In the beer world, there are whales—beers with names like Pliny and Heady Topper—and then there are better-than-whales: Beers with the reputation of being the best-of-the-best that you don't have to wait in line for. New Belgium’s La Folie is one of these beers. Denver’s alt-weekly called it one of the most important beers in Colorado history. The beer maintains a perfect Ratebeer score. La Folie also won gold at the Great American Beer Festival before there were even categories dedicated to sour styles (this beer is about 20 years old). This sour brown ale can be found year-round, but it’s particularly apt for the current sweater weather.
Appearance and Aroma
La Folie looks like fall: it’s maple syrup in a pint glass. However, no pumpkin or stout-like aromas await drinkers once the beer hits your nose. This beer’s sournness comes across with citrus, green apple and some woody and molasses notes, too, but they’re faint. It’s an unusual combination of sight and sense, but La Folie’s first impression certainly encourages you to sip.
If you don’t drink brown ales regularly, that feels like La Folie’s secret weapon.”
After that first sip, feel free to take a moment to reflect. You’ll need it. All sours should be La Folie-levels of sour; this beer seems to deliver a perfect blend of tartness and tastiness. The sour portion of this sour brown ale is pleasantly mild though certainly present. But La Folie’s ale elements really come through. The beer’s nuttiness tones down the need to incessantly pucker. The end result is a plum sweetness you can enjoy again and again, because La Folie finishes cleanly and leaves little acidity lingering on your tongue.
If you don’t drink brown ales regularly, that feels like La Folie’s secret weapon. The brown ale side of this beer mellows the sourness without overshadowing those tart tones entirely. The result has been consistently heralded as one of the best sours available—I’m definitely not here to argue.