Beer from Poland – Krakow

My first trip to Poland since the beer revolution started.

Grodzka 42

Ul. Grodzka 42, Kraków
Mon-Sun 17-??
Smaller measure pricing: not known
Arrived just as the member of staff was opening the doors to be met by a waft of stale smoke and damp. Dark and dingy, this rock bar may appeal to some but wasn’t quite my cup of hertbata. They’ve got a reasonable selection of beers though at competitive prices.

BeerGallery – Dominikańska

Dominikańska 3, Kraków
Mon-Fri 14-00; Sat-Sun 14-02
Smaller measure pricing: daft
Visited here last year as well as this and on the face of it seems to be a reasonable bar. This year though, the staff were a bit surly – very old school Polish and when I tried’s current number one Polish beer, it was just thrown into the glass and the all important sediment left in the bottom. They’ve got a great range of bottled beers but for some reason they wouldn’t tell me who brewed the house beer, apart from it was a brewery near Poznan.

Would I visit again? Last year I would have said yes (and I did!) but now? I’m not so sure. It’s easy to be overtaken in a fast moving world such as this.

Multi Qlti Tap Bar

Szewska 21, Kraków
Mon – Thu 14-02; Fri-Sat 14-03; Sun 14-02
Smaller measure pricing: between so-so and fab
Wow. This place is great. Knowledgeable staff (inlcuding Gosia from Krakowbeertour) and a superb range of 20 draught beers and lots of bottles. They give a 10% discount before 20:00 if you ‘Like’ them on Facebook and as I only spotted this at 19:52, I took advantaged and lined a few up! I went back on my second night and found four or five new additions to the menu. Great location

Tap House Pracownia Piwa i Przyjaciele

św. Jana 30, Kraków
Mon-Thu 14-01; Fri-Sat 14-02; Sun 14-01
Smaller measure pricing: so-so
Another reasonable bar just a few steps from the main square with a good range of beers, With most (if not all?) from the Pracownia brewery. The reviews on (to me) don’t seem fair. The decor was minimalist, but that’s the nature of the place

TEA Time

Smaller measure pricing: fab
ul. Dietla 1, Kraków
Mon-Fri 12-23; Sat-Sun 12-01

See separate post

Strefa Piwa

Smaller measure pricing: daft
Józefa 6, Kraków
Mon-Thu 16-23; Sat-Sun 16-02; Sun 16-23
One of the older, more established bars over in Kazimerz. I’ve been in twice and always seems so quiet. Staff seemed a bit surly but again the beer selection was good.


Smaller measure pricing: so-so
ul. Kupa, Kraków
Mon-Wed 16-00; Thu 16-01; Fri-Sat 16-02; Sun 16-00
Another of the bars that have been at the craft beer game for a bit longer. A nice bar, seems quite quirky with great staff and once again a good selection of beer. Running out of things to type now! Only thing to let it down is once again the pricing for smaller measures.

Chmiel Beer Pub

Smaller measure pricing: bottles
Stradomska 15, Kraków
Mon-Sun 16-??
Difficult to find – through an archway, round a corner and down some stairs. Apart from a couple of ‘fizzes’, all exciting beers are bottles. A fairly reasonable selection but nothing that couldn’t be found elsewhere. There’s supposedly a large selection of pinball machines to play on but I didn’t see them. I don’t know why, but there was just something about this place that I didn’t connect with.

Viva la Pinta

Smaller measure pricing: daft
ul. Floriańska 13, Kraków
Mon-Sun 12-??
Outlet for Pinta beers along with beers from other breweries great food. I had the bigos and it was excellent. Nice modern interior, good beers but yet another let down by silly pricing.

Warsaw to follow…

Edge Brewing, Barcelona

Edge Brewing, Barcelona

Carrer de Llull 62, Barcelona 08005
Metro: Bogatell L4-Yellow Line
Open Doors: Fri 18-22. May be open on other days.

My wife and I visited Barcelona and one of my aims was to suss out the growing beer scene in the region. Overall, we were a little disappointed in what we saw but Edge Brewing was a delightful change.

They have an ‘Open Doors’ event on a Friday, but we weren’t there on a Friday. Following an exchange of emails, we were told to just pop along one particular afternoon and we could visit the brewery.

