Sour Beer!

I came across this interview of Lauren Salazar by a fella named Brandon over at Embrace The Funk. Lauren is the "Sensory Specialist" at New Belgium Brewing company and in charge of the blending of their sour beers. If you have ever toured the New Belgium Brewing Company and seen their barrel aging room you know what a tremendous job she is doing. They have so many barrels with so many beers at so many various stages of aging!
Barrel Aging Room at New Belgium Brewing Company
A picture from a tour in New Belgium's Barrel Aging Room
What's that you say? You've never heard of sour beer? Well, my friends, let me enlighten you if I may. Sour beers are purposefully infected with bacteria that create a sour taste in the beer. Think granny smith apple sour not vinegar sour. These beers come in a wide range of sourness; all the way from mouth puckering tear-jerkers to subtle hints of sourness after careful blending. 

Sours can come in many varieties, but typically you have two types: beers that are fermented with a yeast that gives off sour characteristics and beers that are introduced to bacteria post-fermentation. The former type of sour beer is fermented with brettanomyces and the second is innoculated with the bacteria lactobacillus or pediococcus. I find that I far prefer the tart sourness from the lactobacillus at this point in my love affair with sour beers.

The interview got my thirst up for my current favorite sour beer, New Belgium's La Folie. It just so happens that this beer was recently released so I scooted on over to the local Total Beverage to pick up a couple bombers of it. At $17 bucks for 22 oz it's by no means a cheap beer, but man oh man is it a great brew. This beer is best enjoyed at a warmer temperature so a glass that allows for maximal hand-to-beer contact is a must. 
2013 New Belgium Brewing La Folie
La Folie - 2013
What I'm Drinking:
New Belgium Brewing La Folie...Duh!!!

This beer is 100% sour. While it is blended with other sours at various stages in their aging, there are no non-sours blended in. The result is an intensely tart nose that gives way to some more subtle fruit and spice upon agitation. La Folie is a brown ale at its base and as such is a deep red color nearing opaqueness. Smooth through the middle with reserved tartness, La Folie finishes very mouth-puckering with granny smith apple or pear flavors. Not for the faint of heart but very good!

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