It’s almost 8:00pm. I am waiting at the Chateau Rouge metro station deep in Paris’ 18th arrondissement for Phillip, an American expat and craft beer aficionado. The neighbourhood is called Goutte d’Or, which translates to ‘drop of gold’, and it ain’t exactly the Paris you see in postcards. It’s residents are mainly North African and sub-Saharan. People scurry past me while eating freshly roasted corn on the cob. It’s noisy, crowded and alive. While I wait, three armed gendarmerie officers bound up the stairs from the metro and converge on a hooded man selling things on the corner of the street. Shortly after, Phillip arrives.
It is here, in this dynamic community, that renegade brewmaster Thierry Roche is fermenting his own drops of gold at the partly crowd-funded Brasserie de la Goutte d’Or—the only brewery that is actually in Paris. When Phillip and I arrive, Thierry is squeegeeing puddles of soapy water from underneath the oak beer tanks out the front door. He is wearing jeans, a t-shirt and bright white knee-high rubber boots. He admits to us that most of the time he is more of a janitor then a brewmaster. I like him already.