We arrived, wandered in and were met by Alan who showed us the shiny new brewery equipment. We had a quick chat about what he was trying to do with the brewery before heading to the bar. Yum.

They had no less than 10 of their own beers on tap, with a similar range available at the open doors event. We tried all of the beers available before settling on a couple of large ones of the ones that we enjoyed. I don’t generally make notes on the beers I’ve tried but they were all in excellent condition and a good range of styles. Too many breweries concentrate on just one style of beer – generally pale and hoppy these days but not at Edge.

All in all, a great afternoon chatting with Allan (and the brewery assistant whose name escapes me!) sampling probably the best of the beers we’d tried while we were in Barcelona.

Keep up the good work!

Cask Pub vs Keg Pub

There’s a lot these days surrounding the cask versus keg debate. Personally, I don’t mind keg beer as long is it is good. I don’t like bad keg or cask beer, but I do like good beer, be it keg or cask.

However, in my travels around the UK, I’ve started to see a distinction between the types of pub that serve keg beers and those that are cask only. So many times, you can walk into a ‘traditional’ pub and ask what a beer is like, only to be met with “soz mate – I don’t like ale”. On the other hand, go into a pub that serves keg beer – ‘craft beer’ if you prefer – and quite often, staff know what they’re on about. I’ve just been into the excellent Friends of Ham in Leeds and a customer came in and asked for a particular type of beer. The server showed the customer which were which and then went on to describe what they were like. From what I understand, staff only get a job in this bar if they know and like beer. This though seems to be the norm amongst the growing trend of ‘craft beer’ bars.

So, even if you don’t like keg beer, if you pop into somewhere that serves both styles, you’ll probably get far more knowledge ‘behind the bar’ in one of those craft places.

Curry in a hurry!

Curry in less than 20 minutes? Here’s how.

The recipe featured on Madhur Jaffrey’s ‘Curry Nation’ and was cooked by Mumtaz Khan Akbar of Mumtaz restaurant fame.

No actual recipe was given, so the amounts are guess work

Place the following into a cold wok

– 2 chicken breasts diced or sliced. I often use 3 or 4 chicken thighs instead
– 1 large onion very finely chopped or ‘whizzed’ in a food processor, along with ginger and 4 or 5 garlic cloves and a chilli if you want it hot
– 1/2 a 500g carton of passata
– large pinch of salt
– yogurt – I don’t know how much – I just use a ‘blob’
– 1/2 tsp asafoetida (not essential)
– 1/2 mug cold water.

Turn the wok on, bring to the boil and cook for 5-7 mins on a high heat.

Reduce the heat and add the spices – he used about a dessert spoon – maybe a bit more of ‘basar’ – if you don’t have that then use a heaped teaspoon each of cumin, coriander, paprika and garam masala and about half a teaspoon each of turmeric, fenugreek and chilli. Feel free to add more to taste! Also add another ‘blob’ of yogurt and 2 chopped tomatoes. At this point he also added a ladle full of oil! I don’t and the curry’s still fine though probably doesn’t taste quite as good. Lower the heat, cook for another 5 mins and add some chopped coriander just before serving. Feel free to add frozen peas at the end, or frozen spinach or tinned chickpeas when you add the spices.

Note: The amounts of spice are to your personal taste – I often use more than what I’ve said here.

Basar (or Basaar) can be found in all good Indian shops – in Doncaster, the shop at the bottom of Chequer Road sells it, as does Pak supermarket in Rotherham.

An easy curry recipe…

Time for a curry recipe. There’s not really a ‘name’ for it.

Slice a couple of medium onions (use more if they’re smaller) thinly and fry in 2 tsp of oil and a good pinch of salt. I use a nonstick wok but any large pan will do. Before they begin to burn, add a splash of water and continue to cook. Keep adding water and cooking until they become soft and medium/dark brown. Add 2 or 3 tsp ginger garlic paste (or the equivalent fresh) and 1tsp of fennel seeds and carry on cooking.

