Saturday I went to visit the newest brewery in the Paris area, Zymotik (http://zymotik.jimdo.com
). Owner/head brewer/chief cook and bottle washer Florent Deneubourg is a biology teacher who, after spending a few years teaching in NYC, discovered the world of American-style brewing. He hasn't upgraded to full-time production and is still a teacher, but he manages to find time to brew 3 hL (2.5 BBL) per week. Also (and really interesting for me and our club) he holds weekly 'homebrewing workshops' where he presents a powerpoint on the history, chemistry and processes behind brewing while you brew a beer of your choosing. Two weeks later you come back and bottle and take home the beer. It's the same principal as the homebrewing storefront type places in the US, but I think he's the first person to do it in Europe.
A couple examples of the beers - lager, double IPA, porter and an irish red.
The brewery itself. I was happy to see that 1. he uses the same burners as me and 2. he had cobbled together his own brew stand. Even better, he told me where I could find a shop (ONLINE ORDERING!) where I could buy bigger steel... the stuff at the local hardware store just ain't strong enough. He also told me where to go (online ordering again!) to find bigger systems, so perhaps when (if? eh..) I upgrade to microbrewery status it won't cost me an arm and a leg. Basically it's a site with used industrial stainless steel stuff.
Anyway. Here are a couple photos of 'students' from the brew session - we weren't there for the whole thing (just stopped by to say hello)
The French beer scene is really coming into its own now. We've got a new organization: http://marjorie.jacobi.free.fr/phpboost/news/news.php
Front Hexagonal de libieration (Bier... get it?) - here's their manifesto: http://translate.google.com/translate?js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&sl=fr&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fmarjorie.jacobi.free.fr%2Fphpboost%2Farticles%2Farticles.php%3Fid%3D2%26cat%3D1&act=url
Basically, they think that the French brewing industry is 1. too focused on brune/blanche/blonde classifications which are too widely focused and don't allow people to really discover the different types of beer available and 2. each brewery is off in its own world and there's no communication or collaboration. They're trying to change all that. It's really exciting to see. What I love is that they're trying to create a standardized, recognizable labeling system for beer, for right now it's only IBU indicators, but I think they're planning on doing more.
There's also a new series of events, Les Soirées Maltées - http://www.lessoireesmaltees.fr/
about once every other month you can buy tickets to go on a barge next to Notre Dame and drink beer and eat charcuterie. I'm going to the next one, on Thursday, which will focus on beers from Celtic regions - scotland, ireland, ile of man, brittany, etc.
On the homebrewing front, there's finally a shop that sells homebrewing supplies in Paris: http://www.lesjardinsdelutece.fr/
They're a Brouwland reseller, and while I don't like giving money to that horrible company, at least I don't have to go to them directly, and I don't have to pay a crapload of money for shipping.
The last thing to note is that three new GOOD beer shops/bars have opened in the last six months, and there's a plan in place to open a bar which will sell only
microbrewery beer. That's gonna be a good time right there.
Seems like I got here at just the right time. It's very exciting.