New Belgium is an absolute powerhouse in the Craft Brewing scene — the kind where you know what they stand for even if you’ve never had their beer. The only experiences I’ve had with New Belgium’s product include a few bad experiences with the flagship beer Fat Tire, mostly while already very drunk in Los Angeles. So in other words, as always, my judgement may be off.This time, however, I approached the issue head on and with about a clear a mind as they come for me these days.
La Folie is a very significant beer in our country’s brewing history because it was the innoculation point, pun intended, for a streak of brewers who ended up taking the initial experiments of Fort Collins, Colorado via Roeselare, Belgium (New Belgium’s brewer, Peter Bouckaert, came from Rodenbach) to a variety of deep levels all over California and Beyond. The barrels from the first batches of La Folie were used in other experiments by other brewers, reliving the Rodenbach tradition of sharing it’s resources with other brewers which was brutally severed by the corporate hand of Palm. The beer itself has gone through the paces at this point, now in it’s second or third incarnation, taking it’s place amongst the “Lips of Faith” beers which serve to classify the “experimental,” including a few Sour or “Wild” beers. Of course just as people say that Rodenbach and Orval have changedm they say La Folie has changed, but I wouldn’t know.
La Folie is an Oud Bruin or Flemish Brown style Sour Beer. It’s one of my favorite styles because of how it incorporates the chocolate and earthy flavors of both good brown ales and good sour beers. La Folie doesn’t dissapoint at all, pouring a deep dark brown with a very crackly head, immediately releasing lots of great barrel and sour aromas. The chocolate is big in their too, as well as on the tongue where it is very assertive. An awesome, desert like beer with a very intense sourness that is pushes the boundaries of sharpness but retains a very round flavor which comes with age. This is a blended beer as well, taking old and new batches to find the right balance. It’s awesome to have bombers of this in circulation, printed on like a regular American Style beer as opposed to being in a cork and cage. I think I’m going to have to make some friends in Fort Collins so I can get a more regular supply of this and their other sour beers. La Folie is a great example of a beer that really pays seeking out and more evidence of how huge and deep our beer culture is at this point, and it’s good to know that even a company with a message can produce awesome tasting beer.