Andrew Jackson was nicknamed Old Hickory, the most predictable geological feature on the planet earth is named Old Faithful, and an American brewery making a classic Flanders sour is called New Belgium. There’s more pressure on this Colorado brewery to perform than Jordan at the line in game seven, especially considering their brewmaster hails from the land of chocolate, beer, and lace. Established in 1988 after a cycling excursion through the European country, New Belgium Brewing bottled their liquid inspiration in the form of a traditional Belgian Oud Bruin. Will La Folie soar like a Led Zeppelin or run aground like the unsinkable? Time for them numbers…
Smell: As I poured, there was a massive black pitted olive smell that sprung from the head of this beer. There’s also a strong presence of sour cherries, prunes, a little of molasses, and a touch of funk. La Folie does not have those stereotypical sour notes of lactic acid and basement which seems odd. It actually smells similar to Westy XII with the adjunct of cherries.
Taste: Very tart initially but immediately it gave way to the flavors found in the smell. Sour cherries galore burst across the palate followed by dates, prunes, and raisins. There are so many dark fruit flavors in this beer, but shockingly La Folie was not brewed with any additives. Underneath those tart fruity flavors is a stiff malt backbone. Caramel, grainy wort, and a tad of molassas balance out this beer and it finishes with a little bitterness of a pitted olive. I have to say this is a strange brew. I’ve had Rodenbach and Monk’s Cafe, but this seems to be a little heavier to get down compared to other Flemish Reds. The tart flavor rides off into the sunset earlier than a 75 year old’s dinner time, and the only thing left a a 75 year old’s dessert… a tall glass of prune juice. The prune flavors get tired quick and when I go back into the glass, there is a prune mental block that I’m profiling for.
Because of the aforementioned issues, the drinkability isn’t very high. I nursed my 22 ounces like a 750ml bottle of Dubra. Also adding to the lack of drinkability was the medium to full body this brew had, which is atypical, especially for sour brews, but standard for a brown ale. It’s a paradox in a glass, but I’m not sure if I can criticize the beer for this seeing that I may not be the biggest fan of the style. The carbonation was fine and the ABV was high for a sour at 7% even.
Overall: I appreciate what New Belgium tried to do with this brew, but it was just off. Much to much prune, however I will say this was relatively true to style. For what it is, it’s pretty good, but for my tastes, I’ll give it a B. It’s a little to heavy for me and those probiotic dark fruits would not go away, however that could be age changing the profile of the beer. Perhaps that was my La Folly.