Paris-based beer connoisseurs are familiar with – and fans of – La Fine Mousse. After opening in 2012, this craft beer bar championed the nascent (for Paris) artisanal beer trend and helped create a legion of local drinkers hopped up on hip hops. As their reputation grew, so did their client-base, giving them good reason to open up their latest outpost, La Robe & La Mousse. But, here, there’s a slightly different twist…
While their original is all about malt, meaning a tightly curated menu of craft beer from all over and a few whisky backs, the new joint is 100% French and offers other options like wine, spirits, cider and hydromel. Of course, beer is front and center with 16 taps plus two hand pumps offering up a nice range of French suds like Brew Unique’s White IPA or Grand Paris’ Waimea Bay. But wine-lovers will feel more welcome with their 6 wines by the glass and 20 different bottles – all natural, organic and/or biodynamic. The breakdown is about 50% of products coming from Paris proper and the other 50% from the rest of France.
And, if you’re hanging around here, you’ll be happy to hear that there are about ten different homegrown spirits in the house. Given their concept, it’s not too surprising to find the old-school cool aperitif option of Gentian Saler or the cocktail-crowd pleasing Citadelle Gin. But going beyond that, you’ll find some more unusual options, like three from the Montauban based Bows Distillery. The Bows vodka is a straightforward choice – and more interesting than going the Grey Goose route. They also feature Bows’ gin, which is aged in barrels previously used for strawberry wine, giving it a more interesting character for sipping. This is definitely a little more original than your standard gin; and while resting and aging gin in wine barrels has been happening for a while, I’ve yet to see a fruit wine barrel used (although I’m sure it is somewhere…)
The third Bows options, makes a fitting bridge between the beer and booze here with a Fleur de Biere. Fleur de Biere is a beer eau de vie, in other words beer that has been distilled to result in a clear, spirit with a slightly hoppy character (the hops being the addition differentiating it from an unaged spirit distilled from malt like white whisky). Although distilleries in countries like France, Germany and Belgium have being giving this a go for awhile, Fleur de Biere isn’t something the mainstream drinker is likely to know. However, more recently, some of the newer US based craft brewers are at, so perhaps this is the beginning of a new trend. (Although sounds like in the US, it’s also being referred to as whisky made from beer…)
The spirits here are served neat, preferably alongside an appropriate beer. It’s a respectably ballsy move to serve straight-up gin. What would be kinda cool to see here would be if they picked up an aromatic bitters made in France and served up a French version of a pink gin. Yep, that’d be class…
The close-to-home policy also applies to their small menu of munchies, which are simple, straightforward and sourced from local artisans. You can order up aperitif snacks like sweet or savory sablés or pickled fruit and veg, cheese and coldcut or “Tourtelettes” (meat or vegetarian pies made in Mayenne).
Oh, and let’s not forget the space. Thanks to Charlotte Vinet, la Robe et la Mousse has an updated retro feel that manages to pull together the stone, bleu walls and beautifully designed wooden bar into something unpretentiously, coherently cool. The majority of the taps are upstairs, with another 8 in the underground runoff bar.
Not only is La Robe et la Mousse helping to populate the left bank with better drinking options, but they’ve set up shop in a very tasty corner. La Maison du Whisky is directly across the street and just a few doors down are two of the city’s best wine bars for drinking with great food, L’Avant Comptoir and L’Avant Comptoir de la Mer (plus their mothership, restaurant le Comtpoir). Given these most excellent shopping and eating options, you could do some majorly enjoyable damage to both your wallet and your waistline in this one spot.
As craft beer continues to blow up here – and with it the reputations of frontrunners these likes – this team has keep an authentic attitude and a sincerity to their selection and service. It’s almost enough to drive one to drink beer regularly!
La Robe & La Mousse
3 Rue Monsieur le Prince