Fans of craft beers and local produce should definitely pay a visit to this little brasserie tucked away in the Goutte d’Or, the heart of the 18th arrondissement.
Done with brewing in his home-kitchen for friends, Thierry Roche opened up a bricks and mortar place in 2012. At the time, it was the only beer brewery in central Paris.
Although it may not be immediately apparent, the location actually couldn’t be more fitting. You see, the area is known as la Goutte d’Or (or “Drop of Gold” in English) and the name originates from the distinctly rich coloured wine that used to be made right here until the end of the 19th century. (See here for more on that.) The fact that there is once again a booze producer in the quartier making a golden nectar seems a rather appropriate turn full circle.
Situated so close to Gare du Nord and Gare de l’Est, it was a convenient spot for workers coming from the countryside as they looked for work in the big city about two hundred years ago. As time went by, those first immigrants were replaced by foreign settlers and thus the Goutte d’Or became the lively and vivacious area that it is today. Once one of Paris’s grittiest neighbourhoods, it has been (quite considerably) cleaned up in recent years. Despite that, it remains true to its roots – a hotpot of African culture (both Maghreb and sub-Saharan.) On any given street corner within this stretch between La Chapelle and Marcadet-Poissoniers, you can find plantain, yam, exotic spices, beautiful fabric – and most likely some illegal substances if you know who to ask…
The beers made in this micro-brewery reflect this diverse exotic backdrop. A couple of months ago (this blog post has been fermenting for a little while and I must apologise for that) I popped by to check it out and get my hands on a drop of gold.
My Tasting Notes (February 2014)
La Môme (50cl, 5%)
Made for the eponymous restaurant just a couple of metres from the brewery on the rue Stephenson, the beer has a beautiful golden colour and a heavy mousse. There is a funky yeasty nose. The mouth is startlingly dry (would love to know what variety(/ies) of hops were used for this beer) and a little flat. There is a pronounced bitter after-taste. I can imagine that this beer pairs very well with a spicy tajine – La Môme’s signature dish.
A little bit of trivia: in French, une môme can refer to a girl, a kid or even a small bird. La môme was Edith Piaf’s nickname.
Myrha (50cl, 5%)
A blonde flavoured with dates, reflecting the north African influences found along the rue Myrha. It’s very moussey and the dried fruit notes come through clearly. Somewhat sweet, obviously non filtered, the yeast sediment is very present. To be drank chilled on a hot summer’s day.
Chateau Rouge (50cl, 6.5%)
Chateau Rouge is the name of the fairly grotty metro station between Barbes-Rochechouart and Marcadet-Poissoniers. Cloudy. The spices (this beer is brewed with some hibicus and chili) add an interesting edge. Sweet caramel and notes of pain d’épices. Round. Tails off just a little too early for me, leaving the characteristic bitter aftertaste.
3ter (50cl, 8.5%)
Made in collaboration with the Cafe Lomi (also in the 18th) it uses three strains of yeast, three different malted barley and three varieties of Arabica coffee. It is technically a Belgian-style blonde, but this just goes to show that labels can be deceptive.
One of the favourites from the tasting – you really do get a full nose of coffee. A really interesting beer, it is rich and with a bitter finish; plenty of dark chocolate and torrefied espresso characters. In contrast to the others, which I found rather lacking in substance, this beer really packs a punch. Might be rather like Marmite but I love it.
Charbonnière (50cl, 7.5%)
Another puncher – a smoked amber ale, named after the rue Charbonnière. Whereas some of the earlier beers had a generous mousse – this had barely any. There are plenty of smoked toasted notes, on the nose as well as the mouth. It’s heavy. Works well with food such as a saucisse de morteau or a burger. Interesting.
Essential InformationAddress: 28 Rue de la Goutte d’Or, 75018 Telephone: 09 80 64 23 51 Website: Brasserie de la Goutte d’Or, Facebook Opening Hours: Thursday, Friday from 5pm-7pm and Saturday from 2pm-7pm for tastings, visits and purchases. Suggested footwear: shabby sports shoes, it’s the Goutte d’Or remember…