Fancy Pants Sunday: New Belgium La Folie Grand Reserve: PX
Hailing from Andalusia, a large autonomous region of hills, rivers and farmland bordering Spain’s southern coast, Pedro Ximénez, also known also as “PX,” is a white wine grape varietal used in both a blending component and in its own right a varietal wine, which is an intensely sweet, dark, dessert style sherry wine with flavors of figs, molasses, roasted nuts and exotic spices.
Pedro Ximénez was originally grown in the Montilla-Moriles DO region of southern Spain, and along with Palomino Fino made up the majority of grapes used in the production of sherry. However, the strong resistance of the Palomino grape to disease has led to a great decline in the use of Pedro Ximénez in traditional sherry, and despite its continued use in the sweeter blends of sherry in Montilla-Moriles, Malaga and other regions of Andalusia, its fame now rests principally on its use in the varietal raisin, straw-wine of the same name.
That’s all fine and dandy, but what the hell; does that have top do with today’s Fancy Pants Sunday column, Peaks and Pints weekly salute to complex, big and/or pricey craft beer?
A love for said dessert wines inspired New Belgium Brewing’s latest small batch version of their award-winning sour brown La Folie — La Folie Grand Reserve: PX — the same PX that stands for Pedro Ximénez, the white Spanish wine grape. As you know, New Belgium has been making sour beers for more than 20 years, launching its wood beer program in 1998 with La Folie. The game-changing sour brown continues to serve as one of New Belgium’s most beloved beers and an inspiration for these small batch Grand Reserve variations. New Belgium sourced 20 sought-after sherry barrels, each previously holding PX Sherry, using this good wood to mature La Folie’s dark base beer and New Belgium’s house culture for nine months. Once matured, 400 whole, hand-split Tahitian vanilla beans were infused into the sherry barrel-aged base beer for four months, swirled every day to intensify the combination of vanilla’s sweetness with existing fig, sour plum and cocoa flavors. A sour middle sways back to subtle sweetness before finishing with a mouth-watering pucker.
La Folie Grand Reserve: PX was bottled and kegged on a gentle amount of nitrogen, a unique technique unusual for wood-aged sour beers, providing a smooth and velvety mouthfeel, before it arrived at Peaks and Pints’ cooler.
You fancy, New Belgium La Folie Grand Reserve: PX.