La Folie is a Sour Brown Ale (6% ABV, 20 IBU, I wish there was a standard measure of sourness to provide here) aged in French oak barrels by New Belgium.
Just for clarification or bias notation, I love sour beers. I could drink them all day, every day. I like sweet acidic things in general. Like limeades and balsamic vinegar and strawberries on ice cream.
La Folie pours ruby brown with a tan head that dissipates quickly. It smells like sweet expensive vinegar and the first sip is puckeringly sour. It makes my mouth water, both literally and figuratively. The tartness envelops the side-back of your tongue (the part that sits next to your molars) and tingles. The sourness is offset by an earthy sweetness that becomes more pronounced as you get accustomed to the sour and the beer warms.
The aroma to me was sour (not the bad sour but the sweet sour like sour candy). The initial taste is a sour blast to the tongue the type that makes your mouth instantly water. The finish is a slight surgary sweetness to the back of the tongue. I noticed as I drank that the sour feeling doesn’t linger for very long on the tongue. The mouthfeel is a very bubbly feeling as the carbonation attacks the front and sides of the tongue. As the beer warmed I noticed that it became smoother and more tart than sour (this could just be palette fatigue.)
Part of the thing about sour beers is that they work a lot like wines. So, if you’re into tart wines this could work for you. It also means that they pair fabulously with some of the same things wines do. New Belgium’s La Folie page provides several pairing suggestions.
Sour ales are the hip new beer of the moment, so there are plenty of options if you can get them, but La Folie is by far the most easily available in Kansas. New Belgium’s other sour/wild ales include Biere de Mars, Eric’s Ale, and Le Fleur Misseur.
Russian River Brewing makes several sour/wild ales (including Supplication, Temptation, Beatification) which are always highly rated, so give them a try if you can find them.