Some sour beer fanatics can come off as a little smug…staring down their refined noses at hopheads as the noobs of beer geekdom. It’s like talking to an elite, hardcore, indie music fanatic, and they’re all, “Oh, you still read Pitchfork? I guess you’ve never heard of I Was Totally Destroying It or Sorry About Dresden. Have fun listening to your Bon Iver.”
Well F them. They think they’re so Raven.
I’ve had a couple tart/sour beers. I like Bell’s Oarsman, which has a refreshing light tartness. I think Duchesse de Bourgogne is pretty good. And I really liked Blushing Monk, a raspberry Belgian ale, which I thought was pretty dang sour. I was a bad ass and could hack anything sours could throw at me. Until I brought this evil, uncaring bastard home.
La Folie is from New Belgium’s Lips of Faith Series. It rests in French Oak barrels between one and three years and is “infected” with some acetic acid- and/or lactic acid-producing wild yeast. Then, as I understand it, the various ages are blended to New Belgium’s liking. I don’t know if this is a Flemish Red, a Flanders Brown, or what…but they just call it a Sour Brown Ale.
It pours a dark brown-burgundy, with a quickly receding tan head. It smells like Cheerwine and vinegar. It tastes like taking a shot of vinegar and immediately french-kissing a vomitously sour and angry mob of hobos who are all housed on Pinot Noir & RC cola spritzers. OK, so I’ve never had a Pinot Noir & RC Cola spritzer. But it does taste like f-ing vinegar.
After I recover, I sniff around a bit more, and beyond the aforementioned cherry cola and vinegar, it smells like a musty, red wine cork. And then it’s all like 50 Shades of Green naturalist porn with a deep, wet, earthy funk and some emerging wood. And in the taste, as the vinegar fades a bit, you can pick up some tart-ass granny smith apples, cherries, and maybe some caramel (without the appurtenant sweetness). Finally, it is moderately carbonated, pretty thin, and finishes dry.
It fascinated me, and despite my initial revulsion, I killed the whole deuce-deuce. I think I am going to try more of the various types of sour beers and return to this at some point. I’m still a hophead, though.
The Haybag: Ack. It tastes like sour champagne. I can’t drink this. Nasty.