These Are the 19 Most Famous French Beers

Let’s explore the most famous French beers. From commercial hits to craft beers that are starting to make a name for themselves. Let’s dive into their history and discover what makes them unique in the global brewing landscape.

Let’s start this article with a nice infographic illustrating these French beers:

french beers infographic


Kronenbourg / 1664: the Most Famous

A 1664 – Credits: Petetambo via Flickr under CC BY 2.0 license

Probably the most famous French beer, the “Kro’ ” is an industrial beer that can be found everywhere. Kronenbourg owns the brand ‘1664’ which is very appreciated by the French and which I will also talk about.

Kronenbourg was founded in Alsace in 1664 under the name of Hatt Brewery. it’s only in 1947 that Jérôme Hatt changed its name to ” Kronenbourg ” in homage to the district where his brewery was located, the Cronenbourg.

Kro’ is very present in the French landscape; indeed, they have repeatedly created disruptive innovations such as in 1953 with their individual bottle, 10 years later when they created the beer packs or in ’83 when they created the twist-off bottle.

Let’s talk about the signature Kronenbourg (website in French), the most famous one, the lager, in its green bottle. For a long time, the Kro’ had a bad name, it was considered as a tasteless beer for lower-class people.

However, Kronenbourg was able to restore its image over the decades, especially with its “1664”. The original 4.2% kro’ with hops and citrus notes is still as pleasant as ever and its fine bitterness, mellow texture and malt-hop finish are still as refreshing.

The 1164, however, is the tastier variant of the kro’ and comes in several ranges, blonde, gold, white, vintage… the taste is generally more appreciated by consumers but still not as much as craft beers.

Kronenbourg beers are still the cheap beers for heavy drinking parties: pleasant but industrial.



A Desperados

Desperados (we say “Despé”) is a beer born in 1995 in Alsace in a brewery that has since been bought by Heineken France. It is a beer oriented towards young people, its tequila aromas, its powerful, subtle, and unique taste has seduced the youth market as expected.

Despé is also perceived as an outsider beer; more like a vaguely alcoholic drink than a full-fledged beer, and a bit more ‘upmarket’ than the packaged beers like the Kronenbourg for example.

That doesn’t mean that it can’t be appreciated by good beer lovers. In its basic version, its clear and brilliant golden color, its subtle taste of malt raised by those catchy aromas of tequila leave a pleasant finish in mouth. It is 5.9% proof and can be drunk chilled between 4°C and 6°C.

Desperados has a wide range of flavors: The Red with guarana and cachaça, the Lime and cactus, the Mojito, the Ginger with ginger or the Virgin without alcohol.



Two Pelforth beers – Credits LeeKeoma, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Pelforth Brewery (The Pelican Brewery) was born in 1921 in Lille out of the association of Louis Boucquey, Armand Deflandre and Raoul Bonduel. It took over an even older brewery, which had been in the family since before the First World War.

Today the brand has been bought out by Heineken, but Pelforth beer has not lost its identity, and everybody will recognize the Pelican logo.

The oldest and best-known Pelforth beer is the Pelforth Blonde with its clear sunny yellow color, its three-grain brewing and its 5.8% alcohol content.

It is served chilled between 9°C and 11°C; it has a nice roundness in the mouth, fruity aromas, notes of almonds and it can be served before or during meals with grilled meats, cheeses, or others.

It is an emblematic beer of the North which proposes today more “high-end” derivatives like the Pelforth trois mat which offers a subtle mixture of tastes of coffee, caramel, and malt; what to delight beer lovers with…



Adelscott’s can – Credits: Micheal via Flickr under CC BY 2.0 license

French beer originally brewed by the Fischer brewery in Alsace. Since it was bought by Heineken France it is brewed by the brewery of l’espérance, in Schiltigheim in the Bas-Rhin.

It is an amber beer with low fermentation and whisky malt aromas. It used to contain whisky malt, but now it is clearly stated that it only contains whisky aromas.

There are two versions of this classical beer sold in stores, with only some differences in the malt and coloring.

Its taste has been altered and its type of fermentation has been modified after the takeover by Heineken (it went from a high fermentation to a low fermentation) which lowered its alcohol content to 5.5° today.

However, its very malty and powerful taste, its nice amber color, and its low bitterness continue to attract many consumers in France and elsewhere.



A glass of Grimbergen beer

Originally a Belgian Beer, this beer has been produced in France since 1989 by Kronenbourg and everyone knows the commercials for this beer which were shown a lot on TV in the years 2000.

