With five days in Paris giving us plenty of time, we took a day-trip to Normandy for what turned out to be a great tour of the D-Day landing areas. We had lunch at the café in the Reine Mathilde hotel in Bayeux, the town nearest Omaha Beach and the meeting place for our tour.
The restaurant didn’t have much to offer beer-wise, aside from two offerings from Pelforth, a brune and a spring seasonal. I had never heard of the brewery, but I figured it was worth a shot and ordered the Brune. It was pretty decent, sweeter and less complex than the best of the style — it seemed like more of an English brown than a Belgian brune — but still a good beer.
Back in Paris the following day, we had a post-Louvre lunch at a restaurant/bar nearby, Au Trappiste. As its name implies, the place is Belgian-beer friendly. I started with La Trappe Quadrupel, another classic quad. I was happy to be able to drink one, even a fresh one, after the disappointment in Amsterdam.
I didn’t plan on a second beer, but near the end of the meal I noticed a chalkboard advertising their beer of the month, St. Feuillien Biere de Paques (the second Easter beer I had on the trip). I’ve enjoyed the couple of St. Feuillien beers I’ve tasted, so I didn’t hesitate to try their seasonal. It was quite good — bigger, darker, bolder and boozier than I expected for a spring beer (with lighter, refreshing brews such as St. Arnold Spring Bock in mind), but I enjoyed it.
Our last night in Paris (and in Europe), we went back to one of my old haunts, The Frog & Princess, a lively brewpub in the 6th. Even though I wasn’t into craft beer yet, I hung out here a lot when I lived in Paris in 2002. I loved one of their dark beers (back when my favorite beers were Bass and Guinness), and it was a great spot to watch US sports on satellite TV (including NFL and MLB).
When we walked in this time, it looked completely empty, so much so that we weren’t sure they were open. Once we got inside, we noticed two people drinking at the bar, and two bartenders. There were 6 taps and one hand-pulled engine, and I asked the bartender about the latter, in French. We quickly figured out he was from the US (Philly, to be exact), so I asked him about the rest of the lineup in English. He gave me a sample of a couple of beers, before deciding to save us the trouble and giving me a full sampler (and not charging for it).
The 6 beers were:
-FNB (Frog Natural Blonde)
-Dark de Triomphe
None of them were anything special, but they were all decent for their styles. Parislytic seemed like an English brown, with some nice malty sweetness up front, and some disappointing metallic bitterness in the back. Inseine, on the cask engine, was a solid ESB, and Dark de Triomphe a good porter, with plenty of dark roasted malt and a decent body.
After finishing the sampler, I ended up drinking a pint each of the cask ESB and the porter. The bartender, who admitted that he didn’t know much about beer, said the cask ESB seemed to be a favorite with the brewers (who brew on-site 3-4 times a week) and with “beer connoisseurs”. He said their blonde and blanche were their top sellers, unsurprisingly, while the Ginger Twist was becoming something of a flagship brew. I didn’t taste much ginger, but it did have an interesting herbal/spicy bite.
All six beers had a low abv, with the Parislytic clocking in at 5.2%, Dark at 5.0% and the rest between 4-5%. None qualified as true session beers (none were below 4%), but it was still a nice change of pace after a trip full of much bigger and bolder beers.