French craft beer - The complete guide

The wait is over, and France is not all about wine anymore. People can now try some delicious french craft beers from all the regions in the country. Brewing craft beer has become very popular during the past decade, and craft beer brewers have been able to polish their skills. All sorts of french craft beers are now available in different beer styles, some traditional recipes or some very original ones. 

Let’s jump right to it and see what French craft beer is all about. In this French craft beer guide we will discuss:

  1. What is craft beer? 
  2. History of French craft beer
  3. The French beer and craft beer law and legislation 
  4. Craft beer bars in France
  5. Some of the best craft beer breweries in France 
bière artisanale française


What is craft beer?


Before we start discussing French craft beer, let’s go through the definition of craft beer, as not all beers are artisanal. So what makes a beer a craft beer? It is not only a label to make a beer trendy. Many think that a craft beer brewery making craft beer means a small brewery, often confusing it with the term microbrewery. Though technically yes, a brewery doing mass production is no longer a craft beer brewery, which means that craft beer breweries are focusing on small production. Nevertheless, size is not the indicator here. 

Craft beer brewing follows craftsmanship guidelines. Craft beer brewers brew with traditional methods and use mainly local ingredients while still getting creative. Craft beer brewers are often independent and not part of big corporations. The key is also innovation and focuses on the consumers. Craft beer brewers are often involved with their community trying to satisfy the demands of the different needs of the customers but also being very creative. 


History of French craft beer


Beer is one of the oldest alcoholic beverages in the world as well as the most popular. But when did beer arrive in France? Beer was already consumed in France in ancient times. That was back when France was called Gaul and not France. Beer was even more appreciated in Gaul than by the Romans, who preferred wine. 

Before the 13th century, beer was only allowed to be sold by brewers. During the 13th century, the first cafes appeared in Paris that received the licence to serve beer. 

In the 19th century, beer became an important drink in France due to the war. It lifted the spirits of the soldiers, warmed them up from the cold and helped them be brave. Unfortunately, the war also brought the disappearance of many breweries.

Finally, the 21st century was the rise of craft beer in France. The number of craft beer breweries in France kept multiplying. Some bigger breweries do mass production, but craft beer is dominating the industry. 


The French beer and craft beer law and legislation  


France is not taking the definition of craft beer lightly. The French Regulation is clear about the terms “beer” and “craft beer”. The word beer is used for an alcoholic beverage that has obtained its alcohol level through fermentation. While craft beer can be only brewed by artisans, craftsmen or master craftsmen. Also, other legal entities registered in the register of commerce or companies where the director is a craftsman may use the word artisanal. So when you buy French craft beer, you may be sure it has followed all the guidelines. 

Craft beer bars in France


Luckily, the days are over when you could only buy beer from the brewers. Now you can also enjoy them at beer bars. There are plenty of beer bars in the country. Here are a few beer bars worth a mention. 

  • Le Coin Mousse is 100% dedicated to French craft beers. It is located in Rennes and has a lovely decorations and a nice terrace. 
  • La Base Filante is a unique beer bar in Paris. It is in front of a cemetery and a very trendy place to enjoy, especially in the summer. 
  • Chez Marcel is situated in the town of Arras in a building that used to be a soap factory. You can always get the newest craft beers from this beer bar. 


Craft beer breweries in France 


Besides craft beer bars, you must know about some of the best craft beer breweries in the country. Today there are over 1600 small breweries in France. Some of them also have a bar or a taproom where you can directly try out their beer. Be sure to see the beer selection from the Brique House brewery, Zoobrew, Aerofab brewery, Brewery La Debauche and Hoppy Road, just to name a few. 


Further reading and links:


See our full list of some of the best microbreweries and craft beer breweries in France

Check also the list of breweries from the capital of France, the best brewers of Paris

Discover some of the best craft beers of France in our catalogue. We have French craft beers in all beer styles like ales, IPA’s, stouts, amber, white beer, and many more. Buy online with us and get some of the best French craft beers delivered to your house. 

If you like to discover new craft beers, then have a look at our beer subscription. Discover new French craft beers monthly. 

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