Tasting Location- Express de Lyon Paris, France
Where craft beer and French café intersect
If you happen to be near Gare de Lyon, whizzing your touristy way through Paris, take a metro break and cross the street to one of the most well hidden beer sampling locations in Paris- Express de Lyon. Camouflaged as a typical station stop café-bar, Express de Lyon is a heaven for hardcore beer geeks as well as vanilla beer drinkers.
A Yelp post by Cameron M. explains the secret behind Express de Lyon's unique place in the Paris bar society:
"...BUT the secret is, the owner is a huge beer geek. For me, this is a real Paris bar (well... except [that] there is amazing beer): you have the local flavor, the die hard gamblers sipping on a Heineken, beer nuts (expats and francophones) from around the city trying the lastest microbrew on tap, tourists drinking the classic Belgians (like Chouffe or Karmeliet or worse...Amstel!!), and even some travelers passing through who stopped by while they wait for their train at the Gare de Lyon."
Chidini over at Trip Advisor had this to say:
"This humble café has some of the most exciting tap selections in town, from Evil Twin, Mikkeller, BrewDog, Craig Allan, De Molen, and other rising stars of the European craft beer scene. The atmosphere is laid back and the opposite of pretentious, and the prices are more than fair."
And for those French speaking readers:
"Un bar typiquement parisien ! Une ambiance conviviale et populaire, des bières introuvables à la pression, une clientèle jeune et souriante...Que demande le peuple ! Le service est parfois un peu long mais l'équipe compense par sa bonne humeur et son accessibilité...Chaudement recommandé !"
Trendy Paris guide Paris by Mouth notes Express de Lyon as one if it's favorite Parisian locations:
"Although it appears on first glance like any other train station-adjacent café-bar, this place is a must for serious beer geeks in Paris."
Express de Lyon is owned by two brothers, one more beer addicted than the other. Brother beer drinker wasn't in when Nitch was there, but a return visit is promised. Geek session planned!
[caption id="attachment_1587" align="alignright" width="696"] Note how the Funky E-star (in the foreground) has bigger, more round fat bubbles while the Green Gold has a tighter, more creamy head.[/caption]
MIKKELLER- Funky E-star 9.39% 4.90/5.50
S: Steeped malts, fermenting fruit like a cider in the fermenter
T: bitter and dry, with sweet beery hop notes and a skunky hop undertone, no strong alcohol presence
M: Dry with a light resin coating
O: Likely to be better in the bottle than on the tap line, Funky E-star is one of my least loved Mikkeller beers to date. The off fruit tickles the nose and the hops are hidden under the malts.
MIKKELLER- Green Gold 7% 4.90/5.50
S: Hops, citrus hops and a distinct uh.. hop smell
T: Fresh hops pop out bitter then a tart cherry bitter finish
M: More creamy then Funky E-star, smoother on the palate but still light to medium in body
O: More fresh and enjoyable then the first beer, Green Gold lives up to it's name as a treasure of golden green hop goodness.
[caption id="attachment_1588" align="alignnone" width="696"] Things are hand written on a chalk board, bistro style and, as you can see from the hand, are willingly explained but the bar man.[/caption]
Both beers tasted were a bit flat, green gold a bit less so, but there was a mild question mark as to rather or not the tap lines need a little cleany up. Dive bars aren't known for their cleanliness so, lets chalk it up to authenticity, shall we?
If you want to save yourself some piggy bank money, then sit at the bar (if possible) rather than a table. There is about a .60 cent mark up for table service. Not saying that you'll get better service at the tables or anything, more like you are charged for renting the table space; 4.90 for bar Mikkeller, 5.50 for table Mikkeller. Drink 8 bar beers and you've paid for your 9th in savings!
As we learned from Brandon over at Cave à bulles, Express de Lyon is owned by two brothers who recently were converted to the hop loving order. Brother hop maniac wasn't in attendance at the time of our visit, but we were assured by brother hop enjoyment that he would hold a lengthly vigil with us upon our next visit.
I like it- dive, dirty and divine