Ok, reading that header, “part of an unknown revolution”, you’d be thinking that there is some use of madame guillotine or that there is a shift of biblical proportion in the world of French Beer – well, in the grand scheme of things it’s pretty much neither.
Some time ago I picked up a “guide to french breweries” – A rather elegantly presented text but was a bit well, a good intro but little more. But, then I looked the publication date, 1997. There were something like 85 breweries listed. I now know that there are nearly 300 or so. Not a bad little growth spurt, especially in a landscape of the ‘bourg and much Vin.
Ok, I am not going to sit here and type waffle to the tune of “this is the next big frontier of beer knowledge…” – that would just be complete BS, but, what there is, for me at least, a beer appreciation of subtly and nuance and balance, but driven by sociability.
Some time ago, Angelo (@terry_Tibbs or Reakt to some), and I went to Cassel, to get away from Belgium, where we’d been spending many weekends visiting breweries and the like. The change of speed, the softer flavours, and the sunshine and noise made for a nice change of scenery. I picked up a few other bottles to try over time, and whilst many people look at the 750’s typical that area and see the same to similar-ish beers. Nothing could be further from the truth. French beer is very convivial. It sits well at table, doesn’t intrude and gets on very well with northern french food. But there is great value and good drinking to be had from French beer.
Living so close to the coast, right by Dover, I have always been intrigued to why there has been massive growth in Belgian beer appreciation, but little toward a passing glance when whizzing down the A16/E40 – the Lille/Lens area was peppered with breweries. There are still numbers of breweries producing many different brands, even the monster of Br.St. Omer shares it’s postcode with a small brewpub in the town centre.
Going back to the book, St. Sylvestre, the home of the 3 Monts beer one of my home staples, I have been drinking this beer for more years than I can care to remember. Between my father and I, regularly demolish a couple of bottles over sunday dinners, and has been the fuel to a few slow monday mornings.