Frogpubs are a chain of brewpubs in France; they have four outlets in Paris, one in Bordeaux and one in Toulouse. (According to their beermats in Toulouse, they have a new one in Pau, too, but this doesn’t seem to have made it onto their website.)
Each pub brews six beers to the same recipe, although they have slightly different names depending on the pubs. I had the pleasure of visiting the Toulouse branch and the St Denis branch in Paris on consecutive days, and both were great, although slightly different.
Firstly, the beers. One of the many clever things about the business model is that they make both lagers and ales; there is something for everyone. The “blonde” is a beautifully crisp and clean lager, unpasteurised and unfiltered, which tastes like a revelation in the context of all that bloody Heineken. Reminded me of the Helles you get pubs in southern Bavaria.
Next up is the “blanche”, with orange peel. I only had a taster of this in Toulouse, and it the overwhelming flavour for me was lemon. Would be nice in the summer, I think, but wasn’t for me at that particular time.Â To complete the lagers, there is a “ginger twist”; as you might imagine, this has ginger in it. I like ginger beer in small quantities, and a half of this was pleasant enough, but I was keen to move onto the ales.
On the ale front, Frogpubs offer a paleish ale (called “Aeropost’Ale in Toulouse, and “Inseine” in Paris), a red-brown ale, and a stout. These were all very interesting, not lease because the taste varied from pub to pub. The Aeropost’Ale was my favourite in Toulouse; it had nailed the English summer ale style absolutely perfectly (if I can generalise about styles like that…) Hoppy, fruity and homesickness-inducing. In contrast, I preferred the red-brown ale (“Brew de l’Industrie” in Toulouse, “Parislytic” in Paris) in the Paris branch, where it tasted not unlike Fullers ESB. The stout was good in both locations.
Both pubs had a similar mix of international students, locals and expats – I spotted at least one German party in both. The Frog in Toulouse doesn’t have a kitchen, but has the great business idea of hooking up with two local restaurants – one of which is a curry house – to keep the punters fed. The Frog in Paris offers fancy-looking pub grub which seemed to be very popular with French and expats alike.