The American Club of the Riviera (ACR) celebrated Christmas on Saturday with lunch at Pastry Plaisirs in Nice. But before tucking into spinach and walnut homemade ravioli, drizzled with the chef’s signature gorgonzola cream sauce, a dozen members visited the new microbrewery in Nice, Allez Hops! at 15 rue Defly, open since the summer by ACR Governor, Daniel Deganutti.
Allez Hops!, which is not a bar, sells over 200 varieties of bières artisanales, with an average price of €3 a bottle (and the most expensive sells for €24). For holiday gift suggestions, the have their own brew, Christmas Bleue, or for €56, you can pick up The 12 Beers of Christmas. Alternatively, you could organise a themed tasting for a group of friends.
Mr Deganutti and his French wife Julie, both delightful, presented the group with a beer tasting session, in English, introducing local beers from the Côte d’Azur. Samples were given of six different beers: Brasserie Artisanale de Nice: Zytha; Brasserie du Comté Blanche: Bio du Mercantour (St Martin-de-Vesubie); Colgan’s: Hopbuckler IPA (Mouans-Sartoux); Mare Nostrum: Ambrée (Castillon); Lou Soulèu: Lou Garoupe (Antibes) Brune; and Brasserie Bleue: Nöelle (Nice).
The hour-long tasting provides plenty of engaging commentary by Mr Deganutti on the local breweries and brewers and state of the local marketplace, as well as tips for serving beer – 4°C for lager to 13°C for darker beers – and suggestions for pairing with food.
“With winemaking, the most important aspect is the terroir,” Mr Deganutti explained to the ACR enthusiasts. “The fundamental environment of the vine, like the soil and weather, allows the grape to bring out the flavour of the terroir. But beermaking is different. In fact, it’s like cooking. You create a distinctive and pleasant taste by adding to the main four ingredients – hops, grain, water and yeast.”
Mr Deganutti told Monaco Life, “I had the idea for the micro-brewery three years ago at Thanksgiving and did my research. There are a dozen artisanale breweries operating in the Alpes-Maritimes but only one other microbrewery in Nice, near Liberation. We’ve had a great response, with all types of people coming into the shop, from students to bière artisanale connoisseurs. Of course, the French love to learn about the different types of beer.”
A reminder to ACR members that lunch and AGM will take place on Saturday, January 21 at Le Mayssa Beach restaurant in the port of Villefranche-sur-Mer.
Article first published December 11, 2016.