LA FOLIE got to be a pretty legendary beer in a hurry when it last appeared across the country 1-2 years ago. It was the first time I became aware of the “experimental” brewing wing lurking in the dark corners of NEW BELGIUM BREWING’s Fort Collins campus. I tried the already way-hyped LA FOLIE at the BOONVILLE BEER FEST 2008 (click the link for my write-up) and called it “very, very good” – not exactly a hot sun/drunk day kind of beer, so I reckoned I’d need to do it true justice on a cold, foggy San Francisco evening if it ever appeared on store shelves again. Sure enough, this summer it came back, as part of the brewer’s experimental/single-batch “Lips of Faith” series. I bought one. I drank one. It is pictured here.
LA FOLIE is a sour ale, you see. It has a super-clean and ultra-tart taste of cherries, rich malts and an unsweetened toffee, if that makes any sense. It's earthy and dry like a saison, while of course being unlike it in other other regard. It was fermented from between 1-3 years in French oak barrels, and normally you’d expect that to give it a hotter, higher-alcohol sort of character, and this one just doesn’t have it. As it warms, it markedly improves, and this from a very strong base to begin with – not a beer to drink cold by any means. It’s one of those rare sour beers like MONK’S CAFÉ FLEMISH SOUR RED ALE was for me that you can see being the “conversion experience” beer that gets folks saying, “You know what? Sour beers can be amazing”. This one’s pretty close to the cream of the crop – hunt it down and drink it up. 8.5/10.