#rarebeer – PorchDrinking.com
An Inaugural to Remember
It’s been almost two weeks since the Side Project Invitational, and attendees’ heads are still spinning over the experience. Subtitled as “A Festival of Barrel-Aged Stouts & Barleywines,” it was immediately advertised as not for the faint of heart. Strategically placed on Super Bowl Sunday, February 2nd, as the kickoff to Side Project’s annual Stout Week, it brought people from all over the United States to Maplewood, Missouri to see what all the hype was about.
As someone based in Denver who makes a hobby out of beer writing, I have what can only be described as an embarrassing confession: I had never tasted New Belgium’s La Folie—or any other of its critically acclaimed sours—before last week.
The gravity of this oversight may be lost on the casual enthusiast, so allow me to explain. For 20 years, the Fort Collins-based brewery has been cranking out some of the country’s most complex wood-aged beers, starting with the first iteration of La Folie, its flagship Flanders-style Sour Brown Ale aged in massive oak barrels called foeders. New Belgium’s is now the largest wood cellar program in the U.S., with 64 French oak foeders and one American white oak foeder all imparting funky flavors to base beers as they mature.
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge last year raised over $220 million globally. The viral awareness campaign also reached the brewing industry where it inspired several breweries to go out to make their own videos to raise money and awareness …