Since my love for good beer has increased to obsession level there have been a few people I have met that ooze of so much enthusiasm, passion, ambition, knowledge and likability that makes me realise that it’s more than what’s in a bottle. They make my enthusiasm wake up, they make me want to write more blog posts and try to turn people from their boring pint of mass produced beer to something more interesting, they make me love great beers more, people like Logan at Beavertown, Joan of Birraire blog, Gerrard Oliver of Brooklyn Brewery, Podge with his love for Belgium, a collection of bloggers twitter accounts, Elien from T’Brugsch Bieratelier, the guys from Brighton Bier and the latest Shari the owner of Bordeaux Beer Shop.
The Bordeaux Beer shop first opened in September 2014 and although located in a part of the world known best for their wine is doing well and on a mission to encourage the local people that beer can be as exciting and sophisticated as wine.
When I first visited the shop it was unfortunately closed (it was early on a Monday morning so really I should have expected it to be closed!) but luckily I was returning to Bordeaux the following Friday where I was able to visit properly. The shop is located in a part of town just outside the centre, close to the river and next to the Saint-Michel church, it’s a real mix of an area including tourists to visit the sights, local French people, students and a mix of nationalities all adding to the feel and buzz of the area.
The front of the shop sits underneath a large beautifully carved wooden sign letting you know you have arrived at the Bordeaux Beer Shop. The window has a Brooklyn Brewery sign and some other beer posters. The shop is a long rectangular shape with walls of beer each side running down to the end where there is a fridge for cold beers, a back wall of more beers and the till. There are three beautiful wooden casks in the shop, one to your left as you enter and two making each end of a long narrow wooden table which has box’s of beers, some flowers and chairs each side. Usually there is artwork hanging up from a local artist above the walls of beer but unfortunately I visited during a time where they were being changed over. In front of the till to the right is a large wooden display with some more beers but I was told that eventually/hopefully there will be some interesting snacks available to purchase.
The beer selection is incredible! On your right hand side you have a superb selection of American, English and Belgian beers including great breweries such as Flying Dog, Thornbridge, The Kernel, Beavertown, Brassiere De Le Senne and many many more! To the left you have the best Italian beer selection I have ever seen, some more Belgian beers, Scandinavian beers and a brilliant huge (huge to me although I am told that it is just a window into the real amount) of French Craft Beer. The fridge is a mix of the shops selection and the back wall continues into more French beers.
As good as any shops selection is it is nothing without the right owner, Shari first greeted me when I walked in with a big smile. Originally from America Shari moved to France but when she got there she found it hard to find the style of beers she enjoyed back home. Seeing there wasn’t anywhere she could find these beers the best option was to open a place herself and provide the people of Bordeaux with a better selection of beers.
We sat and spoke while people came in to buy there bottles for their Friday night ahead if them, Shari greeted everyone with the same friendliness as I had been given and I watched her talk people through the beers on offer, describing perfectly each beers taste and smell, you could see that Shari wanted people to love the beers as much as she does, her passion is infectious.
When Shari wasn’t busy helping out customers we sat and chatted, she talked me through some of the French breweries like La Debauche and how far away from Bordeaux they were. It was brilliant to hear and feel that beginning excitement again like Britain had a few years ago. The selection was amazing I never even knew there were so many different French beers and I would love her selection to be available to us over here in England because I feel we don’t see much at all in the way of French beers.
When the store closed after a busy day Shari’s husband came to join us and I was lucky enough to taste some of the beers we had been talking about. We sat and tried a few beers from La Debauche, Matten/Fleurac Highway to Ale and a Spanish beer from Domus . We spoke about French beer scene, some of the great places to visit in London, the beers we were drinking etc. After we had finished those beers we went around the corner to visit Café de Moins for one last beer.
Shari has big plans and great ambition for not only the future of the Bordeaux Beer Shop but I feel for the whole of the French beer scene! I can see the shop growing from strength to strength as it’s in the right hands. In a country where peoples attitude towards enjoying top quality produce is so important I can only see the French Beers, breweries and events getting better and better, and when it does I have no doubt that Shari will be there, right in the middle of it leading the way!