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 Until I found it terribly out of date.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?

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%