A Beer in Bordeaux

DSC_1332

In a country dominated by wine is there room for beer to shine? Bordeaux is famous for their wines but what does the city have for the beer lover? I had a chance to explore Bordeaux for a little while working there over a weekend. I wanted to find out what kind of beer scene there is in the mist of a French community big on wine.

DSC_1196

Bordeaux is quite a nice city and there are many sights to be seen around the city centre, in all honesty I didn’t enjoy Paris (possibly due to terrible weather, late eurostar and lack of organisation) but I did really like Bordeaux and it has restored my faith in France! Surprisingly there is a handful of good quality beer cafés and shops to keep any beer traveller busy. There are other places to visit that I wasn’t able to see I’m sure but below are some of the decent places I had a chance to spend some time in.


L’amirale Biere
I found L’amirale Biere completely by chance, while aimlessly walking along some streets. When I stumbled upon the shop I was greeted by this huge glimmering window with a large white logo on it.

DSC_1337

DSC_1343

As you walk into the shop you have shelves to your left with rows if beer on them, mainly English craft beer, South American beers, Australian beers and more. Directly in front of you is the till area where you can buy the beers with a fridge behind them for a cold brew for those who want to drink their beers cold.

DSC_1342

After your first few steps inside the building you will see another area to your right which has a few more different beers from Italy, Scandinavian countries, America and even a few beers brewed in France.

DSC_1340

Stepping down into this area there are three high tables all with beer books on them for customers to read (including the brilliant “Let’s Talk About Beer” by our very own Melissa Cole), although the tables would be perfect to sit and drink at unfortunately at present you cannot drink the beers in the shop, I wonder if this may change as I noticed a keg tap behind the bar.

DSC_1339

L’amirale Biere is a slick modern tidy beer shop which reminds me very much of an expensive clothes shop in its layout, apposed to a beer shop crammed full of 100’s of different beers L’amirale Biere is quality over quantity. Big names in the craft beer world are well represented here, Mikkeller, To Øl , Brouwerij ‘t IJ and Anchor Brewing Co can all be found here.

DSC_1338

It’s a shame you can’t drink in there as I would have happily spent some time in here exploring the beers they had in store, however I did buy a bottle to enjoy in the sun in the square next to the shop. Of course it had to be a French Craft Beer and I chose a bottle of HopHopHop! Equinox from Brasserie Corrézienne, a beer from their single hop range. Equinox is a big, fruity, bitter hop that we are going to see a lot of this year. Brasserie Corrézienne perfectly displayed it’s flavours, in fact it was a very good beer and would happily sit along side one of the popular beers in London that has a similar feel and taste.

DSC_1345


The Frog and Rasbif
Part of the French beer chain Frog Beer from Paris, The Frog and Rasbif is a large pub where you can sample all the Frog Beers.

DSC_1199

The pub is a few minutes walk from the Garonne river and just round the corner from Sweeney Todd’s which is another popular pub in Bordauex. Very much like a large English pub in a typical stone French building. As you enter the building you are greeted by a large, long wooden bar to your left and lots of tables, chairs, stalls etc to your right with another hall for drinking at the back where you can also find some fermentation tanks, which I think are actually in operation and they do brew beers on site,  could be wrong here though.

DSC_1225

Although maybe brewing beer slightly leaning towards the masses, Frog beer have a good range of different beers and I had a chance to try a few while eating dinner here. Their Burton Pale Ale is very good and was very popular with the locals, I would give or take on their blonde beer I found it a little soapy, however their two offerings from their superhero range (beers named after some of the sounds you would find in an old episode of Batman, tha..whack, ker..splazz etc) the wheat beer and Black IPA were both fairly good too.

DSC_1202DSC_1203

There’s a good food menu here which is reasonably priced. The burger I had was lovely and the home made coleslaw was incredible I love coriander and this coleslaw had the perfect amount added to it.

DSC_1208

While I was here sitting happily alone at the bar just me and the WiFi there was a pub quiz running and I didn’t have a clue what was going on but they were certainly enjoying themselves, the quiz master at one point was standing on the bar while people were screaming animal noises! It is clearly a popular pub around Bordeaux. The food is good and the beers are interesting enough to make the visit.

DSC_1216 DSC_1226


L’Apollo
In the square next to L’amirale Biere you will find a gathering of cool looking cafes and restaurants. One of the cafe’s here is L’Apollo, this may not be on the list of a beer geek from Bordeaux but for me walking into a bar with this selection on draught is enough to get me excited!