A beer with character originally brewed in the abbey of Grimbergen by monks, this abbey has been destroyed three times but always rose from its ashes.

The abbey has given the beer its emblem of the phoenix and its slogans (which changed several times) as “Et le silence se fait” (and silence is made) or ” Le pouvoir de renaître” (the power to be reborn).

The French branch of the brand does not produce the same types of Grimbergen as its Belgian neighbor, but it still has 9 versions of this beer ranging from the original blonde to the “Abbey heritage” to the “Kriek” version, with a cherry flavor.

The original “Blonde” has an alcohol content of 6.7%,  a clear golden-yellow color and a dense cream-colored head. You can smell a developed malt character, fruity notes, and spices.

Its sweet, fruity, and moderately bitter flavor will delight your taste buds and will not leave you with an unpleasant taste in your mouth.


La Goudale

Goudale beer – Credits : Tom Webster via Flickr under CC BY-NC 2.0 license

The Goudale brewery, which also had an eventful history, celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2019, 100 years spent in France without compromising on the quality of its beer.

Originally this brewery was called the Grande Brasserie des Enfants de Gayant and sold its home beers in the surrounding villages. In 1994, the Goudale brand was launched and quickly met with great success.

The brewery grew exponentially and in 2016 it became the Goudale Brewery named after its leading beer and today it employs a hundred people and produces more than 1 million hectoliters per year.

The origin of the name “Goudale” goes back to the Middle Ages when good beers were called “good ale” which became Goudale.

It is a blond beer with high fermentation (7.2°). It contains 5% of caramel malt and 15% of wheat which dominate the taste with notes of coriander and orange.

It is round in mouth and slightly bitter, the wheat gives it a touch of acidity and the malt some bitterness. The final result is very pleasant, it is a beer to be savored.


Monts Beer

The 3 Monts
The 3 Monts beer – Credits: Tom Webster via Flickr under CC BY-NC 2.0 license

A beer from the French Flanders brewed in the 3 MONTS brewery which gets its name from the 3 mountains that surround it. This brewery celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2020 and its managers are proud to have kept their company local and family-owned.

The brewery has made several 3 Monts beers, for all occasions, but the one that is surely the best known is the 3 Monts Bière de Flandre, the one that is the direct heir of the Flanders recipes and the one that has been brewed for generations.

It is a blond beer of high fermentation with an alcohol content of 8.5%. It is preferably consumed between 8°C and 10°C to release its taste of wheat, berries and in its bitter finale -licorice.

It is one of the rare beers marketed to contain only barley malt, hops and water, no additional sugar. This beer is not marketed on a large scale and it remains one of the most appreciated bière de garde (beer for keeping/ of keeping) among the consumers.



A Pietra Beer – Credits: Torus Mastaz via Flickr, under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license

Pietra is an exceptional beer: it was born in Corsica, against all odds. Indeed, the Pietra brewery is the first to open its doors in Corsica, this land of wines and spirits where beer has a very bad image.

This brewery was born out of a dream of both Armelle and Dominique, a Corsican couple who used to regret that no Corsican beer existed.

Against all odds, they managed to open their brewery, “Pietra”, after years of struggle to get the support of investors, to find the right land and to have the necessary brewing equipment built to measure.

Pietra beer is the culmination of their love for beer, their love for their family village, Pietraserena, and the knowledge of the master brewers and apprentice brewers they had recruited.

Pietra is a chestnut brown beer. It is a low-fermentation lager with a 6% alcohol content. Its amber color, its powerful body and its chestnut and cereal aromas remind us of Corsica, the chestnut tree being emblematic of the Isle of Beauty.



The Fischer
Two Fischer beers – Credits: Niko67000, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

An Alsatian beer which was brewed in Schiltigheim, the City of Brewers since 1862; but its origin goes back to 1821 when the brewery still beared the name of “White Bear”.

Since 1821, Fischer has worked on its beer and it is out of concern for quality that the company moved in 1862.

Fischer embodies the savoir-faire of the Pils beer, the one that will become emblematic of the brand after 1982, the Fischer Tradition (in French). In 1996 Heineken France buys the Fischer brewery but does not want to change the recipes of its beers, especially the Tradition, believing that it is part of French culture.

However, its brewing locations change because of the Heineken group but remain approximately in Alsace. The Fischer Tradition goes perfectly with cold meats and Sauerkraut, moreover, this assortment will be suggested to you in breweries like in Lyon for example.

It is a blond beer with a golden color, brewed with local Alsatian hops, it has an alcohol content of 6% and is consumed between 7° and 9°C. A fine but persistent foam, a balance between bitter and aromatic hops, touches of cereals, the whole for a bitter final.

