28 September 2011

Microstate Microbrewery

Who woulda thunk that Monaco would have its own microbrewery? Well, it does, the aptly named Brasserie de Monaco. The outdoor patio, right on Port Hercule, fills up for lunch and overflows during Happy Hour. The dark, sleek interior hosts parties at night and a DJ is almost always on hand. It's exactly what a place called Brasserie de Monaco should be - a local spot that reflects its locals instead of trying to do their best impersonation of a Belgian beerhall or British pub. It 's such a welcoming place that when we popped in and asked for a tour of the operation, the brewmaster stopped his hectic routine on a dime and brought us back into his shiny, steamy lair.
Brasserie de Monaco was opened in 2008, under the encouragement of Prince Albert II, who thought it was high time that beer was brewed in Monaco again. You see, there's actually a beer making history here. A successful brewery existed from 1905 all the way until 1975 and then was closed inexplicably. So, the owners of Brasserie found out as much as they could about the old process and applied a lot of it to the new one, which utilizes some pretty spiffy stainless steel equipment from Germany. Their white, blond and amber ales are made with organic malts. They are unfiltered, unpasteurized and flow directly from the brewing tanks to the bar's taps.
Like I said, the brasserie itself is this wonderful combination of style and substance. I don't think I've ever been to a bar/lounge/restaurant ("brasserie") that brews their own beer, serves only local food (slickly dubbed the "zero kilometers" menu) and also has designer furniture, black and white leather everything and ceiling high flat screen televisions. It's a fantastically Monegasque mix. And the beer is really good, too.

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