New Brew: New Belgium La Folie 2017

photo by Kevin Gibson
photo by Kevin Gibson

For those weaned on New Belgium Brewing’s popular Fat Tire Amber Ale, the 2017 version of the brewery’s La Folie would be quite a leap, style-wise. But the latest incarnation of La Folie is just further evidence the Colorado brewery is doing it right.

La Folie, which is French for “the folly,” is a Flanders style oid bruin beer that is also part of the brewery’s Lips of Faith series, which explores traditional brewing methods and styles, from krieks to sours to berlinerweisse beers.

The main point I want to make about La Folie is that if you like this particular style of beer, you’ll find total enjoyment. If a sour brown isn’t your thing, you might want to look elsewhere, because this one is steeped in tradition and not for the faint of heart.

The beer features a deep and dark red hue that somewhat belies the medium body in the mouth. It brings with it a big, tart aroma reminiscent of plums and cherries, with notes of oak (La Folie is aged one to three years in French oak barrels, or foeders).

Once the beer hits your palate, it’s a frenzy of puckering flavors, from green apple to blackberry, but always coming back around to tannic plums or black cherries. Make no mistake, this fine beer will make you pucker in earnest. But it’s absolutely delicious – again, assuming an oid bruin is your thing.

I did notice that La Folie was a bit more carbonated than I had expected, which actually only added to the enjoyment by adding a pleasant crispness to the body and giving the beer a bit of a sharp edge. It’s an odd sensation to feel like a beer is at once making you pucker and yet somehow also quenching your thirst.

At 7 percent ABV, it’s great for sipping, and not dangerous. Sold retail in 22-ounce bombers, it’s a great one to share. Also, look for it on draft in select locations.

On a historical note, 2017 marks the 20th year of New Belgium Brewing making sour beers like La Folie – and the experience and expertise show in this beer.

“We’ve been blending and experimenting with sour wood beers for two decades, and as the name La Folie implies, it’s always with a touch of eccentric madness,” New Belgium Spokesman Bryan Simpson said in a press release. “We combine multiple barrels based on continual tasting to create a combination that is just right. Once again, the crew nailed it this year.”