Friday, April 11, 2014

La Folie/Transantlantique

Every year New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins exceeds expectations with great small batch beers known as their Lips of Faith Series. Each beer introduces guests to unique styles of fruit like Pluots and Yuzu, or they do great collaboration beers with other breweries like Cigar City in Tampa Bay. But through it all one beer is always sought after more than any other, and that is the Flanders style La Folie which takes anywhere from one to three years to make. In addition to the release of that in 2014 New Belgium also brought back another popular beer, the Trandantlantique Kriek. After acquiring some bottles and enjoying them thoroughly here are some tasting notes to these great limited batch beers.
La Folie: After spending 1-3 years in French Oak barrels this bottle went from the fridge into a traditional style tulip glass, and had a brown color with a red hue. The head was a slight off white but retained itself for a while to the size of about two fingers.
The aroma was very complex bringing out the best of what a sour should be, barrel aging, as well as the base of the beer all playing a role in the aroma. The malt base had a very subtle hint along with the French Oak from the barrel aging. The prominent aroma throughout this beer was all because of the sour process, and that was hints of plum. But the primary note on the nose was granny smith apple that gave off a sour note. The aroma was complex, but very inviting and with so many different notes in smell trying a sip just had to be done.
After one sip it is obvious just how complex this beer is. The medium body had a crisp and puckering mouth feel with a strong effervescence that translated to the flavor perfectly. In terms of flavor the notes captured in the aroma matched those in the flavor almost identically. The malt base in the beer was still present and gave a subtle sweetness of caramel, but that was quickly overpowered by the strong sour notes present in this beer. The flavors of granny smith apple were very strong and the most prominent fruit note in this beer, but the undertones of plum and citrus were still present in a more subtle form. The flavor from the French Oak helped to round out this beer creating depth and layers of unique flavors. But once all was said and done this was a very tart and sour beer that made the mouth pucker.
Despite having such strong and assertive flavors this beer has a relatively clean aftertaste. The tartness still lingers but not to the point where it makes the beer off putting. In general it was a very complex beer full of great and subtle flavors that will already make fans eager for next year’s batch.
Transatlantique Kriek: Made in partnership with Frank Boon’s brewery in Belgium to combine 45% ale with cherries and 55% ale creates a tart, refreshing, and full flavored final product: a Kriek. Thankfully for fans of this beer it was brought back for an encore release.
Again the glassware used was a tulip glass although a proper limbic glass would have been more traditional, and this beer poured a deep ruby color. This beer had a good amount of carbonation which formed a thick, light pink head at the top of the glass. The aroma was exactly what would be expected in such a bold beer. The subtle malt base, but this was a prominent cherry beer with a strong and tart aroma to match that carried through to the flavor on the first sip.
The flavor of the beer is exactly what you would expect based on the aroma, and that is a pure cherry flavor. Unlike most fruit ales this Kriek had a natural cherry flavor, there were no artificial flavors running through the bottle. Since this was a blended ale there was still malt base to this beer to give it a light body and different subtle sweetness to balance out the beer. This was complimented by the tartness, brightness, and refreshing notes from all the cherries. The finish to this beer left just a faint hint of tartness, but faded quickly making it very refreshing and easy to drink that next sip.
From top to bottom this was a very well rounded and artfully crafted beer full of great technique. To have a fruit beer that balances all the qualities within it making it the right amount of sweet, tart, and to have a pure natural flavor just goes to prove how much care went into this batch. This is a beer that will be enjoyed by fans of lambics, fruit beers, and is one worth trying as it may turn you on to a whole new style. All we can hope is that it will continue to make encore appearances on shelves for thirsty fans.

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