The chestnut flour used in the making of the beer is local and gives its appreciable taste to the beer.



The Jenlain
Jenlain bottle – Credits: Do8y via Flickr under CC BY-ND 2.0 license

Jenlain is one of the most famous beers in the world. It is brewed in a small village in the north of France, Jenlain, since 1922. It is a family brewery and authentic, it is a craft beer that has made its way through the world thanks to its unique taste and recipe.

Jenlain yeast is used for all their beers, it has been perfected over time and is reused from one brew to another. Their grains are sorted with utmost concern and come from local agriculture.

Jenlain Amber is their most famous beer. It is a high fermentation beer and is appreciated for its inimitable taste. It has a coppery color, and its aromas of roasted caramel and cooked fruits make it a beer that you can savor as well as a beer that can be used in cooking.

Its foam is creamy and pure white, and its bubbles are very light. In addition to the classic aromas, you will notice the presence of roasted malts, toasted bread, hazelnuts, roasted almonds and tonka beans.

In the mouth, it is round, generous, sparkling. The initial taste is not very sweet and caramelized, and the final taste is moderately bitter.


Cuvée des Jonquilles

The Cuvée des jonquilles
Scuplture Cuvée des jonquilles – Credits : Ji-Elle, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Discover the Cuvée des Jonquilles, a beer brewed in Gussignies in the north of France by the brewery “Au Baron“. Its name comes from the spring in Gussignies, the time of year when daffodils (jonquilles) decorate the woods.

This beer has quickly made a name for itself on the French scene as well as internationally; it won the Gold Medal at the Brussel Beer Challenge in 2012.

This beer contains 7% alcohol and is a blond beer refermented in the bottle, which gives it a somewhat dark and cloudy color. It can be drunk between 6° C and 8° C.

Two varieties of hops are used in its composition which gives it a pleasant and refreshing aroma.

You will notice a caramel-like smell doubled with floral notes. You will then taste a malty strike followed by spicy accents and finally a bitter finish. Sweetness then bitterness, this beer is refreshing and delicious.


La Choulette

The Choulette
La Choulette Ambrée beer – Credits: sebleouf under Creative Commons 3.0 license

An artisanal beer brewed at the brewery La Choulette in the village of Hordain near Valenciennes, one of the oldest breweries in the Nord-Pas-De-Calais region. A brewery that exudes tradition and produces quality craft beers.

The Choulette Blonde has an alcohol content of 7.5% and has the “Profession Brasseur” (in French) label, a guarantee of quality for French craft beers. It has a fine and abundant foam; one perceives the fruity smell balanced with that of the malt as well as subtle traces of yeast.

The attack is finely bitter, and the bitterness persists in the mouth.

The Choulette brewery offers this beer in several ranges (in French): Amber, Dark, Peach and Christmas beer which are between 5% (the peach) and 8% (the amber) alcohol content. With this Choulette, the brewery explores all the flavors of beer and its popularity continues to grow.


La Blonde d’Esquelbecq

La Blonde d'Esquelbecq
The Blonde d’Esquelbecq – Credits: Beniben under Creative Commons 3.0 license

This is a blond bière de garde (as you may have guessed from the name) brewed in the Thiriez brewery (in French) in Esquelbecq in the Hauts-de-France.

It has a bewitching golden color, a consistent foam, and fine bubbles.

You will also be able to smell orange zests, the bitterness, although light, remains present in the mouth. Your nose will be filled with the smell of noble hops and fresh yeast aromas that smell like a fine beer.

This beer is served at 8°C and has an alcohol content of 6.5%.

Feel free to taste the other beers of the brewery like L’ambrée, La Québécoise or La Rouge Flamande.


Page 24

The Page 24
A page 24 – Credits: Liondartois, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This beer is brewed in the Saint Germain brewery in Aix Noulette, a small village in the Artois region of Nord-Pas-de-Calais since 2003.

This brewery takes pride in its local supply of hops which come exclusively from the Coophounord cooperative. The three founders are passionate about Northern beer, it is why they created Page 24 (in French) and its variants.

Page 24 Blonde is a soft, refreshing, and fruity beer. It has an alcohol content of 5.9%, is 100% pure barley malt and offers a malty body supported by honey and cereal aromas.

It is moderately bitter and is perfect to accompany your meals.

Page 24 is available in Pale Ale, Spring, White, Triple or Amber versions. The brewery also offers beers that will further delight enthusiasts such as the double IPA hopped with American varieties to add flavors or the Barley wine which is like a ‘barley wine’ with its alcohol content being 10.9%.



