Enjoying Beer in Paris

by MPI Traveler on April 26, 2013

Two for Brew

Jeffrey T. Iverson

April 19, 2013

“He was a wise man who invented beer,” the great philosopher Plato once said. (Or at least beer lovers like to think so.) While that belief is not so widely shared in wine-loving France, there is indeed a Paris institution to help curious epicureans to see the foamy light.

L’Académie de la Bière is a charming pub and restaurant like those found in Belgium and northern France, with a cozy wood-paneled interior and a large covered terrace outside. A refuge for beer lovers since it opened in the 1960s, L’Académie offers the kind of hearty fare that has no better partner than a pint of serious suds, including some of the best moules-frites in town. The mussels are delivered fresh daily, prepared in all the classic ways—marinières, à la crème, au Roquefort, and à l’indienne (curried)—and served with perfect, steaming hot French fries. Mussels cooked in Gueuze beer are a standout, as are other examples of cuisine à la bière, like carbonnade—think rich but beery beef bourguignon. The lengthy beer menu includes an impressive roster of artisan brews from around the world and a fine selection of regional microbrews that exemplify France’s burgeoning beer culture, from the Ardennes microbrew Oubliette, a hoppy, triple-fermented delight, to Grain d’Orge, made near Lille, with its nose of caramel, citrus and spice.

88 bis blvd de Port Royal, 5th



To take your brewsing to the next level, head to the nearby Brewberry. This cave à bière was opened in 2010 by Cécile Delorme Thomas, who caught the beer bug herself during a stint working at l’Académie de la Bière. Now an expert taster, she has assembled a collection of 450 references, including dozens from small French brewers. The focus here is on what’s in the glass, and food is limited to small but tasty snacks— charcuterie, Alsatian-style soft pretzels, cheese from the beer-brewing Trappist monks of Chimay. Ask for a Telenn Du, a delicious buckwheat beer from Brittany with coffee and dark chocolate notes; or an Ardèche brew like Bourganel Myrtille, made with blueberries. For a genuinely extraordinary cuvée, choose a Bulles de Vignes from the southwestern brewery Brasserie des Vignes. Aged six months in an oak barrel formerly used for Médoc wine, this vinous beer, with notes of red fruit and bracing, grapefruit-like acidity, is beer like you’ve never tasted. Try one—you’ll feel the wiser for it.

18 rue du Pot de Fer, Paris 5th

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