By Kevin Bonnaud
If you were wondering how to digest all the chocolate you will eat over the Easter weekend, we have a plan for you. The second edition of Lyon Beer Festival, which will be held at the Sucriere, a 10 minutes’ walk from Confluence shopping mall on the banks of the Saone river.
95 French and European crafted brewers will be there to discuss the ways the alternative but growing micro-brewery industry can survive alongside the large corporations. An opportunity for visitors to drink homemade beers in a friendly atmosphere, attend conferences and workshops to learn more about high quality beers. Tasting techniques, Beer and Food pairing to get some gourmet advices. 5,000 visitors are expected.
Though Lyon is known internationally for its red wine, especially the Beaujolais, famously considered as the city’s third river, local and urban breweries have been on the rise over the past few years. Rhone-Alps has even become the region with the largest number of crafted breweries.
A new generation of young entrepreneurs, beer enthusiasts, have come up with the desire to embrace a new career helping to reshape the landscape of crafted breweries.
Lyon craft-beers and Micro-breweries
La Canute Lyonnaise
Let’s begin by La Canute Lyonnaise. A small beer factory created by Simon Potie in late 2014. Former mechanical engineer, he brewed as an amateur for 6 years, passed a diploma in brewing before opening his own business in Pierre-Benite, in the south west of the agglomeration.
If you are looking at the name of the beers to choose one over the other, you may be a little bit disappointed as each of them bear the name of one Lyon neighborhoods. The Confluence lager beer has hints of bitterness with floral and spicy notes. A mix between a Belgian beer and a French hop. You may drink some of the beers sold to a pretty long list of bars and restaurants in Lyon.
Platypus, The Beer Culture
Similarly, Ludovic Cileo, former photograph and Amandine Bardin, former cinema make-up artist opened their local brewery in the 8th district followed by a café near Perrache. The idea was to develop crafted urban beers while spreading knowledge about their know-how and the diversity of flavors. That’s why beers are served by the brewer himself who explains the production process whether it’s the brewing or the fermentation.
Customers can discover the beer culture by reading magazine, books, comics in a library within the cafe. Six draft beers are proposed. The Platy-blonde beer made with French hops has a nutty taste. There is also the West Coast IPA brewed with American hops. A bitter but fruity amber beer thanks to the hints of lychee, mango and passion fruit…
Platypus café – 32 Cours Charlemagne (Lyon 2) – Subway A Perrache.
Dulion, The Organic Beer
Dulion brewery is even more innovative by using exclusively unmalted cereals boosting local framing while saving water and limiting energy costs. Cereals come from the large urban park of Meribel Jonage, hops grow in the Beaujolais area. The beer recipes are made with oat, rye, spelt or gluten-free buckwheat. The Triple Grain Belgian beer use a mix of barley, spelt and rye. The brewery was founded in 2013 in Rillieux-la-Pape, just outside of Lyon, by Christophe Bellet, an agrifood ingeneer.
This local fresh craze should not come as a surprise. Back into the Middle Ages, Lyon was renowned for its water’ properties favoring the beer production. In the 19th century, there was 26 beer factories in Lyon! The best example of this ongoing trend is the Brasserie Georges.
Brasserie Georges, Lyon’s most famous Brewery Starts Brewing Again
Since 2004, the historic brewery founded in 1836 by a brewer from Alsace near Perrache train station has restarted to make its own beers. 4 different beers including the powerful and aromatic Munica Brune. A dark Milk Porter with a dry and roasted taste, scents of chocolate and coffee. Both Sweet and bitter.
There is also a seasonal German inspired white beer very refreshing with hints of banana and vanilla. The art deco venue is a must-see in Lyon with leather bench seats and decorated ceilings. To have the best experience, come on a Saturday night to hear a jazz band (if you like jazz).
Brasserie Georges 30 Cours de Verdun (Lyon 2) – Subway A Perrache
Ninkasi, A local success story
Much more recent, almost as known as the Brasserie Georges especially among young adults and supermarket-goers, Ninkasi beers are hard to ignore with 9 bars in the city. The name is the reference to the beer goddess in the Sumerian mythology. Created in 1997 by locals, the idea was to develop a café-concert concept with beers, burgers and (a lot of) music.
Ninkasi proposes a selection of seven beers including a black beer with scents of caramel, a Pielsen blonde beer named after Lyon’s soccer team… In addition, there are three (limited) Grand Cru beers that can easily be kept a couple of years. A Barley wine beer made with Xeres flavoured oaks which give a large range of aromas: banana, liquorice, nuts and vanilla. The factory, which moved to Tarare in 2012 (45 km west of Lyon), can be visited on Saturdays. The tour includes a tasting when beers are still in the tanks.
Bars in Lyon and Villeurbanne: Gerland, Cordeliers, Saint-Paul, Croix-Rousse, Sans Souci, Guillotière, Gorge de Loup, Gratte-Ciel, La Doua.