New Belgium Vrienden (Lips of Faith Series)New Belgium Brewing Co. & Allagash Brewing Co.
CLASSIFICATION: Sour Ale/ Wild Ale
Smitty's Review: Sampled at 50 degrees. Pours copper amber with a one finger, fluffy ivory head that dissipates to a retentive ring. The aroma is a wonderful blend of cherry, potpourri, brett esters, and flower petals. Medium bodied with a soft carbonation and somewhat creamy texture. Initial flavor of grainy pale Belgian malts that quickly transitions to a moderate tartness, with notes of culinary herbs and sour fruits. Finish is very acidic and somewhat dry, with a lingering acidity and dirtiness on the palate.
This is a solid beer with a tamed use of wild yeast strains. I would say that this is more of an "intermediate level" beer for venturing into sour beers. I will admit that my expectations were very high, since Allagash was involved. Did they meet them? Not quite, but I still enjoyed it. This one is not as complex or cohesive as La Folie or Tart Lychee, which are my favorite New Belgium sours.
Rating*: 8.25 out of 10
Recommended Food Pairing: Shellfish, Salmon, Goat Cheese, White Stilton cheese
Value: Good. $8.99 per 22oz is a respectable price for a wild beer
Beer Audience: Not for the pedestrian palate. Leave this for Sour Heads and those venturing into sours
Where To Buy: Wine and Spirit stores with a craft beer selection
* rating system based on aroma (1 pt), appearance (1pt), palate (2 pts) flavor (3pts), comparison to other commercial examples of the style (3pts)