The loftiest sour beer ever created at New Belgium
At New Belgium, the Geisha coffee bean provided an interesting challenge: Marrying the bean’s delicate aromatics with the bold character of sour Oscar, the base beer that’s blended into award-winning La Folie Sour Brown Ale. To do so, Fort Collins-based Troubadour Maltings provided malt varieties to brew a special “smuggler” beer—named for the “smuggling in” of essential oils to help promote foam retention in the finished product—which lends rich concord grape character to the final blend, bridging the gap between the fruity, funky notes of Oscar and the delicate, citrusy tea-like notes of the bean.
The result is an exquisite sour beer that leads with the character of the bean, a feat that came with its fair share of anxiety.
This beer tells the story of a community of dedicated craftspeople. The Geisha coffee produced by the Peterson family at Hacienda La Esmeralda in Panama is illuminating. Its brilliant mandarin and soft jasmine floral notes bring light to the eyes of all who taste it. We worked closely with the Petersons, Sustainable Harvest, Bean Cycle Coffee Roasters and Troubadour Maltings in order to marry this Geisha glow with a special blend of La Folie.
America’s pioneering sour ale, La Folie, is our award-winning Flanders-style sour. La Folie’s notes of sour plum and cocoa are the result of years of maturing French oak foeders containing the oldest, continuous souring culture in America. How it plays with the other two elements is complex, elegant and rewarding.
For introducing the exquisite flavors of the Geisha coffee into La Folie, we used a “smuggler” ale of sorts brewed with Colorado grown and malted barley and wheat from Troubadour Maltings. We built a grist recipe with them that would boost the foam as well as highlight all of the sweet, bright, and floral notes at play.
La Folie Grand Reserve: Geisha was specially bottled to express the delicate, soft floral and citrus notes of the Geisha coffee and our foeder-aged dark sour. To achieve this, we took as much precaution as possible to remove the introduction of aromatic harming oxygen during the bottling process and dosed each bottle with nitrogen prior to corking. Do not expect a classic "cascading" effect, but rather a light ethereal layer of tiny bubbles, like the crema on your coffee.
As with any fresh roasted coffee beans, this demands to be enjoyed as soon as possible.