I made the pilgrimage to Denver, CO for the Great American Beer Festival in 2005 in 2007. The first time was a bro weekend trip with K-Dub and Mr. Smokey Pants. The 2nd, K-Dub and I brought our ladies and Mr. Smokey Pants bowed out. Below is a comparison of the experiences.

2005: K-Dub and Mr. Smokey Pants alternated turning in early at night.
2007: The ladies turned in early at night.

2005: Stranahan's... great! Wynkoop... don't believe the hype.
2007: Stranahan's... still great! Wynkoop... still terrible.

2005: Set the high score on ESPN Zone's football throwing skills game with K-Dub.
2007: Broke our previous high score on ESPN Zone's football throwing skills game with K-Dub.

2005: Drank before the GABF sessions... between the GABF sessions... and after the GABF sessions.
2007: Limited the pre-lubing to only a few beers but still closed down the town in the evenings.

2005: Attended the Friday session. If frat parties got together once a year and had a frat party convention, it would be similar to the atmosphere on the Friday evening GABF session.
2007: Took a break from GABF on Friday and visited area breweries. I'll never attend another Friday GABF session again.

Day 4
May 14, 2009
New Belgium La Folie
Hand Bottled #9/2-8977 (2007)

Website/Bottle Information:
La Folie Wood-Aged Biere, is our original wood-conditioned beer, resting in French Oak barrels between one and three years before being hand bottled, numbered and corked for your enjoyment. Brewmaster, Peter Bouckaert, came to us from Rodenbach – home of the fabled sour red. Our La Folie emulates the spontaneous fermentation beers of Peter’s beloved Flanders with sour apple notes, a dry effervescence, and earthy undertones.

When you uncork La Folie, it is best to let it breathe before drinking. This will not only improve the bouquet but also increase the beer's temperature providing a more complex taste and body.

Bottle: 750mL
ABV: 6.0

He Said:

I picked this bottle up while visiting the brewery in 2007. The bottle sat in the kegerator mainly because it was expensive (I think I must have bought this for at least $18 or so) and it's different. When is the right moment to serve a sour brown that you cannot easily replace? I guess American Craft Beer Week.

This puppy is sour. I mean like real sour. The kind of sour that will stay in your mouth for quite a while after the sip. Beer snobs... Don't hate... but I ate a piece of peppered turkey jerky before starting this post and the sour flavor is still in my mouth. The internet tells me the "La Folie" means "crazy" or "insane" in French. Crazy sour.

The bottle says to let this beer breathe a little, which to me meant try it right away… how else will I be able to appreciate the differences? It was cold, sour, and heavily carbonated minutes after the pour. The head disappeared immediately. As it warmed, the flavor improved. In fact, I saved the last sip for a while and the flat, room temperature sip was enjoyable.

The beer is balanced, but not terribly complex. For a beer that gets such attention from the brewery (aged in oak barrels for 1-3 years and hand bottled), I guess I expect a little more. I do not mean to be overly negative (I wish I had another in the fridge), but this is an above average beer that does not live up to the hype.

She Said:
Brown, dark brown, with a tinge of red on the edges. I am already a little concerned, but it's a Belgium style "sour brown" I like sour, I like Belgium, not so much brown.

Wow, now that's sour! It bites the heck out of your mouth when you take a sip. In fact, caution not to take too big a sip like I did, it actually made my lips pucker and my eyes water. Very carbonated, even though it doesn't look bubbly. Boy is it tart. I don't think I'll be able to finish an entire snifter of this one. It is definitely for sitting around and taking your time. This is not a beer you'd drink quickly, often, or at all during the summer. It feels wintery to me, like on a cold day sit, sip, and get warm kind of beer. The more I drink it the more I like it. It's a nice beer, but definitely for a special occasion. If you like sour things this is for you. The back of my 'buds are still screaming from the last sip I took. I'd give it a pint up for its uniqueness. For sure give it a go, if you don't, how could you hold your head up and call yourself a craft beer connoisseur!

  1. She May 15, 2009 at 8:25 PM  

    You know those stories before the reviews are not that funny and kinda boring.

  2. J.R. Ewing May 15, 2009 at 8:25 PM  

    Pardon me if I don't drop an Andrew Jackson on this one. Hey, if you don't find a dud every now and then, you're not trying.

    But about the GABF, any way they can move this thing away from College Football season?

  3. He May 15, 2009 at 8:44 PM  

    Oh well... I'm amused.