France, Paris & Tours

Part 3:

Paris Day 9

As luck would have it when we landed in Paris we discovered there was a beer festival on the next day and that’s where we headed via Jim Morrisons grave in Per Lachaise. So off we went to Mondial De La Biere where 80 breweries were promised along with tasting sessions, demos and the best of Parisian street food. Straight in the door we run into Rick from Kinnegar who was a joy to talk to and gave us some artwork to take away and spent a good half hour chatting about beer whilst sipping on their NEIPA which is damn tasty. We decided to go for a browse to see what was on offer and found that the majority of the offerings were IPA or pale ale. Note should be taken by Irish festival organisers on the contactless credit card system for paying for the beer which lessened queue time and no totting up tokens at the end of the day.

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The festival closed at 7 so we needed to move through the crowds with pace and found the highlights to be from Basqueland Brewing and White Frontier, the Swiss based brewery that employs former Galway Bay head brewer Chris Treanor. We also sold our souls and went for a Goose Island Halia which is described as a sour peach saison aged in wine barrels with Brettanomyces Claussenii and fifty pounds of peaches per barrel. What’s not to like, the beer was impeccable.

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Whilst waiting for our world famous take-away Chinese dumplings to arrive we popped into a wine shop which also allows you to sit down and sample the wares, which we dutifully did, but I also spotted a beer section and grabbed some 3 Fonteinen, De La Senne and my favourite beer of the moment Saison D’Louvrier which is a tart saison from the Italian brewery LoverBeer.

 

Day 10

I brought with me an extensive list of places to visit when in Paris and first on the list was La Fine Mousse which is craft beer designated and poured sour beers from Jolly Pumpkin-No Ka Oi, De Ranke-Cuvee De Ranke preceeded by a thirst quenching Psychotic Pale Ale by Parisis.

Next up was Le Trois 8 which had a nice craft only selection and an aggressive, rocker-looking  barman in a tiger onesie! Turned out he was a kitten and served up a fine platter of breads, fermented jams and pickles and cheeses to be washed down the Wild Beer Co. table beer.

Moving on we hit up Brasserie Outland which is a very tidy and friendly brewpub who have collab’d with The White Hag, Kinnegar and Boundary according to our barman and we tried glasses and tasters of nearly everything they had to offer and all passed the taste test.

Day 11/12/13

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We were off to the little known Parisian Passages for a stroll through mostly 19th century typical Parisian architecture and each individual one has its own subset of shops, cafes and restaurants. There are approx. 20 of them in the Grands Boulevards area of Paris and well worth a visit for something a little alternative.

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We took a trip to the past with lunch in Chez Chartier which is located in an old train station and has been around since 1896. The offerings were traditional French cuisine served by waiters dressed in traditional attire and both food and service were of high quality though I did opt for the charcouterie over the snails!

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A lock of snails.

Next day we were off to Tours so we downloaded an app that lets you rent a car off someone in the vicinity. We met the guy and he took a few snaps of the car and away we went fully insured around the madness of Arc De Triumph roundabout and down the motorway! Simple as that. I believe someone in Ireland is trying to set up something similar but insurance seems to be the stumbling block.

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Roadside Oedipus Gose en-route to Chateau Valmer.

Chateau Valmer was the first port of call on a blisteringly hot day and before any samples were had we took a self-guided tour around the magnificent grounds where they also grow a pretty impressive fruit and vegetable garden amongst the vines. I have to admit, I was here with the intention of swabbing some of the grapes to harvest whatever yeast was living on them and had some sterilized swabs with me (2 months later the yeast has really kicked off with brett/sacch and lacto present but that will be a future blog post).

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Tour completed, yeast harvested and briefly chased (or so we thought) by a man in a very tall machine that tends to the vines and we headed for the next winery which was Vouvray and here we got to visit the caves where a LOT of wine was ageing. The area seemed to specialise in white wines varying from dry, sweet and champagne like. The trip has given me a new found respect for white wine and I feel I can now appreciate what they have to offer with careful creation. I’ll need a Loire valley white wine barrel for ageing saisons in that case.

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Next up was a cheese and meat platter by the Loire river with a bottle of Biere Du Chameau and reading back over my notes the words BAKING HOT are heavily stressed. We went the few short miles into Tours and cold showered before heading back down riverside to a barge which seemed to be the place where everyone converged in the heat. They had a Canadian IPA on and I believe the brewery was from Quebec but I neglected to write down the name but they were real thirst quenchers and badly needed.

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Pizza called so we popped into a place called Le Cappuccino and I had a pizza base that was layered with Bolognese sauce and pepperoni that will forever be remembered for all the right reasons. The trip was finished with a bar that had Saison Dupont on tap and all in all I was well impressed with what France had to offer and opened my eyes from a culinary perspective along with a new found respect for white wine. That concludes the three part mini-European tour so until I get to travel next I shall be concentrating on posts about my own brewing and yeast wrangling.

Thanks France and thanks for reading!

@widestreetsean

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