Once the onions are rich and brown, add 2tsp coriander powder, 2tsp cumin powder, 1tsp Kashmiri chilli powder, 1tsp fenugreek powder, 1tsp garam masala, 1 tsp fenugreek powder, 1/2 tsp ground black pepper and 1 tsp paprika* and some salt. The mixture will be quite dry so add enough water to form a thin paste and cook for a few minutes until the water evaporates. Add around 125ml plain yogurt (I use fat free), mix well and cook for a bit longer.

If adding meat or potatoes, add them now. cook for 5 mins or so and add water to make the gravy a curry like consistency. From now, the curry will need to be cooked for about another 20 mins, or it won’t hurt if you cook it longer. If adding pre cooked vegetables such as peas, kidney beans, chick peas etc, add them 10 mins before the end. Also add another 1tsp garam masala now too. Check the seasoning and serve.

I think chicken (thighs) work well with this, but white fish would work well do. Try it and see what you like!

* increase or decrease spices to taste, especially chilli powder.

Wetherspoons, third pints and the beer festival

Twice a year, JD Wetherpoon hold a beer festival. At that festival, third pints are available, and generally people have them in threes, although you can order different quantities.

CAMRA members receive a number of vouchers each year to use at Wetherspoon’s and these may be redeemed against a pint of real ale. Unless you want three thirds as the system doesn’t recognise it as a pint.

I emailed head office and they replied saying yes, vouchers were valid with three thirds (subject to a couple of conditions).  This is the letter.

Beer in France

I’m planning a few days in the sun in France and I thought it would be good to have a look at France’s growing beer scene. There’s quite a few small breweries in France, but they tend to be far and few between.

I discovered this map. “Great”, I thought. Until I found it terribly out of date. I looked along the south coast of France and found the following errors…
Mare Nostrum in Castillon is missing
– Though strictly not in France, Brasserie de Monaco is missing
– Au Royaume du Boeuf in Cannes is no longer there – I tried to call in 2008 and the picture on Google Street View looks less than inviting!
– ‘Brasserie of Marseille’ is closed – when I visited in April 2007, there was brewery equipment in situ but no brewing done – evidently the brewer had died and they couldn’t find anyone else to do it. Since then, the building looks to have changed hands.

Not good.

It looks like RateBeer is the place to be – and there’s even a map!.

Now… where to go?


I often get asked about Bruges, or to be more correct, Brugge. It’d be hard to say which my favourite bars are in the city or which I think the best, but here are a few that are in close proximity to each other and should give the first time visitor a taster. There’s a bit of a problem in so much as some of the better bars only open in the evening, although there’s still plenty to go to. Many places serve a small (free!) snack of peanuts, small biscuits or even cheese!

To get to the city centre from the station (the P&O shuttle bus drops off here too) catch a bus. Buy your ticket from the kiosk (and the return trip too) as you’ll pay €1,40 per journey as opposed to €2,00 from the driver.

De Garre

De Garre 1, Brugge
(just off Breidelstraat down a very little alleyway – tread very carefully! )
Each day 11:00/12:00 – 00:00/01:00

Once you’ve found this tiny watering hole and managed to get a table, perhaps with a ‘stranger’, a must try is their house beer at a very deceiving 13%!!! A great way to start a mini tour of the town!


Brasserie Strijdershuis

Hallestraat 14, Brugge – just the other side of the town hall.
Open from 10:30

‘Only’ about 50 beers but the food’s good. The midweek cheap lunch menu is supposed to be excellent value.


Philipstockstraat 19, Brugge – opposite corner of square to the road where Strijdershuis is
Open from 11:00

Lots of good beers and what looks to be excellent food too. Quite a decent size bowl of peanutty snack things too!


Brugs Beertje

Kemelstraat 5, Brugge
Mon, Tue, Thu 16-01; Fri – Sun 16-02
** Usually closed Tuesdays Jan – April

Tucked into a side street, Daisy and her crew will expertly guide you through the 300 or so beers. The only slight downside is everyone knows this is one of the best beer cafes in Brugge and probably also Belgium and so attracts beer tourists, ranging from the loud mouth typical tourist to the ones who can appreciate the cafe. It can’t be all bad as it attracts a few locals, including Black Beasty – he’ll be at the end of the bar drinking De Koninck!

