You can discover the timeless and rich culture of beer and brewing in France for yourself.There are a number of museums which house the eternal story of beer, the maiden who remains forever young. She is the pride of the old brewer, whom she supports in all of his struggles. She offers hospitality to the lovers of knowledge, and sustains and nourishes us today through love and adventure.
The Beer Museums of France
In France, the brewing museums are concentrated along the tree-lined roads of the Lorraine region. From the Meuse aux Vosges, passing by the Moselle and the Meurthe, these places have history engrained in their very architecture. The museum archives hold the memories of long-closed brasseries, and of the golden age of brewing in Alsace-Lorraine.
Containing a rich and rare collection, the Musée Europeen de la Bière de Stenay (European Museum of Beer), found in Meuse, presents an exposition of beer and brewing in their entirity: the history and construction of the breweries, the evolution of brewing techniques, and the art, symbols and the popular traditions.
In the same region, the Maison de la Polyculture in Lucey presents a permanent exhibition on the cultivation of hops, lost from Lorraine since 1971, including a carefully constructed hops storage barn. Also on display are various tools used for brewing as well as for harvesting hops and measuring certain spices to be put in the beers.
The Musée Français de la Brasserie (The French Museum of Brewing) de St. Nicolas of Port, located in Meurthe-et-Moselle, outside of Nancy, is built in the former town brewery. The museum offers both the techical and industrial sides of beer making, and bears witness to the vitality and the modernity of the brasseries in the Lorraine region.
You can visit the brewing room, the subterrainian storage areas, the machine room and the malt area. The step by step process will fascinate of the visitors with the perfect state of the art in brewing.
The jewel of the museum is the reconstructed reception hall of the glorious brasserie, which serves as the official location for the meetings of local homebrewers.
It’s not only industrial, but also the cultural contributions of the brewer that are on show at the Musée Vosgien de la Brasserie. Located in Ville-sur-Illon dans les Vosges, in the former brasserie Lobstein, it is admirably maintained by the St. Bernard Saunier benevolent society, and supported by visitors who come to admire the architecture.
The stories of the breweries are powerfully told, using documents and objects of the era; and through the local Vosgien beers: la Gerbe d’Or (the sheaf of gold) from Val d’Ajol, Samaritain de Veittle , and the legendary KB de Charmes. The creation of masterbrewer Kanter, it would later become Kanterbrau, in the in the Brasserie de Champigneulle, the sole survivor of this glorious era.
The Lorraine Beer Tour
The brewing museums in Lorraine constitute the centerpiece of the beer tour of Lorraine, a tourism project that was the initiative of various conservators.The itinarary takes in the charms of culture and gastronomy, and the sagas of the master brewers of the 19th century in their centers of activity at Xertigny, Vézelise, Gerbéviller,Ville-sur-Illon, Maxéville and Tantonville.Or the vestigesof the brasseries at Bruyères, Fontenoy-le-Chateau, Dommartin-les-Remiremont, BasseYutz, St. Nicolas de Port, Saint-Avold, Longwy, Bar-le-Duc, Baccarat, Thierville and Amos a Metz.
For all information contact: The Beer Tour—Lorraine Region, rue de la Citadelle, Stenay, France 55700, tel. 126.96.36.199, fax. 188.8.131.52.
The Alsace Beer Tour
Beer and brewing in Alsace has always been revered and respected—no surprise in a region with a strong gourmet tradition where people know how to live well. Beer making is a true art, which is cultivated like a garden that is available to all.
When one knows the fine cuisine of the region, and the range of extraordinary beers which ban be found—from four star restaurants to small family farm lunch stops—it’s no wonder that the Beer Tour is a fabulous destination for visitors who want to share the brewing heritage.
The visit to the brasseries and hopperies are celebrated in many folkloric talks, one being “Balade Strasbourgeoise,” which narrates the history of the brewing capital of Strasbourg at a time when where were 80 brasseries within its walls, as well as the ballad of the hopmerchant of Kochersberg.
For all information contact: The Office of Tourism for the Bas-Rhin Area located in Strasbourg, tel. 03.88.15.45.88 or 03.88.15.45.89
Jean Claude Colin
Jean Claude Colin writes about beer and organizes Eurobiere, the Strasbourg-based beer trade fair. He created the Alsatian Beer Trail, and also creates names and labels for breweries, among them Bête des Vosges and Juliette. His books include La Bière, Saveurs et Degustation, La Bière en Alsace, Le Guide Gourmand de la Bière, and many other titles.