Beer # 65 New Belgium La Folie


New Belgium La Folie

Name: La Folie, Lips of Faith

Style:   Flanders Red Ale 

Brewery: New Belgium Brewing Inc.  website 

Country: USA 

Region:  Fort Collins, Colorado 

ABV: 6.00% 

How served: 22oz capped bottle poured into a Rodenbach Alexander glass.      

My Overall Opinion: Very Good.   

I paired this beer with: Publix lemon pepper rotisserie chicken.   

Tasted on:  Wednesday January 13, 2010. 

Note:  This is a 2009 vintage.  In 2009 New Belgium change the bottle from a 750ml corked and caged bottle to a 22oz capped bottle. I personally like the presentation of corked and caged bottle over the capped one, but it’s really the taste of the beer than counts.  Well the taste lives up to the label as it is really mouth puckering.  AS mouth puckering as this beer is, it is very drinkable and refreshing. This bottle, in my opinion, tasted better than the one I opened about 6 months ago.  As typical with the style, the beer improves with age, and this was no exception.  I have a few more bottles and will try the 2009 again in 6 months to see if it is still improving.  

On the Label: Seriously sour, this Flanders-style reddish brown ale was fermented 1-3 years in French oak barrels for mouth puckering perfection. 

From their website:   La Folie Wood-Aged Biere, is our original wood-conditioned beer, resting in French Oak barrels between one and three years before being bottled. . Peter Bouckaert, came to us from Rodenbach – home of the fabled sour red. Our La Folie emulates the spontaneous fermentation beers of Peter’s beloved Flanders with sour apple notes, a dry effervescence, and earthy undertones. New in 2010, we’ll do a single bottling of La Folie for the year. Collect the 22oz unique to 2010 designed bottle and start a yearly wood-aged collection of goodness. 

Chef Todd Davies, Partner of Tap House Grill, recommends:

Wild mushroom crusted Colorado Lamb Rack / Cipollini puree, polenta,raindow chard, natural lamb reduction.  The almost gastrique-like sour cherry finish pairs perfectly with the gaminess of the lamb (think the barrels, woody, tannic). The sweetness of the caramalized cipolinis complements both.  Bitterness of swiss chard takes the sour home, while the earthy mushrooms cut through some of the tartness, and the polenta / jus carries the robust flavors while still allowing the beer to shine through. 

Melissa Newell, Owner of Terroir Restaurant, recommends:

This sour brown ale, with hints of cherry and other tree fruit, I would pair with a bitter and acidic dish to start. For a starter course, I would pair this with a grilled radicchio salad (grilled treviso radicchio, blue cheese crumbles, dried cherries, toasted walnuts, and a balsamic vinaigrette). Many times, when acid is paired with acid, the result is sweet. The tang and richness of the cheese, along with the bitterness of the greens, with the acidity of the vinegar make this a complementary pairing. For a main course, you can go with either a rich fish with a cream based lemony sauce (pan roasted halibut with a lemon cream sauce) or with a red meat (braised lamb shank with red wine reduction over fingerling potatoes). The idea is to pair the fat of the sauce (or the meat) with the acidity of the beer…it will cut right through it. Think rich sides also. In this case, the richness of the fingerlings, compared to other potatoes is a must. For dessert, again, think rich and indulgence. Something mouth coating. Try a semifredo (a semi-frozen Italian dessert made with one part meringue and one part whipped cream) flavored with bing cherries. This is one versatile beer.

Derek Kennedy, Cheese Aficionado, recommends:

 Follow your folly straight to a guffaw of an idea by pairing this enigma of a wood-aged sour with Brindamour, a French (sometimes Corsican) goat and sheep’s milk cheese covered and aged with herbs. The dry body of the goat/sheep combo will be a perfect contrast to the sour parts of the beer leading you to fits of spontaneous laughter and hilarity.

Lauren Salazar, our sensory specialist, recommends:

 Aperitif or digestif – perfect solution for any sour beer!

Michael McAvena, Beer Director at The Publican, recommends:

My favorite pairing so far with New Belgium’s La Folie; our house-made rillettes composed of duck and pork cooked with white wine and brandy, left to solidify then garnished with pickled rhubarb and sparkle strawberries served with toasted sourdough.

This is a classic complimentary and contrasting pairing during which neither the food nor the drink looses face, rather one makes the other better. The complex and at times intense woodsy acidity of the beer is softened by the richness of the rillettes, yet it is still able to slice right through the creaminess of the fat and lift the heaviness off the palate. Meanwhile, La Folie echoes the tart flavors of the pickled strawberries and rhubarb which are heightened by the fruity gaminess of the duck.


The toasted sour dough also plays in this interaction as the crispy, caramelized crust shares a harmonious note with the caramel over tones in the beer and brings out a slightly toasted note shared by both. The bread, being a medium for the rillettes also acts as a sponge that bring the beer and fat beautifully together. Each bite warrants another sip and with each sip I want another bite. It’s almost as if the beer was made for the dish or the dish for the beer.  La Folie is quite mature yet wildly youthful, it’s got guts but remains subtle and complex; it’s a true pleasure to drink and an even greater pleasure to have at the table. Check it out.