Want to try a few more? Try these less touristy places…

Rose Red

Cordoeaniersstraat 16
Mon-Thu 10-11; Fri, Sat 10-00, Sun 10-22

It’s rare to find a bar in Brugge with decent beer and a beer garden. This place has both! Well, it’s more of a terrace surrounded by buildings, but it’s still nice on a sunny day!


Comptoir des Arts

Vlamingstraat 53, Brugge
Mon, Wed-Sun 18-03

Run by Bram, formerly at ‘t Brugs Beertje, this cellar bar has 90 beers, a selection of whiskies, funky music and art on the walls. Mind your head as you descend the steps (I’ve forgotten several times!)



Vlamingstraat 82, Brugge (over the road from Comptoir des Arts)
Open from 17
Not sure why I like this bar – I just do! It can get quite busy later on at weekends, but there’s usually a table somewhere.


Kortrijk doesn’t really have that many beery places. When you walk from the station towards the centre, there are quite a few bars that just serve rubbishy beers.

On the main square, Klokke used to have an excellent selection of beer, but they changed owner who decided less was best.

There’s probably half a dozen reasonable bars, although only two of them are near the centre


Sint Janstraat 31, Kortrijk
Hours: from 17; Thu – closed

They used to have 80+ beers. On this visit, they had 54 with anything remarkably exciting omitted. The barman said they didn’t sell. Still, it’s not bad to visit – it’s a nice little bar that’s cosy and welcoming.



Vlasmarkt1, Kortrijk.
Hours: Mon – closed; Tue-Fri – 12-01; Fri 12-03; Sat 14-03; Sun + Bank Holidays – 14-01

Wow. My kind of bar. Very good selection of beers including some rarer ones (the beer list’s on their website) , including a few from the nearby Alvinne brewery and also De Molen. The night I was in it was quite lively but not in an overpowering kind of way.


Prague’s good for beer. The Czech Republic has a long history of beer and even though much of it is bog standard lager, scratch beneath the surface and there are some really really good beers to found. Tourism has had a big part to play in all of this, and it’s helped develop some really good breweries and beery places, but it’s also chucked out a load of rubbish.

A colleague once asked me about Prague and it’s beer and I told him “Stay away from the main square. Go even one street away and if you see Czechs, you’re not going to be far wrong”. When he came back, he grumbled at how much he’d paid for bottles of Corona from ‘English bars’ on the main square.

So – where was visited on this trip?

Pivovarská Restaurace Berounský Medvěd

Tyršova 135, 266 01 Beroun, Czech Republic
Mon 09-20; Tue-Thu 09-22; Fri, Sat 09-23; Sun 10-20.

Ever been to a pub in a scrap yard? How about a brewery? No? Well visit Prague and get yourself off to Beroun (40 mins from Prague by train). Leave the station, turn left and after two minutes you’ll be in a scrap yard. Pass the Tatra and Škoda lorries, keep going past the tank and you’ll find this small restaurant, bar and brewery. They even have a hotel on site too!

Step from the train and into the station still ensconced in the Communist era and head left, walking by the railway lines into the scrap yard.

Many a beer afternoon has been spent here sampling the two beers – Světlý ležák 11° and Tmavý speciál 13°. Also available were some new ones – Cyklopivo světlý 8° and Polotmavý speciál Grizzly 18°. They also had a couple of beers from other breweries – Podkovan 10 Kvasnikove and Klepacek Polotmave 14. The rather excellent and very cheap lunchtime food (CZK69!) was also sampled

It’s one of the standards for Prague beer – well worth a visit.


Zlý Časy

Čestmírova 390/5 140 00 Prague 4-Nusle, Czech Republic
Mon-Thu 11-23:30; Fri 11-01; Sat 17-01; Sun 17-23
Tram: Line 11, 18; stop Náměstí Bratří Synků (on the way to or from První Pivní Tramway)

Well – Zlý Časy. They stopped selling Big Brand beers something like four years ago, and now have 24 beers on tap along with more bottles (Czech, German, English, Scottish, Belgian…_ that you could shake a stick at. The range of beers is displayed on information cards across the top of the bar as well as a menu (tick list) presented to your table. Of course, it’s table service which at times can be a tad slow, but that’s usually because the bar’s full. Oh yeah – if you want to be guaranteed somewhere to sit, arrive early!

