While Lauren Salazar was in Las Vegas for several of the New Belgium events in town, I was given a chance to sit down with her and discuss New Belgium’s creative process and some of their upcoming projects.
La Folie has become one of my favorite beers and being able to sit down and talk with the blender who makes La Folie was awesome. I’m really looking forward to all of the new beers that we discussed, as well as New Belgium’s expansion.
Hooked on Hops: You’re known for being the wood cellar manager at New Belgium and blending sour beers, like La Folie. What are some non-sour beers that you enjoy drinking?
Lauren Salazar: I’m a crazy stout fan! Anything dark, malty, huge; that’s my thing. Old Rasputin, Big Bad Baptist, I love anything huge and big. (more…)
Alright, technically summer ended a few weeks ago, but Las Vegas tends to hang onto the summer weather a bit longer than most cities.
This past summer (which started in April in Las Vegas) I was really into beers that were lower in alcohol, and preferably, a bit sour. These beers are perfect for Las Vegas summers. The lower alcohol means a lighter body, which increases drinkability and adds a nice refreshing quality to it.
Sour beers are a bit of another story, but if it’s a little tart, and low in alcohol, it has even more refreshing qualities to it. Think of lemonade, for example.
Berliner Weisse beers fit this description perfectly. Here’s a quick run down: German origins, features around 50% wheat in the ingredients list (much like a hefeweizen), low alcohol (traditionally under 4%), and a little bit of tartness. Napoleon’s troops referred to this style as “Champagne of the north” (according to the BJCP). Champagne is a fair description. Mimosa may be a little bit more accurate.
If you are new to sour beers. Berliner Weisse would be a good starting point. The tartness comes from the lactic acid cultures that are used in the fermentation process. Lactic acid adds a green apple level of sourness. Careful though, some are only mildly tart, others are puckeringly sour.
Sadly, this isn’t an overly popular style beer. The most readily available Berliner Weisse in Las Vegas would be Dogfish Head’s Festina Pêche. It’s their summer seasonal beer, so it’s not necessarily that readily available. Also, they call it a “neo-Berliner Weisse” so don’t expect this to be a traditional representation of the style.
If the name didn’t tip you off, it’s made with peaches. The aroma is filled with the smell of ripe peaches. It is very light body and has a crisp finish. The flavor is very peachy throughout, but it isn’t a sweet, sugary beer. It would be in the lightly tart range in the sourness scale.
Extremely refreshing beer. If you still find some around town, (honestly, a bit unlikely) scoop it up and enjoy while it’s still warm outside!