Beer as a part of French culture discovered at the Beer Festival in Lyon!
Do you know how I found out that French people or at least Lyonnise are a little bit obsessed about beer? Well, maybe not obsessed but they really like it? April Beer Festival – has opened my eyes! The event is happening each year in Lyon and it is such a success that if you don’t go in the early morning to enter, you will struggle. Why? Because on top of drinking, there is so much to do and see at the Lyon Beer Festival. I have been & seen and can say:
Firstly, what I appreciate a lot is the fact that I discovered different (french only) style of drinking beer. What surprised me a lot (when I come from the Polish background where beer is a very common drink and from few years living in London where people drink beer a lot) is the fact that you should focus on quality, the taste; discuss it and finally you can drink a beer because each bottle is a new discovery and experience. But what else I could expect when we talk about French people and alcohol. We really should learn from them. There is here in France, the etiquette of eating cheese, drinking wine and it seems there is also the etiquette of drinking the beer. You cannot simply sit down and empty your glass! You have to smell it, turn around, smell it again, do ‘chin chin’ looking into the eyes of your drinking partner and finally take your first sip. Did you notice that?
Secondly, I noticed that there are just a few commercial beer names in France but mostly there are many craft beers which are made with a limited number of exemplaires. Good, bad idea? Well, again (while I come from the commercial beer culture), it is difficult for me to accept the fact, that once i discover a beer I like, I might not find it again to drink. So this is sad. Yet, the fact that there is something new to discover, it is a great idea. And French people again adapted the way of drinking beer very cleverly. Basically, drink and take your time to appreciate & enjoy every moment of it!
Thirdly, I was nicely surprised by the French spirit and dedication of waking up early in the Saturday morning (to be ready for 10am) to enter the event. To pay a little but existing entrance fee and to pay for each sample to taste different craft beers.
And forthly, I was impressed with the craft beer producers coming from Lyon and around. Not only because they represent a great passion for the beer to make it, to design it (the bottles and labels were very good!) and to share this passion with others and to enjoy it! All of the producers who I met were amazingly patient, enthusiastic, passionate about what they do and took time to explain it all to me. And I would like to say thank you to all of them and I look forward to seeing them again.
Lastly, I have good news. There is this biggest Beer Festival happening each year in Lyon in April and if you want to go one step more, you can take part in many smaller beer festivals happening in France and you can find all the news on FB.
But what exactly is this typical lyonnaise beer festival – the Lyon Bière Festival? It is the initiative Rue89, which for some years has been working to promote the local wine terroir and who decided to extend the festivities to the craft brewing world. In terms of expertise, Rue89 relied on two passionate people, Nicolas Dumortier and Michel Masurel from Bieronomy. Each year the festival welcome the local excellent brasserie La Débauche, the Haute-Savoyarde brewery of Mont Salève, the Drômoise Full Moon, the inevitable and Lyonnaise Ninkasi, the North brewery Thiriez, the Parisienne Goutte d’Or to name but a few. On the guest side, the Lyon Bière Festival will count on the presence of three Belgian breweries: the Senne brewery, the Rulles brewery and the Val Dieu abbey brewery. On the Swiss side, the brewery of Frances-Montagne and transalpine the Extraomnes. The number of expositors and visitors are growing very quickly. So you need to be careful when planning to attend the Lyonnais Beer Festival in order to enjoy and make the most out of it. But don’t worry it is here where I comes with my few Tips for attending Lyon Biere Festival:
- Come for the opening, so even if you have to queue, you are sure to get inside.
- Eat there! As there will be tasty food trucks and I can assure you you will enjoy it!
- Take your pocket money. Break the ‘saving pig’ for a money change as a little sample of beer will cost you around 1 euro. And you need notes and coins to buy your food or bottles.
- Wear casual clothes & shoes to feel comfortable and fashionable when drinking and eating without tables and seats.
- Get a big bag in case you like a sample and decide to buy a beer bottle. You need your free hands to taste more beers.
- Read the program and exhibitors list before going and decide on which craft producers you want to meet. Make your own list! But also be open to discover new things.
Useful? I hope so. But maybe you can add any other?
Anyways, at the end I just wanted to sum up. Yes – the beer is being drunk in France more and more. Yes – there are more and more craft beer producers. And yes – we are seeing a new beer drinking etiquette being created (what else could happen when the French meet beer?!). That what I noticed but what else I found out and proved myself is that Czech Republic is the country which drinks the most beer, Poland has the proud 6th place and UK – the 27th (I am surprised here, I would give Uk higher position). France is lost in the long list when it comes to the beer and strong alcohol consumption but proudly got 5th place in the wine drinking! We can easily understand that France cannot be on the top of the beer drinkers but what is happening is that since 2016, beer become the most dynamic category in the alcoholic drinks in France.
Oh la la, it seems I can talk about the beer a lot. But let me finish for now and let me invite you to the Beer Festival in Lyon or at least to taste some of the craft french beers. You can find them in a particular beer boutiques all over the France (in Lyon we have for example Crafteria); in the beer pubs (in Lyon it is for example Palais de la biere) and also online and here I found Bieronomy as the most comprehensive for the choice, deals and offers online beer shop.