As far as beer selection goes, Zlý Časy is easy the best bar in Prague. Prices are very reasonable (much better than other establishments with a ‘decent range’ in the area) and is just generally a decent place to spend a few hours in an evening.


Hotel V Pivovaře Davle

Davle, K Pivovaru 1, 252 06 Praha západ
Mon-Thu 10:30-22; Fri 10:30-11; Sat 10:30-11; Sun 10:30-22
Railway station: Davle

I’ve been through Davle a few times, and even spent about half an hour there last year. I’d noticed the building but there was no sign of a brewery. A few months ago however, the building was transformed into a hotel, brewery and restaurant. Excellent! [Update: the beer is brewed elsewhere]

Leaving the station and crossing the Davelský Bridge, which was used as the bridge in the film ‘The Bridge at Remagen’ and turn left and the imposing building is just in front. Everywhere seemed pretty dead in the town when we arrived, but fortunately there was a chap serving beer. They seem to do a range of seven beers, but only the only one available on draught was the sedmnáctke – a 17° golden beer. It was rather good. The other beers were all available, but only in 1.5l bottles – perhaps a bit much when we only had 40 minutes between trains.

The beer has a small terrace overlooking the river which in summer months, I would imagine is most pleasant. The area is popular with walkers and in summer, there is a steam train service.


Pivovarský klub

Křižíkova 17°, Praha 8, Karlín
Mon-Sun 11:30-23:30
Metro: Line B, C; stop Florenc

Pivovarský dům is the oldest of the new wave of brew pubs and is incredibly popular with tourists. Pivovarský klub is it’s younger brother, concentrates more on beer than food (even though the former actually brews the beer) and is definitely less touristy.

With up to six draught beers to choose from and over 200 bottles, it’s probably the best stocked bar in the centre. They usually have one or two beers brewed at Pivovarský dům, but the rest are from small breweries across the country. As can be expected, the food is rather good too.


Havelská Koruna

Havelská 501/23, 110 00 Praha 1-Staré Město
Mon-Sun 11-18
Tram: Národní třída

Havelská Koruna is not strictly a beery place, (they only sell Gambrinus and Pilsner Urquell). It is however a classic old fashioned Czech restaurant – my favourite since the one on Na poříčí was sold and turned into a Starbucks.

As you enter, you’re given a slip of paper that is imprinted with a stern warning of the threat of a 500CZK fine if you lose it!

Once you’ve overcome the shock of the threat of losing the piece of paper, you approach the array of serveries. At the hot food one, you have the choice of reading the menu on the wall in Czech or pointing to what you want, except that you can’t point to what you want as everything is covered with metal lids. Even though the style of restaurant is a bit of a throwback to the ‘olden days’, the staff now do have a smattering of English, although I was able to order the old favourite of ‘vepřo-knedlo-zelo’ (roast port, dumplings and sauerkraut), a beer and retire to the table. Everything you order is marked by number on the piece of paper which is then presented to the cashier on the way out.

If you’re in the centre of Prague and want good, homestyle cooking at a most agreeable price, go here.

První Pivní Tramway

Na Chodovci 1a, 140 00 Prague 4 – Záběhlice
Mon – Sun 14-00?
Tram 11; stop Spořilov (on the way to or from Zlý Časy)

Get off the tram at the terminus and immediately in front of you is a building. This is První Pivní Tramway. Walking time – about 2 steps.

This place is crowded. Even with only a few people in it’s crowded, but this gives you a good chance to sit with the locals and have a chat, for this place is definitely off the tourist trail (hurrah!). It’s got six beers with two or three exciting ones, again with good food at exceedingly good prices. Only downside – a touch on the smoky side.


Prague Beer Museum

Dlouhá 720/46 110 00 Prague 5-Old Town, Czech Republic
Opening hours: not mention on the web anywhere, but seem to remember them open much later than anywhere else
Tram: Dlouhá třída

Well, I was looking forward to this place. They had quite good reviews when they opened, but that seems to be long gone. Yes, they do have 30 beers on tap, but takeaway the national blands and they have less than Zlý Časy. Prices are very expensive – probably 10-20CZK more per 30cl beer than most other places.