DSC_1348

A large round open bar is the centerpiece in L’Apollo with some pool tables, sofas and chairs behind it. It kind of reminds me of a student bar which it might in fact have been but either way it looked like a cool place to hang out. If you are lucky you may even see live music here too as it is well known and popular for live gigs.

DSC_1346

The beer selection was good with Belgium taking the main event, Filou, Kasteel, Faro, alongside German beer offerings and also La Trappe from The Netherlands. On the day when I visited it was lovely and calm and perfect to relax with a slow beer but I feel by the looks from their Facebook page that it really comes to life at night!


Titi twister
With a name like Titi Twister I forgive you to think that I might have walked into one of the many strip clubs around Bordeaux train station! But I can assure you it is far from.

DSC_1128

DSC_1134

Titi twitter is a cracker of a Belgian beer bar, you could have been mistaken into thinking you had actually been transported straight to the neighbouring country of Belgium and not actually be in France. 8 beers on draught and a decent size bottle selection, Blanch De Bruxelles, Kwak, Westmalle, Urthel Saisonnièr, SAS pils, Curvée des Trolls, Kasteel Rouge, La Chouffe, Delirium and Averbode all blessed the taps at the bar on my visit.

DSC_1139

Green leather chairs, stalls and benches gather around the bar and surrounding areas and many Belgian beer signs decorate the walls. Much to my delight there is a dart board also hanging at the end of the bar, if I had more time in here I would have loved to thrown a few arra’s!

DSC_1135 DSC_1138

Look up and you’ll see beer mats curving around the ceiling and depending on where you are sitting if you look up you will see local artwork scribbled on the back of beer mats on display. I figured it would be rude not to add a little something to the collection before I leave.

DSC_1132DSC_1142

As I sit at the bar sipping the Urthel Saisonnièr listening to the blues music flooding the bar I think to myself how much I would love a bar like this local to me. So relaxing, so classic, so Belgian… But in France.

DSC_1144 DSC_1137 DSC_1143



Bordeaux Beer Shop
When I first found out I was going to Bordeaux I got straight in Google and searched for craft beer in Bordeaux, which led me to the website and twitter page of the Bordeaux Beer Shop. I tweeted them for advice on where to go while in Bordeaux and they helped me with a bit of info.

DSC_1331

When I first went to find the shop I was gutted to find it was shut but good things come to those that wait! I feel that my time in the Bordeaux Beer Shop deserves a post of its own… Which you can read here.

Shari the owner of this beautiful shop kindly gave me a quick lesson in local French beers and she really knows her stuff, if you are in Bordeaux then you MUST visit The Bordeaux Beer Shop as its selection is excellent and I am sure Shari will also give you an introduction to the local beers like she did with me.

DSC_1162


Café de moins
Right around the corner from Bordeaux Beer Shop is Café De Moins, a popular bar with a hip/student hang out feel to it.

DSC_1321

Stone walls are filled with lots of beer memorabilia and huge beer menus. The beer selection here is very good with Belgian beers alongside new French breweries, there is enough on selection to keep any beer geek interested.

DSC_1166

There is a foosball table at the front of the bar and downstairs you also have a basement room with pool tables. The bar is to your right as you enter and it has this weird roof to it, so it’s almost like a hut bar that you would find on a sunny holiday! There are plenty of bar stalls with coat hooks around the bar and at the back of the room there are tables and benches. Word of warning, the toilet is not for the faint hearted ladies!

DSC_1167

The staff are friendly and can speak a little English too so don’t worry about having to practise up on your French. Something I find Europe does so much better than us is providing beer snacks with our beers, it’s the simple extras that does it for me, so I was happy that with our beers we also got a bowl of nuts. The beer menu and surroundings has the making of a great craft beer bar that could push Bordeaux’s beer scene forward and I would be interested in seeing how Café De Moins helps develop the Bordeaux Beer scene in the future.

DSC_1163


The Black Sheep
A short walk from Pont de Pierre  bridge on the river bank you can find The Black Sheep pub, a dark late night hang out. Seats outside are sheltered from the rain by a huge canopy.

DSC_1314

A one room bar which you may have to adjust your vision as you enter as only dim lights will aid your walk to the bar.

