French Language Blog

It Comes In Pints! – Beer In French Posted by on Apr 6, 2016 in Culture, Vocabulary

When ordering something in a new country there are always surprises waiting in all the small differences from what you would expect and what actually arrives.

One of my first times dans un bar français (in a French bar), on top of not knowing how to toast, I didn’t know how to order a beer. I guessed that it would be similar to “un café s’il vous plait” (a coffee please), so I said:

Une bière s’il vous plait.
A beer please.

Then le barman (the bartender) asked me:

Laquelle ?
Which one?

I was not familiar with any of the bière, but I knew I wanted a stout. Cependant (however), I had no idea how to say stout in French! In my confusion, I just asked for whatever name I saw first, but then le barman asked me:

Un demi ou une pinte ?
A half-pint or a pint?

Le problème was that I did not understand what he said! I did not know une pinte was a French word, and I had no idea what un demi was referring to! So I said:

Une bière.
A beer.

My response wasn’t very helpful to le barman. I’m sure he was just as confused as I was. Looking for a solution I pointed at the glass of le client (the patron, the customer) next to me and said:

La même chose que lui.
The same thing as him.

That got me une bière, but once I told mes amis what had happened they had a good laugh explaining how to say different types of bière in French and also that une pinte is just a pint and un demi is a half-pint!

Voici un petit vocabulaire de la bière :

La bière – Beer
Le verre – Glass
La bouteille – Bottle
À la pression – On tap
Bière à la pression – Draft Beer
Une pinte – A pint
Un demi – Half a pint, A half-pint
Bière brune – Stout
Bière blonde – Lager
Bière blanche – White beer, Wheat beer
Bière anglaise Ale
Le houblon – Hops
Le blé – Wheat
Le froment – Wheat
La brasserie Brewery

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About the Author: John Bauer

John Bauer is an enthusiast for all things language and travel. He currently lives in France where he's doing his Master's. John came to France four years ago knowing nothing about the language or the country, but through all the mistakes over the years, he's started figuring things out.


  1. Lara: