Thursday, January 24, 2008

New Belgium La Folie review

New Belgium La FolieHoly Sour Power! I tried New Belgium La Folie at the New Belgium Brewing Company tap room in Fort Collins, Colorado a few months ago along with 3 other samplers of their ales. This was the ale I had been hearing about and wanted to give it an honest review. And what better way to try it then on a free tasting session!

La Folie was my first ever sour ale and I was warned by the New Belgium staff there that you will either love it or hate it - so be prepared. This stuff was served from a tap in their tasting room but was also available in hand numbered large green bottles.

My first sip from the tap was WOAH - that was sour! My mouth puckered. La Folie was both sweet and sour yet has a somewhat vinegary taste to it. This stuff woke up my sleepy mouth. I wasn't sure about this beer after it first hit my tongue. After a 2nd and 3rd sip, however, I had gotten used to the tartness and felt compelled to finish the glass. It was a taste that very slowly grew on me and I had to get through my initial instincts to put it down.

I liked it well enough to buy a bottle and take it to Cincinnati to share with some co-workers / beer geeks there. Word of warning, If you transport this stuff by airline and open it in a much lower altitude be warned - this stuff can explode once uncorked!

I lost over 1/2 the bottle in a geyser when it opened in my Cincinnati hotel room. There was sour ale everywhere! The entire room smelled of sour funk. Needless to say, my friends had never tried a sour beer before either and they had a much stronger reaction to it than I did. After their first sips they didn’t want more but simply said it was "interesting".

In the 750ml size, it was a tad pricey to buy a big bottle but if you enjoy sours beers and want to try something different - try this. It comes in 22oz bottles today and is a bit more reasonable. Watch out, prices can vary from $14 to $18.

If you are going to enjoy sour ale you must expand your beer palate and be willing to try a sour barrel aged beer with an open mind then you'll probably be able to acquire a taste for this popular style. I'll give this a 3.1 out of 5.0 rating, only because I wasn't used to a sour ale yet. This may change over time. (In fact, now I love this and would rate it much higher)

New Belgium La Folie original bottleUpdate 4/23/2008: I tried another glass of La Folie on tap at the NBB tap room and boy have my tastes changed over the last six months. Now that I've had this a few times, it is simply wonderful when enjoyed in small quantities. A 4 oz sample size is just right to slowly sip and enjoy . I've upped my ranking to a 3.6 out of 5. La Folie has a nice unique character. This subsequent tasting was a lot less acidic / vinegary than the first.

Update 8/13/2009: In 2009, La Folie is now available in annual batches of Lips of Faith 22oz bomber bottles. I sampled another bottle and I must say this beer is now one of my all-time favorite sour beers. I paired it with Gouda cheese and crackers. Simply wonderful. The main picture has been updated above.

Related articles:
- New Belgium 2° Below Ale mini-review.
- New Belgium Frambozen review.
- Summertime and the living is easy.

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