Sours and hops… two things you often don’t see paired together, however New Belgium throws away the rule book like the Russian mafia. This sour blonde is dry hopped for our enjoyment, but we don’t have long to indulge as it’s released seasonally. Will I wish this beer was seen year round? Time for the numbers.
Smell: Sour grapes, Granny Smith apples, kiwi, and sour candy. The hops have backed their bags back to Yakima – nowhere to be found in the brew, but to be fair, I don’t think any hops could stand up to a year of age.
Taste: Wow, this is nice. Unbelievably sour with a huge Granny Smith apple twang to it. As I drank, the beer sweetened up slightly with some raspberry and cotton candy coming through. Le Terroir has some acidity to it, but it’s not overly lactic and it certainly has some funk too, likely coming from the untamed yeast and the barrel itself. There’s a light oak presence with a mild tannic bitterness to the brew, but it’s in the background. As in the smell, any hop presence pretty much died after sitting in the cellar for a year, but it doesn’t detract from the brew. However, when I had this fresh, it was much more apparent and really elevated the beer beyond something that was just a standard sour brew. Not that this ages poorly, but I’d recommend buying a couple and cracking one immediately to get the full effect of the dry hopping.
The mouthfeel of this beer is pleasantly light making very drinkable, even with its sour punch. Carbonation is fine and the ABV is surprisingly high for the style at 7.5%. After half the bottle I started to feel it a bit.
Overall: I really like this offering from New Belgium. I liked it more fresh, but that’s not a knock on the beer, that’s a knock on the beer drinker. Light, sour, and not over powering, this beer earns an A. The absolute best sour I’ve had considering price and quantity – 22 ounces of goodness for 9 bucks. Yeah, I know. Available online for us east coasters, this is worth the shipping cost.