Friday, May 16, 2014

Beer in Europe ~ le deuxieme part

Just as in other parts of the Civilized World, there are two primary means of enjoying beer.

Frogpubs are everywhere around Paris
and serve their own unique version of
water labeled as beer.

The first is to buy beer and take it home.  You can enjoy the peace and solitude of your own space where you can watch a rugby match and the 'loo is just over there.  You're free to drink whatever you purchased in whatever quantities your bladder can handle.  The car keys can stay well hidden, too.

While my favorite beer shop in Paris is the Bootlegger, it is far from being the only place to score a tasty brew or two.  Here is a list of well-stocked places you can visit.  Perhaps there's a conveniently located Suds Shop near you?  And  should your French language skills fail you, many shop owners/employees know enough English to get you where you need to go.

La cave au bulles is a good place
to find the State of the Art in
French microbrews

The second way to enjoy CE beer is to visit a well stocked pub, bar, bistro, or brasserie.  If you choose wisely, chances are you'll have a great time.  You can have a nice meal as well as a view of Parisian street-life as it streams by your Inside or Outside table.

The only drawback to socializing in a place like this is the price of une pinte.  This is pronounced "une pant", though one guy keeps telling me it's pronounced "une peent".  Trousers or a proper English pint pronounced in a French accent?  You decide.  In any event, it can be difficult to find a Happy Hour 4Euro "pant".  Unhappy Hour prices seem to start at 6Euros and you may be scalped for as much as 12Euro in the touristy bits of la village.

For each their own reasons, I like to frequent deux endoits.

Le Comptoir Rugby Bar can be an interesting
place to meet the locals and to find out
about variable ETOH on-tap brew

The first is le comptoir rugby bar.  Their par pression beer list is short and their menu is limited to lunch items.  Yet I like this place as it's where I learned that the French (some French, at least) love the very Anglo-Saxon sport of rugby.  It's also where I learned about a beer that comes from Normandy.

The barman said the alcohol content varies in this specific brand of beer.  Top of the barrel pours are around 9 percent.  The bottom of the barrel pours cross over to 12 percent ETOH.  So I put him to the test before ordering "une pant."  He took a shot glass and poured a wee-bit, took a swallow, swished it about the gums and teeth, and pronounced it contained closer to 9 percent than to Absolute Rocket Fuel.

Knowing these kinds of Important Details could mean the difference between a pleasant "deux pant" Tilt To The Left (it's a socialist country, until the next elections at least) on the way home and an On All Fours Baby Crawl.  I'm sure they offer this in smaller glasses, but it never occurs to me to ask.

Falstaff has a long long list of beers
to choose from as well as a nice selection
of tasty goodies on tap

The second place I like is much better stocked than le comptoir and is a real blast to visit.  Falstaff is found at 42 Rue Montparnasse just around the corner from la gare Montparnasse.  Pay attention to the difference between Avenue M. and Rue M. and you should be able to sort out how to get there.  It's otherwise not entirely obvious.

Falstaff's par pression varieties span a nice broad range of tastes and styles.  Each month (I think that's it) they offer a different specialty tap.  This month it was a brown ale from some godforsakenuncivilizedplace.  I didn't try it, but I did have my fair share of Pilsner Urquell.  While the stuff you get in the States is Better than Bud, it's absolutely brilliant on tap here in Yerp.

They offer a Trappiste (of at least one variety), a couple blonds, a few brown ales, and Guinness.  The Belgium beers on tap will be Rocket Fuel.  You've been warned.

A look at Falstaff's tap, well, one half of
it at least.  It continues far to the right
of this image (which is where - malheureusement -
French politics is schwinging these days)

I used to love Guinness, oh, about 40 years ago.  It was exotic and dark and we used to joke it was actually well used motor oyle.  Times have changed and my palate changed with the times.  At 4percent ETOH, Guinness Ain't Squat.  But it is readily available around the city.

If what Falstaff has on tap fails to excite you, read their Beer By The Bottle list.  It's amazing.  They haul in stuff from literally around the world.  It's an outstanding selection and there's something for nearly everybody.

... AND... if it's Game Night and you're up for a Serious Event, they are happy to sell you 3 liters worth of Something Really Good.  I can't imagine being coherent after that much beer.  Perhaps your liver is made of Sterner Stuff than mine?  After all that fun it seems only sporting that you'd get to keep the glass too.

Beer from small Belgium brewers can
be wonderful.  Exercise well your taste-buds
Test early.  Test often.  Pray that the
National Front fails to win the
Presidency next election cycle.

Of course there is a nice list of places elsewhere where you can soak your liver and exercise your kidneys.  Failing local advice (this is a wine producing country, after all), such lists can be a Beer Lubber's Life Savior.

Should nothing tempt you, Belgium is only a quick TGV ride away.

In short, when it comes to beer all is not bleak in Paris.

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