstanding beer is their seasonal one, “Noël,” named after Christmas. It is an amber beer that is ever so slightly spicy, but has undertones of caramel and a light sweetness. As far as spiced beers go, this is just the right balance; the spice does not overpower the underlying beer base. Apparently, its supposed to be served in a boot-shaped glass as pictured, but I never had that (shame!).
As a seasonal beer, it is only available during the winter months. I have seen it served in bars in the Grand Est region, and it can be purchased from online retailers.
Brasserie du Mont–Blanc
Re-established in 1999 under the historical pretext of using the glacial waters of Mont-Blanc in their beers, the Brasserie du Mont-Blanc is rooted in the mountains near Aix-les-Bains.
Pulling from their mountain heritage, this brand makes some very interesting beers. For example, they offer “La Bleue,” which is a beer based on blueberry juice. Another is their “La Violette” with an aroma of violet and flavors of cranberry juice. “La Verte” is their homage to typical French apéritif liqueur, and incorporates “génépi,” alpine plants of the genus Artemisia (commonly called wormwood).
I particularly like their “Triple Epices” (three spices) which has an intensely spicy flavor profile mixed with notes of caramel and roasted almonds.
My go-to, however, is “La Blanche.” A refreshing Belgian-type wheat beer, it is enhanced by a subtly bitter orange peel and a hint of coriander, the perfect choice for a “quick one.”
This brand can be purchased at Carrefour and other beer retailers (in-store and online).
Good news for my readers outside of France, this brand is also available in 21 other countries!
Named after the unit of measurement of precious metals used in the Middle Ages originating in Troyes, L’Once Troy is a craft brewery located in -you guessed it- Troyes!
Of remark are their beers “L’Once Cuivrée” and “L’Once Diamant.”
Resulting from a blend of kilned and roasted malts, L’Once Cuivrée is an amber beer that leaves you with a slightly peppery taste at the back of your throat. It’s great with a roast!
L’Once Diamant is the combination of another of their beers (L’Once D’Or) with elderflower. The Once D’Or itself if a blonde beer brewed with Pilsen barley malt and light wheat with bitter and aromatic hops added in throughout production. This beer is really something!
Unfortunately, this brand is not available outside of Troyes and its surrounds. (Road trip, anyone?!)
*The French Countryside Guide does not condone the consumption of alcohol by minors & asks that those of age drink responsibly*