France, like many other countries I’ve discussed, doesn’t have aparticularly notable beer selection. Like gin in Britain and vodka in Russia, France’s mammoth wine industry greatly overshadows their beer.
That fact is especially prevalent here in the states, where French beer is surprisingly difficult to find in on draft or even in bottles. Surprisingly, even French restaurants – the one place most likely to serve French beer – more commonly serve Belgian beer.* From the restaurateurs’ perspective, it’s understandable: Belgium is a beer-producing powerhouse in terms of both variety and quality.
Yet that doesn’t mean French beer is bad. On the contrary, when available, Kronenbourg 1664 is, by far, my favorite beverage when dining on French cuisine. (Let’s forego the lecture on choosing beer over French wine at this point; your protest is duly noted.)
Thus, I took every advantage to drink the delicious crisp and bitter Kronenbourg while in Paris a few weeks ago. I drank it during lunch and dinner and even stocked the hotel room refrigerator full of 33 centiliter cans from a nearby grocery. I was then able to drink in the afternoon, while my toddler napped, as well as in bed after she fell asleep; I even enjoyed one in the bathtub. Such behavior is only permitted on vacation, of course.
Kronenbourg was the fourth member of our vacation during mealtime. It wasn’t my only choice of drink while visiting Paris, but it certainly was my go-to beverage. Well, either that or Orangina – a delicious French treat of the non-alcoholic variety.
* At this point I recall fond memories of the now-closed Pennsylvania Avenue location of Brasserie Les Halles, the French restaurant my wife and I considered our preferred “date restaurant.” It was here, many years ago, that I discovered 1664 and likely the reason I so closely associate it with French cuisine. Thankfully, after many attempts over the course of several years, we finally found a worthy replacement: Capitol Hill’s Bistro Cacao, which in addition to delicious food, serves a wonderfully presented absinthe.