In Alsace, beer and wine live very happily side by side! After all, this is the only region in France where both beer and wine are consumed and produced! Traditionally, beer was brewed in the monasteries, then independent breweries started up and brewing became an official trade in Strasbourg in 1268.
In the mid 19th century, specialised breweries took over from the small family businesses and introduced major innovations. Today in Alsace, five breweries ensure over 50% of French production (Fischer, Heineken, Karlsbrau, Kronenbourg, and Meteor). Added to this are a number of micro-breweries (in Lobsann, Marienthal, Riquewihr, Saales, Sand, Scharrachbergheim, Saint-Pierre, Schiltigheim, Strasbourg, Uberach and Vogelgrun).
Water drawn from the groundwater, barley malt, yeast and hops (for the bitter flavour) are the ingredients of Alsace beer, which is mainly lager. There are several types of beer available including seasonal beer such as March beer (brewed with the new barley crop), Christmas beer (which is a slightly darker ale). The typical aperitif in Alsace is a glass of beer with a hint of «amer» (made with orange peel).