The staff are a bit useless too – the one serving us just seemed to want to sell us the most expensive one – 69CKZ for a 30cl – that’s dearer than the UK! They also had a beer on called ‘Good Bulldog’ but no one seemed to know who brewed it and I was also advised not to try the house beer. It was also very smoky. If you’re a tourist, fine – you’ll like it. If you want a decent beer, find somewhere else.

Czech beer glossary

Czech beer’s good. The lingo might be a bit special for anyone so here’s a few tips and word n stuff.

The beer is measured in degrees plato, so you instead of having a 5% beer, you might have a 12° beer. Read all about it here if you want, but a good rule of thumb is to subtract two from the plato scale and then divide by two. It’s not accurate, but it sort of works.

Beery words

Tmavý -dark
Svetlý – light
Polotmavý – medium dark
Ležák – premium beer
Pšeničné – wheat beer
Medový – beer with honey
Višňový – beer with cherries

Two bars in Brno

U Richarda 2

Údolní 7, Brno, Czech Republic.
Mon-Sat 11-23, Sun 11-22

U Richarda Brew Pub has been open in Brno for a wee while now, but as it’s out in the sticks and I’ve only been to Brno once before, I’ve never managed to visit. All is not lost now as there’s a second branch on the edge of the city centre (probably only 5 mins from Pegas brewpub.

Although catering to drinkers, U Richarda 2 does seem quite food based – in fact they call themselves a ‘Restaurace’ so it would have seemed rude not to have taken advantage of the current special offer of 500g of spicy pork ribs, bread and a Czech salad / garnish for 149CZK- about a fiver. Oh – with two beers too!

From what I understand, the beers are brewed out in the brew pub in the suburbs and sold there in the bar. I tried all they had to offer , these being
Světlý ležák 12°
Tmavý ležák 12°
Višňový ležák 12° – a cherry beer
Pivni Special 12°
Pšeničné 11° – a wheat beer
Medový speciál 15° – a dark beer laced with honey.

A nice, modern bar, good food and good beer!



Jakubská 4, Brno, Czech Republic.

There’s not really a lot to say about Pegas – if you’ve been to Brno and like a beer, the chances are you’ve been to Pegas. Pretty much bog standard German / Czech beer hall type place with lots of wood, hops on the ceiling and fag smoke. The beer’s good though!

Whilst there, the Christmas beer was available – ‘Vánoční’ – a 15° beer that the barman said was just a mix of two of the standard beers. Still, if you blend two very good beers, you’re bound to still end up with a good beer!

Trappistenfest, Niel

Having first heard about the Trappistenfest in Niel on Belgian Beer Board last year, a visit to the festival in the small town just outside Antwerp was definitely one to be done!

Fortunately, on the same weekend of the festival, the first Modeste Bierfestival was due to be held, so this would pack in a bit of ‘added value’ to the trip. More about the Modeste Bierfestival here.

Trains to Niel don’t run on a weekend, so last Sunday, we took the bus from Antwerp for the short walk to the ‘Kapel van de Jongenschiro’. Once again, the weather was unseasonably hot so we took a seat outside.

First beer up was Chimay Doree – part of the Chimay ‘family’ of beers but not available anywhere except Auberge de Poteaupré or inside the Scourmont Abbey if you happen to be a monk there! Definitely the hardest to get hold of beer on the list. There’s none currently on eBay and a website in the USA is asking $69!!! I ought to have got a few to take with me…

Next was the Petit Orval, again only available if you’re a monk or at the cafe next to the abbey. There’s none of this on eBay or any other site I could see.

Shortly following this was the new Mont des Cats beer. Mont des Cats is a Trappist abbey just over the border in France, but their beer is brewed at the Scourmont Abbey, along with Chimay. On one hand I’ve heard that they’ll be getting their Trappist accreditation in the next month or so. Another source says that for it to qualify, they must brew it themselves at their abbey. So, it’s brewed by Trappist monks at a Trappist abbey, the labels say ‘bière trappiste’, but it’s not an ‘Authentic Trappist Product’. Once again, it’s rather a good beer, but you won’t find it in shops near you as it’s only currently available in the Abbey shop and cafe. This may change soon though.

