Beer Review 0197: New Belgium Lips of Faith 2012 La Folie

Fort Collins, Colorado’s New Belgium Brewing put out a limited release series of beers they dub “Lips of Faith.” Several beers are released in the series each year, which takes on the 22 oz. bomber bottle format, and one of this year’s was a sour brown ale called La Folie.

Peter Bouckaert, a brewer at New Belgium, hails from Belgium and previously worked at the Rodenbach Brewery, noted worldwide for its production of sour beers. La Folie is a Flanders red ale, which is a beer fermented with yeast that produces sour flavors similar to lactic acid. The beer is also aged, this one in particular one to three years, in oaken barrels — this imparts an acidic character to the beer.

Flanders red ales are often blended beers, as younger batches are mixed with older versions.

La Folie is 6% ABV (alcohol by volume) and registers 18 IBUs (International Bitterness Units). It only has one hop, Target, but has several varieties of malt: Pale, Munich, Carpils, C-80, and Chocolate.

La Folie poured a small and soapy head, which quickly diminished into not even a cover over the beer. The color of the liquid was reddish-brown, just as described on the side of the bottle, and the body had no particles or sediment. The beer was completely translucent and featured no lacing as I drank.

On the aroma, this one hits you off with very sour vinegar, but as the nose gets used to the initial sharp scent, layers of green apple, sour cherry and a nice sweet caramel malt undertone are revealed. The aroma is a touch musty from the yeast. I also detected a hint of dark fruit, maybe a plum or raisin.

The taste is much like the aroma — there’s sharp vinegar up front that makes the lips pucker, and going into the swallow the drink opens up a bunch, showing tart green apple, sour cherry, and the beginnings of a base of caramel. On the finish, the tartness subsides and this literally tastes like a green apple that has been dipped in caramel. The mouthfeel was thin and slick with average carbonation.

La Folie is a good beer, but not for me. While I didn’t enjoy the intense sour flavor, I did like the fruitiness and how refreshing the drink was. Of course, the tartness is probably what made it so refreshing. If you like sour beers, you need to give this one a try, for sure. Sour beers simply aren’t my style, although I try (and I think I do) give them a fair review.

New Belgium Lips of Faith 2012 La Folie, 86 points. Price: $13.99 for one 22 oz. bomber size bottle.

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