Worthwhile French Beers: Étoile du Nord

21 10 2008

France is not known for its beer.  This is not without reason – most French beers pale in comparison to those of its neighbors to the North, East, and West.  Belgian beers are quite easy to come by in French bars and grocery stores, while German and English beers are less common.  So when Nick announced that he had found a beer storethe other day, I was mainly excited to get my hands on some Spaten or Newcastle. 

While many of the beers in stock were Belgian, they tended to be the less common ones, so we stocked up on small batch Gueuze and Lambic before perusing the other offerings.  No Spaten or Newcastle, but they did have a wide selection of German Hefeweizen and a handful of French craft beers.  We decided to pick up a few of these, to see if French microbrew was anything like its counterparts abroad.

The first one I was drawn to bore the name Etoile du Nord (North Star) and I picked it up because of the words “Bière blonde houblonnée” meaning “hoppy blond beer.”

Etoile du Nord

If there’s one type of beer I miss, it’s the highly hopped microbrews of the Pacific Northwest.  I was hoping to get a little of my fix with this beer.  And I wasn’t hugely disappointed.  When poured, this beer had a very large head, but once you got down to the golden liquid, it had a distinct hoppy aroma and the mildly spicy flavor of fresh hops.  If this is what French microbrewers have to offer, I’m intrigued.  I can’t wait to get out there and start trying some more.

The topic of French beer came up in a discussion over on she eats, which is what got me thinking about doing a series on French beers.  I hope to post periodically about small-batch French beers that I think are worth drinking.  K, since you asked so nicely, here you go.

Originally published on Croque-Camille.




4 responses

21 10 2008
Cathy - wheresmydamnanswer

When we were in France my Hubby fell in love with French beer – 1667 is his new favorite – I will see if we can find this little gem here in the states and give it a try!!

21 10 2008

houblonnée: thanks, camille, an exciting new vocab word! i’m just wondering why it never turned up on one of mme. ross’ weekly quizzes.

21 10 2008

Cathy – Good luck! “Une seize,” as they call it around here, is one of my preferred French macrobrews. Though if I can find it, I’ll take a Fischer Amber any day.

Erin – You’re welcome. The more time I spend speaking French, the more I realize how truly useless most of those quizzes were. And every time I see a package of overpriced “noix de pécan,” I get bitter about how she marked me off for writing that despite the fact that SHE didn’t have the word for it. But I should probably let that go.

30 10 2008
Bière française: existe-t-il? « she eats.

[…] and began their journey towards discovery.  Their first beer, Etoile du Nord, is reviewed here:  Worthwhile French Beers.  Does it live up to the standards set by French wine and cuisine?  Find out for […]

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