The French may have a penchant for crapping in holes in the ground but they are not totally uncivilised, as I was reminded when I heard Léo Ferré being played as the background music in a climbing gear shop. And although France is not renowned as a great beer country their malt based beverages are not entirely without merit.
My holiday to Chamonix was an altogether more sober affair than my trip to Belgium, but then it was a climbing trip rather than a study tour of breweries.
I don't think I had more than three pints worth in a night, as a stinking
hangover would really not have been welcome when precariously clinging
to a rock face.
Still, Chamonix has it's own brewpub so I had to call in:
The brewing kit is behind the bar and five beers were available.
I went for the IPA, which to my surprise was more like a British golden ale than an American IPA. Too bleedin' yeasty mind, so once again I was bemoaning the lack of finings.
In the main I got beer from supermarkets though as it's a lot cheaper that way. The Mont Blanc brewery did a good drop, and bières de garde were widely available.
Belgian beers were also there to tempt me, and amongst the wide range of Leffe beers (there's bleedin' thousands of them now) there was one variant that made me curious enough to crack and buy it.
I went for the Cascade not the Whitbread Golding Variety version and it was quite pleasant. Dryer than normal, with the hop and yeast flavours in balance and not a mention of craft anywhere on the packaging.
There did seem to be a gap in the beer range on sale, as unlike the bog standard lagers none of the more flavoursome beers were below 6.5% ABV. As I was in France I just had to adapt my habits to their ways. Well, as far as the beer went anyway. My toiletry habits stayed thoroughly British.