Even though I’d tried it before, it seemed a shame not to sample to Westmalle Extra. Again, only generally available at the abbey, this beer seems to be a bit more easily available than the others (at least one bar in Antwerpen seems to have it much of the time). It’s a light, golden beer, very easy drinking and at 4.8%, just right for a late summers’ (ish!) day.

So – the festival? Well run, in a most pleasant location, good table service and not too busy. The only downside is that it’s well out of the way! Looking forward to another visit in the near future…

Mister Bières, Sète

Mister Bières, Sète

Now closed, but a new place has opened on the other side of the square – Bieres et Terroirs

Place Delille, 34200 Sète, France
Tue-Fri 10-14 and 17-22, Sat 10-22, Sun (June – September) 10-14 and 17-22
+33 4 67 78 52 37

In my experience, France isn’t particularly good for beer, everywhere seems to be overrun with run of the mill stuff like Kronenbourg, Heineken or even Pelforth.

If you’re really fortuitous, you might stumble across a small microbrewery. Even though it may be in the same town, local bars tend not to stock them but fortunately, supermarkets often do.

However, things in Sète are different – all is not lost! Sitting in Place Delille is ‘Mister Bières’. It’s only been open a couple of weeks and I found it by accident – “Look Jemma – there’s a shop selling beers… Run! It says it stocks over 300”. A quick look inside at the bulging shelves revealed offerings mainly from Belgium along with probably the best selection of French beers I’ve seen!

Speaking to the owner, Philippe Vasseur, he originates from Lille and has brought some of his local beer culture with him. A resonable proportion of the French beers are from the Flanders area, but there’s also examples from Brasserie Artisnale du Sud, La Grivoise and La Castagne du Cevenol, to name but a few. If you can’t wait to take beers home, there are a few tables outside to sit and enjoy them.

One interesting thing I noticed was a bottle of La Cagole Blanche. La Cagole Blonde has been around for a while with production at Pivovar Nymburk in Czech Republic following the closure of the brewery in Marseille. The Blanche however, displays the words ‘Fabrique en France’. A bit more detective work is needed here!

If you’re ever in the area, a visit is well worthwhile. Mister Bières is something every French town could do with!

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Click ‘Read more’ for the beers I sourced at Mister BièresThe beers I either tried there or brought home were

La Castagne du Cevenol – Aujac
Bogue – 6.5%

La Cagole – Marseille
Blanche – 4.5%

L’Agrivoise – Saint-Agreve
La Pasee – 6.5%
La Commun’ale – 5.0%
Sous les Paves Biere Noire – 5.5%

La Brasserie Artisanale Du Sud – Nyons
La Grihette Mange Soif Blanche – 4.7%
La Grihette Mange Soif Blonde – 4.9%
La Grihette Songe Fete Ambree – 4.8%

Anosteke – Blaringhem
Blonde – 8%
Bracine Triple – 9%

La Belle en Goguette – 6%
Saison des Amours – 5.5%
La Frappiste – 7.5%

Tour de France 2012

Last year’s Tour de France wasn’t that accessible for the visitor from northern England [blog entry].  This year’s is – hurrah!

I’m not sure 100% where I’m going, but the following stages are sure to feature

  • Prologue – Liège to Liège
  • Stage 1 – Liège to Seraing
  • Stage 2 – Visé to Tournai
  • Stage 3 – Orchies to Boulogne-sur-Mer is another great one to follow for the casual Brit.  I’ve visited Orchies a few times now as it features in the Paris – Roubaix race.

So, another Grand Départ weekend out of France.  I wonder what the race will have in store for the British guys?  Mark Cavendish has said he won’t be quite so focussed on winning staged this year – his priority will be helping fellow Brit Bradley Wiggins into the Yellow jersey and keeping him in it all the way to Paris, as well as concentrating preparations for the London 2012 Games.  Still, I’d like to think he’s going to get a few stage wins under his belt.  How about Stage 1 for starters?

See you in France Belgium!