New Belgium Brewing Celebrates Two Decades of Wood-Aged Sours
Old favorites get new looks, bottle conditioning as US leader in sour beer production celebrates 20th anniversary of wood-aged sour program
(FORT COLLINS) New Belgium Brewing is rolling out 2018’s sour beer offerings in style with the simultaneous release of this year’s La Folie and Transatlantique Kriek. Why so much sour in such a short time? Because New Belgium is celebrating the 20th anniversary of one of America’s most prominent sour beer programs.
“We helped launch this whole sour thing in America 20 years ago,” explained Andrew Emerton, New Belgium’s specialty brand manager. “It’s taken two decades of painstaking love and attention to maintain the magic of the oldest continuous souring culture in America. We knew we had to do something to celebrate.”
To mark the occasion, La Folie, Transatlantique Kriek and all future sour releases are putting on some party clothes. Each beer is returning to its roots, packaged in 375 ml cork & cage bottles and bottle-conditioned.
“It’s hard to believe we’ve been experimenting with sours for two decades, but I’ve loved every moment,” said Lauren Limbach, New Belgium’s wood cellar director and blender. “It is definitely a mix of art and science, with so many different combinations and outcomes. Taking risks and playing around is all part of the romance.”
New Belgium will host 20th anniversary parties on May 27 in Asheville, NC, and Fort Collins, CO, to celebrate this milestone. Attendees will be treated to educational seminars, a variety of entertainment and be some of the first in the country to try this year’s batch of vintage sours. The Asheville brewery will also host a Sour Symposium featuring Limbach on May 26.
La Folie, a Flanders-style sour brown ale aged in oak barrels, is credited as being the first commercial sour beer to be released by a U.S. craft brewery. It’s named after the French phrase meaning “the folly.”
La Folie ages one to three years in French oak foeders formerly used in wine production. The result? A smooth-drinking brown ale with a delightfully tart finish. This one-of-a-kind beer is sharp like a lambic, sour in the finish, and full of green apple, cherry, and plum-skin notes. It pours a deep mahogany. As part of the 20th anniversary celebration, La Folie is transitioning to a year-round offering with new blends being made throughout the year and released in small batches.
La Folie is 7 percent ABV and is available in 375ml bottles and on draft in select markets.
Transatlantique Kriek offers another dose of sour that’s crisp and effervescent with a bright flash of cherry. The 2018 edition of Transatlantique Kriek began life in the oaken vessels of Gert Christiaens’ Oud Beersel brewery, an over 130-year-old Belgian lambic brewery. After it wood aged, Oud Beersel’s lambic was matured on Polish cherries and shipped across the Atlantic to New Belgium’s Fort Collins brewery, where a sour blonde ale was added. The result is an intense cherry nose leading to a pleasing sweet-tart finish.
Transatlantique Kriek is 6.5 percent ABV and is available in 375ml bottles and on draft in select markets.
For more information about New Belgium or any of its beers, visit www.newbelgium.com.
About New Belgium Brewing
New Belgium Brewing, makers of Fat Tire Amber Ale and a host of Belgian-inspired beers, is recognized as one of Outside Magazine’s Best Places to Work, one of the Wall Street Journal’s Best Small Businesses and tops Bicycling Magazine’s Best Companies for Cyclists. The 100% employee-owned brewery is a Platinum-level Bicycle Friendly Business as designated by the League of American Bicyclists, one of World Blu’s most democratic U.S. businesses, and a Certified B Corp. In addition to Fat Tire Amber Ale, New Belgium brews sixteen year-round beers: Citradelic Tangerine IPA, Fat Tire Belgian White, The Hemperor HPA, Voodoo Ranger IPA, Voodoo Ranger Imperial IPA, Voodoo Ranger 8 Hop Pale Ale, Voodoo Ranger Juicy Haze IPA, Sour Saison, Honey Orange Tripel, Dayblazer Easygoing Ale, Tartastic Fruit Beer Series, 1554 Black Lager, Bohemian Pilsner, Abbey Belgian Style Ale, Trippel and a gluten-reduced beer, Glutiny Pale Ale. To learn more, visit NewBelgium.com and follow the brewery on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.