france – PorchDrinking.com
It’s hard to believe it’s already been over two months since our summer 2018 Europe trip. It still feels like just a couple weeks ago we were walking the black sand beaches of Iceland, gazing out over the Cliffs of Moher and admiring in revered silence the beauty of Westminster Abbey. We talk about our trip all the time and are already dreaming up our next one. But I’m getting ahead of myself. There’s one more country and ale adventure story to tell…
Tasteless? Unrefined? Too filling? Probably not how you’d describe the majority of the beer you’re used to drinking. After the all-too-common declaration “Oh, I don’t like it,” these are fairly standard reactions to beer in France, where wine still gets all the attention.
Although a spirit of creativity and experimentation permeates the French craft beer community, negative stereotypes about beer persist among the general public: it’s seen as uninteresting swill for a hot day or to accompany a football match. Many Parisians aren’t even aware that there are nearly a dozen craft breweries operating in their own backyard.
Mike Donohue and Thomas Deck are friends who managed to go from drinking the beer they love to making it. Open just over a month, their brewery, Deck & Donohue, is already making waves in Paris. Located in the Parisian suburb Montreuil, the brewery is one of the few close enough to Paris to bike to. I made it out there during a Saturday open house to taste their Monk brown ale and see what else was on tap.
A few years ago, in the French region of Brittany, I had a beer that took me by surprise: the label said it was brewed with sea salt. I hadn’t yet heard of gøse and the beer had a salinity and fullness that was new to me. I forgot the name and spent several years trying to track down salty beer. On a brewery tour in Seattle I piped up and asked the head brewer if he’d ever heard of such a thing—he looked at me like I was crazy. Of course I wasn’t; I’d just asked several years before the sour beer frenzy hit the States.