Foeders full of ‘eccentric madness’ - La Folie, 20 years in the making

Photo: New Belgium Brewing

Photo: New Belgium Brewing

La Folie is the main attraction in New Belgium’s Lips of Faith Series this year.

The sour beer, French for “the folly,” made its 2017 debut as New Belgium celebrates 20 years of creating sour beers. This tart sour ale is full of green apples, deep cherry, dark chocolate, and tannin-like plum skin flavorings. 

La Folie, 7 percent ABV, is fully fermented then filtered and moved to room temperature barrels where they will age for one to three years. Brewers will taste the barrels every three months and then blend different foeders with different flavor profiles to create the perfect beer. New Belgium started with four foeders, large oak barrels that the brewery assembles on-site, and currently has 64 barrels under its Great Wood Cellar Expansion. 

Each year Eric Salazar, New Belgium’s Wood Cellar manager, and Lauren Salazar, New Belgium’s sour beer blender, work together to blend the foeders in order to create a special La Folie that is a winning interpretation of a Flanders-style sour brown ale. “We’ve been blending and experimenting with sour wood beers for two decades and as the name La Folie implies, it’s always with a touch of eccentric madness,” said New Belgium spokesman Bryan Simpson. “We combine multiple barrels based on continual tasting to create a combination that is just right. Once again, the crew nailed it this year.”

The sour beer market is certainly on the up-swing and New Belgium has developed a nice mix to its lineup, including: Transatlantique Kriek (8 percent ABV) sour ale, Le Terroir (7.5 percent ABV) dry-hopped sour ale, and Tart Lychee (7.5 percent ABV) sour ale. 

- Jamie Mills