DSC_1310

A small draught selection can be seen on the large metal pipe. La Chouffe, Maredsous, Blonde Sheep, Verdett and Brooklyn Lager share the tapes with a few more less exciting beers. A small bottle collection is also available with beers such as La Trappe and Kapittel Watou featuring.

DSC_1311

Innus and Gun have obviously done a big promotional push in Bordauex as there is a selection of their beers with matching glasses on display behind the bar, I also noticed this in the Rambling Man which is close to the Black Sheep.

Another pub with a dart board on the wall makes me happy, there is also a large telly for entertainment.

Sausages and onions hang from the wall to fill bagels served at the bar.

DSC_1313

If you like your whiskies you are also in for a treat as the back walls are full of different bottles of whisky.

DSC_1312

Although not the biggest beer selection in town The Black Sheep is popular amongst locals and if you’re in the area late at night then it’s worth pulling up at the bar and joining the huge La Chouffe statue for a quick drink.


DSC_1156

Bordeaux’s beer scene surprised me, a place so famous for its wines made me doubt it had much beer to offer before I had visited, however it does and my first doubts have gone. One place I wanted to visit but didn’t have time to was Lucifer, which is possibly the best beer bar in town!

DSC_1145

Although France maybe behind the rest of the beer world and the scene is still very young it does have a lot of promise and it is growing rapidly. With many small breweries close to Bordeaux it is great to hear that soon there will be a microbrewery opening up in Bordauex itself, which will strengthen the scene even more. So although it maybe happening slowly it seems that the wine country is finally starting to stop turning it’s nose up at beer!

17 thoughts

  1. Sublime write up. Got next weekend in Bordeaux and came upon this site during my research. Had a couple of these places on my radar but the additional information is much appreciated. Le Lucifer looks pretty good as well.

    1. Cheers Ricky glad you find it useful! I am gutted I didn’t get time to visit Le Lucifer 😦 If I ever get the chance to go again then it will be top of my list to go see!

  2. By jove,you’ve done all the legwork for me !
    I shall be visiting Bordeaux for a long weekend in January to watch a spot of European rugger and your guide is exactly the sort of thing I need for my wife and myself to get trollied for a few days.
    Well done and thanks.

  3. Mission accomplished.Like you I stumbled across L’Apollo and found it a very relaxing spot watching the hipsters and sipping the good selection of beers.Frog &Rosbif was towards the end of one evening so perhaps didn’t give the beers my full attention.Found a bar called Vintage bar in the old town which did a palatable happy hour own brand beer of the same name for €3 a pint.There were other bars but a bit too pissed to remember.But Bordeaux is a fantastic spot for a long weekend with some great little restaurants and bars.Top tip – avoid the Connemara Irish Bar.It’s a rip-off shithole.Thanks once again for the blog.

    1. Morning Frankie! Glad you had a good time! I spoke to my friend at the Bordeaux Beer Shop and apparently there has been a few extra additions to the town, including a new brew pub! Hopefully I will return soon.

      Sounds like you had a good time.

      Cheers for reading.

      Matt

  4. great read..

    Myself and large group of friends are travelling to Bordeaux to support Ireland at Euro2016.. we are looking forward to sampling the nice beers. Can you remember if the city is expensive for beer? Price of local pint?

    Thanks

    1. Hello Colin, From what I remember it wasn’t too bad. Of course the more commercial tourist bars might be, but certainly from what I remember it was a decent price. The Frog and Rasbif I remember being good price. Apparently there is a new brew pub in Bordeaux too! Speak to Shari in the Bordeaux Beer Shop as she will have all the details 😀 Hope you have a good trip and all the best in the Euros… Cheers

      Matt

      1. Hi Matt,

        Many thanks for your reply. It is much appreciated and I will tell my friends about your bar choices.

        Best regards,

        Colin

    1. Hey Paul.. Pop into Bordeaux Beer Shop and talk to Shari (say hi for me) and she can tell you about some new places too. There’s a Brew prob worth checking out apparently and I never made it to lucifer… Have fun

  5. Thanks mate! Going to Bordeaux beginning of April so i’ll take a printout with me. My wife beeing a wine lover just has to hang in there while I check these out 🙂
    Senior Norwegian couple.

    1. Nice one mate! Hope you enjoy your time there. Apparently there is a few new places too so let me know if you find anywhere else. Pop into the Bordeaux Beer Shop and talk to Shari, she will be able to point you in the right direction of the new places 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s