Bière? Cela est simplement boire un paysan. Nous snooty boivent du vin français et rien ne va changer cela!

We all know that France places wine above sliced, fried, and salted potatoes, and that's saying a lot. We also know that wine and beer don't necessarily mix well. Wine is served at banquets. Beer is served at tailgates. Wine is expensive and associated with the rich. Beer is cheap and... well, you get the idea. The French aren't really obsessed with their beer, and in their small-car driving, stinky cheese eating, American culture hating society, beer is third class. In fact, only 16% of the alcoholic beverages sold in La République française are beer. It ranks 64th in the world for beer consumption per capita, yet 16th for total alcoholic beverages (thanks to its vast wine industry). But it wasn't always this way.

The production of beer was very rurally based. This is mainly due to France's ideal climate for the cultivation of traditional beer ingredients, malt, barley, and hops (for this same reason, wine grape production thrives in southern France). Ironically, France is a major producer of the traditional beer ingredients. France leads Europe in barley production, it has been the world's largest exporter of malt since 1981, and the nation's hops production exceeded 800 tons in 2011. But back in the day, when breweries were located outside of the cities, France boasted an impressive portfolio of national specialty beers. Only a few of them have survived since the industrial revolution. Pale Ales are still relatively popular among the French, including Bière de Garde, a top-fermented, traditionally unfiltered, strong pale ale brewed only with ingredients grown within French borders.

The brewing industry in modern day France is similar to that of other European countries where beer is a secondary beverage in terms of production and consumption: mass produced and heavily concentrated among a strong oligopily. 90% of French beer production is controled by mass brewers, and the vast majority of beer produced is either Pale Ale, or Pilsner. Specialty beers have made a recent surge in popularity, and brewpubs and beer festivals have been sprouting around the country. Good beer does exist in France, but you'd be hard pressed to find it among the vast array of wine available. Still, if you are persistent enough, you should be able to locate a gem among the skunky mess the French typically produce.

A votre sante.

Rated French Beers

1-21-10 - Kronenbourg 1664 - 2.56, Pale Lager, 5.50%

Popular Beer Styles in France

  • Pilsner
  • Bière de Garde
  • Organic beer
  • Bière de Printemps
  • Whisky Beer
  • French Breweries with Rated Beer

  • Kronenbourg - Strasbourg, France