In Paris, each arrondissement carries their own identity, and its inhabitants are proud of it. Sure, it sometimes borders on clichés (the 16th arrondissement is bourgeois, the 11th is bohemian, the 13th is Chinatown), but no one can deny that Parisian districts have their own vibe, sights and sounds.
And, thanks to Thierry Roche, the working-class district Goutte d’Or in the 18th arrondissement has now acquired its own … taste.
Get off at the Barbès-Rochechouart station, walk along boulevard Barbès and you’ll find yourself in Goutte d’Or, a busy working-class district of Paris, dubbed “Little Africa” because of its large number of Arab and African residents. The area is alive, colourful, crowded and noisy. This has been Thierry Roche’s district for the past ten years, and it’s no surprise that the owner of the first artisanal brewery in Paris decided to set up his business here. After all, his beers were inspired by the cultural melange of his quartier.
Entering the brewery, the noise of the street fades away, and the entire space almost looks like an art gallery with its colorful paintings and funky decor (like the overhead spotlight fashioned out of beer bottles). But to the left are three huge containers where the beer is brewed, and in a glass-enclosed area stand the towering silver canisters of the fermenting room and realize that, yes, this is a serious and passionate business. In 2010, he left his job and pursued a formation in brewery, later on gathering funds to put up his business via crowd-funding, the modern-day system of pooling money, mostly through the internet, to help fund and support a project or a start-up financially.
It was a long two years, but in October 2012, Brasserie de la Goutte d’Or finally opened to the public. Just like his neighborhood, Thierry’s craft beers are exotic and original. They hint at African, Mahgreb, or Indian cuisines, thanks to his use of ingredients like ginger, pepper, and dates—all acquired from the quartier’s bustling open-air market, the famous Marché Dejean. The beer he pours into the glasses for us to taste is dark, its foam thick, its taste distinct and delicious. His beers are 100% organic, non-filtered and non-pasteurized. Each bottle is named after the district’s streets – Léon, Chateau Rouge, Myrha, Charbonière – and the bottle labels are so beautifully designed that they’d no doubt meet the approval of even the most finicky graphic artist out there.
It is possible to purchase his beer at the brewery during Thursdays and Fridays, from 5pm to 7pm, as well as on Saturdays from 2pm-7pm. Don’t despair if you can’t make the trip; several restaurants and wine cellars around the city carry the coveted bottles.
In the land where macarons, wine or chocolates reign supreme, Thierry’s vision is as refreshing as his beers: a tribute to a culturally-diverse neighborhood, a taste of his world in a bottle, and 100% Parisian.
The visit to the Brasserie de la Goutte d’Or was made possible thanks to Paris Face Cachée.
Brasserie de la Goutte d’Or
28 rue de la Goutte d’Or, 75018
Metro: line 2 or 4 (Barbès Rochechouart)
Th-F 5-7pm, S 2-7pm