The Levrette
Levrette beer – Credits: sebleouf under Creative Commons 3.0 license

This beer was born out of the imagination of the founders of the V and B (in French) beer bar/beer store franchise. A line of humor and a quirky story with rabbits (very much furnished as well) while certifying that humor is not synonymous with lack of quality; quite the contrary.

It was brewed in a Celtic brewery in Brittany, although these brews were bound to move in the years to come.

Indeed, this craft beer is very appreciated by consumers because of its relatively low price, its refreshing side, and its offbeat tone.

The classic yeast beer, lager, is an assortment of flavors, citrus, spice, sweetness, and fruitiness. It is a lager-style beer, with a 5% alcohol content, which is served fresh and has a golden yellow color and a creamy and generous foam.


La Débauche

The Débauche
La Débauche – Blossom – Crédits : Beniben sous licence Creative Commons 3.0

La Débauche is a brewery based, since 2018, in Angoulême that produces craft beers of all kinds (in French).

it’s a new kind of beer, la Débauche performs beer-art; it integrates art on its beer cans and it is dozens and dozens of beers that have been created each with a unique design and taste, it’s very playful and artistic, yet the beers remain tasty.

The brewery is in an industrial setting, close to the railroads which is a breath of fresh air with the buildings, entirely painted, just like their cans.

Among the best known and most daring we have: The Debauche Sacred Coeur V and its 27% alcohol content, its black color without any foam, its aroma of alcohol, caramel, fruit, red wine, wood and sake and its rich and diverse taste of spices, cinnamon, cloves, tobacco, and caramel. All this in a beer without bubbles to be savored at 16 ° C which is perfect to accompany meat, for example.

You might also know La Débauche Cognac Barrel XO with an alcohol content of 9.5% which makes it a warm beer with aromas of alcohol, cognac, wood, caramel, and fruit. This amber beer without foam will delight the taste buds of beer enthusiasts.



The Mont-Blanc
Mont-Blanc beers – Credits: JJ Georges, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Red, blond, amber… the Mont-Blanc brewery brews several types of beers that have almost all been awarded (the white one has received three world beer awards).

Indeed, their exceptional production based on water from the Mont-Blanc glaciers (video in French) and the blending of ingredients by experienced master brewers guarantee an inimitable taste.

The white one has an alcohol content of 4.7%, it is light, finely sparkling and refreshing. It can be enjoyed at 4° C in a beer glass and with raw vegetables, oysters, raw fish, or fresh cheese.

Sweet notes of wheat at the opening, followed by a fresh and tangy taste of orange leading to a spicy finish. This is a white beer of the Belgian type; the result of the blending of 3 cereals (wheat, malt and oats), aromatic hops and orange zest mixed with touches of coriander.



The Sainte-Cru
Sainte-cru beers – Credits: Laurence Vagner via Flickr under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license

This beer is brewed in the brewery of Sainte-cru in Alsace. The beers saintes cru were born in 2007 from a desire of anti-conformism, a rejection of industrial beers.

Today the brewery has 4000 liters brewing basins, 5000 HL brewed in 2019 and a production capacity of 7000 HL since 2020.

The brewery wants to offer more and more unique beers, and the Apocalypse Now beer of theirs, is unique and was very appreciated by the French, its production is now stopped but I would like you to discover it considering its spearhead status.

It is a voluptuous Brown Beer and classified as “Belgian Brown Ale”. It has a brown color with a fine creamy foam. It is placed between an imperial stout and a double Belgian.

It has an alcohol content of 8. 4 % and fills your nose with the aroma of malt, caramel, fruits and spices. Your mouth will enjoy these caramelized, malted, hopped, fruity, spicy and roasted flavors. The final taste is finely bitter.


La Cagole

The Cagole
The Cagole – Crédit ; tacinte sous licence CC 3.0

A beer from the south (finally). This beer from Marseille, which was brewed in the Midi et Demi brewery and has now been brewed in Douai in the north of France for a few years (a betrayal!), is described by its creator, Yves Darnaud, as “not very bitter and light” with “a light aroma of honey”.

This description contrasts with the origin of its name, coming from the “cagole de Marseille”, a pejorative term to designate women who are a little too forward. La Cagole beer has an alcohol content of 4.7° and is served very cold.

The idea behind this beer is to recreate the atmosphere of the old port of Marseille as in the time of Marcel Pagnol, with a Provencal accent and a taste of the south. That is why it’s a blond beer and why you can’t get rid of these honey touches in the nose and in the mouth.