March 13, 2011 by iamseanbrage
New Belgium has gotten their stable of regular-release beers down to a very precise and consistent art, but this brewery has not lost any of its soul. Throughout each year, New Belgium continuously expands its “Lips of Faith” series. These brews are wild, experimental, and push the boundaries of what to expect in a beer. While out for a bachelor party, we of course made sure to taste something special, and a bomber of “Le Terroir” was selected for the occasion.This “dry-hopped sour ale” was chosen primarily on its label, as we at MHB are big fans of all things hopped or sour. Putting them together is too enticing to pass up.
The Look: Sadly, an iPhone picture does not quite do justice to the color of this beer. A wonderful and inviting straw color, it’s actually a surprisingly bright appearance. The head is light and shallow, almost like a Belgian Wit. It would be easy to mistake Le Terroir for a glass of fruit juice, but the color is great and makes you want to take a sip.
The Nose: As soon as you get your snout into the glass, you can tell this beer is tart. The nose is sharp, with hints of white-wine vinegar or grapes, but also sweet with the aroma of apple skins and grapefruit. The smell is hot, and suggests a higher ABV than Le Terroir’s 7.5%. But the nose does a good job of making your mouth water, and getting you excited to taste this beer.
The Body: No huge surprises here, with a very crisp and light body. The carbonation is a little sharp, and gives Le Terroir a slightly fizzy feel that may displease some drinkers. The finish is very quick, with very little linger. I was a little surprised at how much Le Terroir dried my mouth. It felt akin to drinking a strong white wine, but that really wasn’t a bad thing. Especially with the tartness of the beer, having a body as light and “bouncy” as Le Terroir made sure you remembered the best parts without anything unpleasant lingering around.
The Taste: What can I say? We love our sour beers, and Le Terroir didn’t disappoint. Although not as pucker-up sour as a La Folie, Le Terroir is still sharp and tangy. A hint of lemon juice on the tongue will get your mouth watering as you sip. Apple juice seemed to be a common suggestion of the flavor, although the fruitiness of Le Terroir is much lighter than I expected, and more akin to pear skins. I was surprised to also taste a strong hint of ginger, a strong spiced overtone adding a little hotness to the brew. You might also think of pineapple when you sip this beer, but there is no unpleasant syrupy sweetness here. With its quick finish, the taste is sharp, bold, and gone in time for your next sip.
Overall: The general consensus gave this beer a fairly high B rating. I don’t know that it would take a claim in our Top 10-beers list if we had one at MHB, but as far as sours go, you do not want to skip Le Terroir. Tangy, sassy, and just fruity enough to warrant repeat sips, this sour ale is well worth the money. It’s medium-level ABV also means you’ll be feeling good enough to keep drinking after you’ve tried it. We highly recommend finding a bomber and giving Le Terroir some serious taste time.