After a 15 minutes metro trip from Paris’ city centre, we arrived at one of the new best French independent craft breweries: Deck & Donohue. Mike Donohue co-founder and head brewer told us more about craft beer and the brewery he founded with Thomas Deck a little more than a year ago.
When you enter the brewery in Montreuil the smell of cereals and hops makes you thirsty. Two tables outside, a stand with beers on sale, a fridge filled with the brewery’s production and on the background the brew kettles (tanks), the bottling and packaging machines.
On Saturday, the brewery is opened to the public. Thomas is welcoming the clients and serves the beers. Mike is brewing and washing the equipment. Deck & Donohue is indeed a friendly place founded and managed by good friends. They celebrated their first anniversary in April.
Thomas and Mike met in 2002 and experienced a lot of « beer adventures » together. They eventually decided to create their own brewery in 2014. “ Last year we both quit our job and we started our own beer adventure,” Mike said Before, he worked for a year at the 21st amendment brewery in San Francisco Then he spent 3 years at the Flying Fish, a New Jersey-based craft brewery.
Thomas has a background in finance and has a “fantastic” experience as homebrewer. Does that sound like the perfect team to set a thriving brewery in Paris? Mike explained they had first to choose between Philadelphia, Japan and Paris. “We chose Paris as it was most appealing for some reasons”, he said.
“Thomas was living already there. Paris was smoother vs. Philadelphia financially speaking and has a good understanding of the Paris market. We were also interested in taking part to the new beer craft movement.”
Deck & Donohue’s beer making philosophy
Let’s talk about the Deck & Donohue style when it comes to beers. The brewery makes 5 regular beers and seasonal beers. “We mostly want to propose balanced and dry beers. Many breweries are interesting in making special beers. We just want to make beers we want to drink”, Mike explained. “Our beer making philosophy: we like hops and we use it to get flavor and provide all the different aromas they can achieve. As we want to have stable beers we balanced the bitterness of hop by the sweetness of malt. “
For the beers it produces Deck & Donohue uses traditional French hops in addition to German and American ones. The brewery contributes to promote the craft production in France where no particular style has really emerged yet.
For Mike, the new craft breweries in France are looking a lot at the US. In the meantime France is at the crossroads of Germany Belgium and the UK, he added.
Let’s see how France will evolve in the coming years. Craft beers are getting more and more out of its niche but most of people are still drinking industrial blond beers.
Mike was brought to craft beers first with Belgian beers. However after those often strong beers, Thomas and Mike turned more and more to more drinkable British and German beers.
“We were finally more influenced by the British Pub culture. We want to drink 3 or more beers without getting to tired or disgusted,” he smiled
The craft beer Mike would recommend you to drink: the Anchor Steam. According to Mike “it is a unique drinkable and balanced beer with flavor from San Francisco. Steam beers are common in California. “
Should you never have enjoyed a craft beer, Mike would obviously advise according to your pallet Deck & Donohue’s Machine pale ale or Monk brown ale. “Those beers are dry balanced with flavor but accessible even more than the industrial blond beers”…We think he is right on that what about you?
You’ll find Mike & Donohue products only in Paris and its region for the moment as they brew and sell locally: another reason to visit the French Capital.
Deck and Donhue, 71 Rue de la Fraternité, 93100 Montreuil, France – http://deck-donohue.com/