Considered by many to be the first craft brewery in Paris, Brasserie de la Goutte d'Or was a mandatory stop. The brewery is named after the area it resides in (Goutte d'Or, or "drop of gold"), which is considered to be a Sensitive Urban Zone (ZUS). This ZUS consists 35% of immigrants and suffers from a high percentage of unemployment. This was apparent by the unusually high number of men who lined the streets in the afternoon. On the short walk from the subway, I had a slightly uncomfortable feeling being the only woman on the street, as I passed maybe 150 men (Something that any beer-drinking woman traveling through should take note of).
When I arrived at the brewery, I found the door at a cute little corner with a "craft beer" sign in the window and a glass store front. Beer bottles made up the main lighting fixture and there was an artsy wooden counter top, on which their beer samples rested.
My favorite thing about this brewery is the culture that is infused into it. Being such a new microbrewery in the area, I feel it's extremely wise that they are filling it with regional culture that is immediately noticeable. Though there was no one available to speak in English with me about the brewery or beers at that time, I saw that the beer names all had meanings behind them. La Chapelle is the name of the boulevard that bounds Goutte d'Or in the south. Chateau Rouge? A sub-neighborhood of Goutte d'Or. L'Assomoir? The name of a novel, which takes place in Goutte d'Or and depicts the life of alcoholic workers.
My favorite of their brews was the 3 Ter, their coffee tripel. Sounds weird, I know. But it worked. It had a very thin white head, which did not persist. The beer itself was a cloudy dark, slightly orange, yellow. The aroma very distinctly smelled of rich coffee. The coffee in the flavor dominated, as well, but leaned towards a sweeter coffee flavor (rather than bitter or coffee ground flavors). Backed by your classic Belgian maltiness and slight spice, I found 3 Ter to be an interesting mixture.
My second favorite would be L'Assomoir, their imperial stout with ginger. All samples were poured from bottles, but as I arrived rather close to closing, the sample bottle was pretty warm and near its end. I don't feel that I can write a proper review, based on that old bit of beer. However, I brought a bottle home and will write a full review on L'Assomoir as soon as I taste it again.
I have to give this brewery credit for their very unconventional recipes. Coffee Tripel? Ginger Stout? A Red Chilli Biere de Garde? While some worked better than others, I wonder whether the unusual recipes are in attempt to cater towards the tastes of the African and Algerian populations existing in the area. I always assumed Belgian styles would be more appealing to French tastes, but it's an obvious truth that many of the French still prefer their traditional (and well respected) wine selection. Or are the strange recipes simply a brewer being creative? Either way, I'm curious to see how the Parisian craft beer scene continues to develop in the coming years. What are your thoughts on the Parisian wine v.s. craft beer issue? Let me know in the comments below or check back soon for my next post on Paris!
Until then, hoppy drinking!
- One Hoppy Lady