New Belgium’s blender, Lauren Limbach, likes to say that the annual La Folie Grand Reserve release is like taking La Folie to the prom. It’s the one time each year where they take their signature sour, La Folie, and reinvent its world by featuring some of the most intriguing, exotic, and luxurious ingredients they can get their hands on. And the 2020 release is no exception. The inspiration for 2020’s La Folie Grand Reserve release, Honey Saffron, came from a very simple starting point: the life around a flower. More specifically, its petals, its crocus threads, and its eventual honey.
THE SOUR: America’s pioneering sour ale, La Folie, is an 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.
THE HONEY: The honey that is fermented within the base beer is from a very special producer and friend of New Belgium’s, the African Bronze Honey Company. This honey is wild-harvested and only gathered twice a year in the West Lunga Forest of Zambia, Africa. The honey is dark in color and showcases notes of dried fruit, smoke, and maple syrup.
THE SAFFRON: Known as the world’s most expensive spice, the saffron used in this beer come to us by way of our new friends at Zeeba Farms Cooperative, an Afghan saffron co-op that’s working to strengthen the economic relationship between consumers and farmers in the saffron industry of Afghanistan. They finished this beer with over 800 grams of saffron to add floral and woodsy notes and a deep amber glow to the beer — specifically in the foam.
THE PETALS: At the same moment as when they add the saffron, just prior to bottling, they added heaping amounts of honey-soaked rose petals to further elevate those delicate floral aromas while balancing the acidity with honey sweetness.