New Belgium La Folie 2014 Sour Brown Ale

LaFolie2014Brewer: New Belgium Brewery, Fort Collins, CO
Style: Oud Bruine
Alc/Vol: 7.0%
IBUs: 18

Description: La Folie, French for ‘the folly’, is part of New Belgium’s Sour series, which celebrates a distinctive Belgian brewing tradition. Using wild, naturally occurring yeasts, this brown ale develops a natural sour flavor loaded with lactic acid. The ale is then aged in oak barrels for one to three years before being bottled.

Tasting Notes: As Oud Bruines go, this beer was exceptionally dry and tart. And consistent with this style, it smacked of tartness and sour flavor, and had some serious fruit esters. These called to mind green apples, sour cherries, apricots; and of course, plenty of oak tannins.

Appearance:  Deep ruby red, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Sour malts, sour cherry, plum, apple, oak
Taste:  Immediate burst of lactic acid, tart green apple, sour cherry, apricot, oak
Aftertaste: Lingering sourness and oak flavor, dry fruit
Overall: 8.5/10

The Bruery Oude Tart

oude_tartBrewer: The Bruery, Placentia, CA
Style: Flemish Red Ale
Alc/Vol: 7.5%

Description: This Belgian-Style ale is part of The Bruery’s special collection of limited release beers and is named Oude Tart (Flemish for “Old Tart”) in honor of the traditional Flemish Red (aka. sour ale). Consistent with this style, the beer is brewed with wild yeast strains that lead to the accumulation of lactic acids and then aged in red wine oak barrels for 18 months before bottling. The Oude Tart is also the 2010 and 2012 Gold Medal winner at the World Beer Cup in the Flanders Style Oud Red or Oud Brun category as well as the 2011 Gold Medal winner at the Great American Beer Festival in the same category.

Tasting Notes: This is my second sampling from The Bruery, and I picked it specifically because of my love for the style. However, I have to say that this is not the most appealing Flemish Red I’ve ever tasted. While it is faithfully brewed and aged to achieve that characteristic tart and sour flavor, this comes through in a rather intense way and there’s little else to balance it out. However, it is possible I picked up a bottle that was a little young and required some aging. I shall try again in the future, as it really did seem like this brewery knows what it’s doing when it comes to Belgian-style ale.

Appearance: Dark brown/red, opaque, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Sour nose, strong lactic acid, sour cherry and oak
Taste: Strong acid, intense tartness, yeast, sour cherries, oak and tannin flavor
Aftertaste: Lingering tartness and lactic acid
Overall: 7.5/10

I also came across this video from their website, where Tyler King – the Sr. Director of Brewing Operations – explains the creation process behind this ale. Enjoy!

Phillips Leviathan Milk Stout

leviathanIt’s not secret that the folks at Phillips like to experiment with their beer. And with the new year now upon us, this Victoria-based brewery has shown no signs of slowing down. In fact, three new limited release beers have made it out to the public since 2013 rolled around.

The first was their Bottle Rocket India Session Ale, which I have yet to try. Then came their Twisted Oak Scotch Ale, which I just finished sampling and reviewing the other night. Then came. And last, but certainly not least is their benefit brew, an annual beer that is made specifically for a local charity, where the brewery designs the label, the name, and the product in honor of the charity in question.

Leviathan-Milk-StoutThis year, they have partnered with the Cetus Conservation Society –  a Victoria-based charity dedicated to preserving marine habitats – to produce Leviathan Milk Stout. And, as I suspect, they were inspired by Parallel 49’s success with experimenting with lactic acid to produce what is known as Milk Stout, a variety of stout which is well rounded and creamy in addition to toasted and tawny. And, true to form, this experiment paid off.

Appearance: Black as tar, opaque and good foam retention
Nose: Rich, deep roasted malts
Taste: Immediate tang and roasted barley, slight smoke, cut by creamy mouthfeel
Aftertaste: Lingering smoke and toasted malts, slight creamy finish
Overall: 8.5/10

All in all, the beer possessed all that is good about a stout, but also managed to round out its roasted and smoky profile with a creamy, smooth texture. It’s quite enjoyable to drink, and offers beer drinkers a few things which they are likely to find appealing. For seasoned beer drinkers and fans of stout, it had the dark, tangy and roasted flavor of a real stout. And for people who like a refreshing brew, the beer is smooth, drinkable and has a good mouthfeel. I recommend getting some before it runs out of stock. And remember, all proceeds go towards preserving marine life!