France is a global destination for the best wines and cuisines. When it comes to beer, you may think it’s non-existent. However, the country is home to industrial beers, with its craft beers becoming more popular after the craft beer revolution began.
Today, France boasts several popular French beer brands that have captured the hearts and palettes of beer connoisseurs. Join us as we explore the rich French culture to find you the best French beer.
Below is a round-up of the top French beers for beer lovers.
- Kronenbourg Beers
- 3 Monts Bière de Flandre
- Pelforth Beer
- Grimbergen Beer
- Barge Du Canal
- La Choulette Beers
- La Goudale
Founded in Alsace in 1664, the Kro has become one of the most popular French beer brands. It’s available in over 70 countries. The original Kronenbourg beer was said to be bland and ideal for low-income earners. However, the industrial beer company has rebranded to create a well-balanced flavor.
The Kro’s popular green bottle was swapped for an enticing blue color that showcases what the classic wheat French beer now represents – premium, royalty, and elegance. Besides individual bottles, the company also makes beer packs for drinking with friends.
Kronenbourg 1664 has three brews: Blanc (5% ABV), Rosé (4.5% ABV), and alcohol-free Blanc. The Blanc options hit your taste buds with the delicate notes of citrus and coriander spice and finish up with a satisfying creamy feel. You can serve them on any occasion since they’re crisp and light.
On the other hand, the Rosé brew is a pink-amber beer with a complex combination of strong raspberry flavors and the subtle taste of exotic fruits and coriander. It offers a balance of bitter and sweet with light rose foam and fine bubbles, making it a perfect drink for a date night or a celebration.
Celebrating its 100th year in brewing, the 3 Monts Brasserie has remained a family brewery in Northern France. It has a wide range of brews, including an organic barley malt beer. However, the original recipe is the Mont Bière de Flandre, a popular top-fermented bière de garde in Flanders.
The blond beer has an alcohol content of 8.5% and doesn’t reveal its flavors but leaves a bitter aftertaste. Over the years, the brewery has succeeded in keeping the authentic recipe of this French beer a secret. But you can expect a well-balanced flavor from this rich, foamy drink.
The Pélican brewery in Lille is the birthplace of the Pelforth beer. A symbol of the Pelican bird still adorns its bottles even though it’s now a part of the Heineken France group. The company produces a wide range of French beers, but its Blonde beer and Brune English-style brown ale are among the most famous French beers.
Pelforth Blonde is a transparent pale yellow triple-grain blonde beer with an alcohol content of 5.8%. It smells like brown bread with fruity aromas. However, the drink throws a party on the palette with malty flavors, notes of almond and apple, and a slightly bitter aftertaste.
The Brune version of the Pelforth beer packs more alcohol at 6.5%, featuring caramel malt and chocolate flavors. You can try this beer if you’ve got a sweet tooth, as it pairs well with grilled meats and dark chocolate cakes.
Crafted within the walls of the Grimbergen Abbey, the Grimbergen beer is one of the traditional Belgian-inspired brews in France. Its phoenix logo is a witness to the inspiring heritage the brewery has upheld for nine centuries. The French craft beer offers a rich, delicious taste across its range, from the refreshing Blanche and the well-balanced blond beer to the malty double and pale ale.
Grimbergen’s blond ale is one of its popular French beers with an ABV of 6.7%. The recipe includes a special top-fermented yeast that lends a unique taste to the beer. Also, beer enthusiasts will appreciate the complex contrast between its fruity and spicy notes.
Another beloved craft beer from the Grimbergen Abbey is the Double Ambrée. It’s a malty amber-colored French beer with strong flavors of caramel, hops, and dried plums. Overall, the beer is dominated by fruits and pairs perfectly with a beef stew or a roast.
The Paname Brewing Company started as a collaboration between a few individuals in 2015 and has expanded to include people from different nationalities. You can feel this diversity in the taste and quality of its French beers, where the Canal Barge stands at the top.
The famous French beer is an IPA named after Paname’s Tap House, a former storage location where canal barges supplied cereals and wine. It’s a fusion of traditional and modern brewing techniques in a bottle, featuring a significant amount of fine bitterness with notes of grains and citrus.
Made in the Choulette brewery in the Hauts-de-France, the La Choulette French beer is a Bière de Garde that utilizes the original brewing style of the French. The brewery owners are always experimenting to produce quality craft beer. As a result, they have a range of French beers, each offering a unique taste.
One of the famous French beers from Choulette is the Ambrée Bière de Garde. It’s a full-flavored traditional French ale that has a spicy aroma, notes of dried fruits, and a caramel-like flavor. Although the alcohol content is high at 8%, the craft beer leaves a gentle malt hop finish.
In a bid to create a new beer flavor, a Choulette brewer added elderberry juice and raspberry to the Ambrée Bière de Garde. This combo later became the La Choulette Framboise, a dry but slightly sweeter fruity beer with a 6% alcohol content. The beer is best consumed with goat cheese.
The century-old Goudale brewery produces various French beer brands, such as the Démon, Triple Secret Des Moines, and Belzebuth. However, it’s known for its famous French beer – La Goudale, which literally means “good ale.” It’s available in three brews: Ambrée, Blonde, and IPA, and has an alcohol content of 7.2%.
The Goudale Ambrée smells like coffee and chocolate. But it’s more of a fruity beer entangled with spices and caramelized grains. Your first sip strikes with bitterness that prolongs its stay in your mouth.
The Goudale Blonde is mild as it balances the light taste of malt and wheat with the citrus flavors of coriander and orange peels. It also infuses top fermentation yeast and Flemish hops for a long-lasting flavor and slightly bitter finish.
When it comes to IPA, Goudale uses several hops from Washington State, USA. However, it’s not the typical American IPA because its brewing style is similar to that of the Belgian Blonde beer. You should expect a pronounced bitter taste even though the beer contains citrus and exotic fruits.
Originally brewed in the Fischer brewery in Alsace, Adelscott became the first specialty beer in France. It’s brewed with peated malt, which is the source of its signature whisky malt aromas and vanilla notes. Also, the sweetness of the French beer is dominant, and there’s hardly any bitterness.
Adelscott infuses different fruits like apricots and mandarin, which combine with the smokiness of the malt to create a long-lasting aftertaste. A bit of surprise comes when you take your last sip. You’ll sense the peppery flavor usually associated with the noble hops.
The original alcohol content of Adelscott was 6.6%. After Heineken acquired the company, the production changed from high to low fermentation, leaving the beer at 5.8% ABV.
Despé was born in 1995 in France and is another product from the Fischer brewery, home of wild experiments. This time, the brewers dared to create the world’s first tequila-flavored beer, making the Desperados one of the famous French beer brands.
The beer combines other flavors with tequila, such as lime, ginger, and mint. However, the original tequila flavor reigns supreme. At 5.9% ABV, the beer is light and refreshing. Its subtle malt taste combines with the spicy and lemony notes to leave a trace of sweetness in your mouth.
Unlike packaged beers, Despé is more of an alcoholic drink than a full-fledged beer. But beer lovers still appreciate its texture. Also, you may want to try the Desperados Nocturno if you want a stronger drink or the Desperados Virgin for an alcohol-free experience.
France has something for everyone, whether you prefer a classic beer, an amber ale, a craft beer, or a non-alcoholic beer. The most famous French beers are deeply connected to tradition and are made better by modern brewing techniques.
So, when next you visit Paris or browse through the catalog of an online wine store, don’t hesitate to pick up one or two bottles of French beer. Santé!