Friday, March 18, 2011

Beer for the Weekend - Le Terroir

New Belgium Le Terroir, a sour wood aged beer, has hit KC. Sour and wood aged gives Le Terroir a really high score on the official International Board of BGBM Values BGBM meter. It barely registers on my personal BGBM since it's 100% barrel aged and not 46% resulting in a very low (E) in my BGBM meter. Also, wood aged is no longer rare so the (u) or uniqueness of style is in a drastic freefall. But, sour and wood aged together certainly make it pretty unique and well worth a try for the well conditioned beer geek.

Le Terroir may also be a good beer for the KU fan in your life as the beer's sourness will pair wonderfully with KU's sourness after another early exit in the NCAA tourney (think UNLV).

Gomer's Midtown and Royal State Line have it in limited quantities. You may have to ask for it and it may very well be worth your while.


  1. Since the barrel is not a bourbon barrel, the barrel character is quite a bit softer than in the Boulevard Imperial Stout (at least the 2009, have not had 2011 yet).

  2. There were plenty available at Gomers South.

  3. The sourness and the wood mesh well together and end up balancing, much like the early exits are mellowed by the championship trophies...

  4. Just got back from Royal State Line. I didn't see any on the shelves and was then told by a clerk they were out. After paying for some other stuff I'm 99% sure I spotted a full case behind the counter. Rather than make a scene and add to an already slow-moving line I left. Maybe the clerk didn't know what he was talking about but can't help but feel a little that beer buying in this town (more than other places I've lived in Chicago and SF) is increasingly becoming a game of "who you know." Given the number of beer reviews and dinners that you guys disclose not paying for or getting in advance, I think you'd have some interesting insight to add to this since presumably things weren't always that way for you. Regardless, life goes on and I'll continue my Le Terroir search on at places that are either 1) more knowledgeable or 2) more honest.

    Love the blog and enjoy reading your take on things, cheers

  5. There's quite a few bottles left at Gomers Midtown

  6. Tom, interesting insight. For me, most of the time when I post about something I want to buy, I will have already bought it by the time the post hits the interwebs. I don't think my name has ever graced "a list". But I know many people get their names on Gomer's Midtown and South lists which leaves just a few bottles for the random scavenger to get.

    I can't speak to your situation with Royal tonight or what beer buying is like in Chicago or SF. But, I do know that buying beer in KC amounts to 8-10 stores that get all the good stuff. The real beer hounds around here know these stores and get to know the employees and managers so they can always get what they want. That doesn't leave a lot for everyone else.

    I combat this by keeping myself informed as to what is coming out and getting myself out to where that beer is and buying it. I do on occasion receive a freebie, but those are few and are rarely rare beers. As the beer scene in KC grows, more stores may pop up catering to the well informed beer consumer which will give you more of a shot at some of these tougher to find beers. The more we buy, the more we end up getting allotted.

  7. I don't mean this next question as an attack on your blog, so please don't take it as such.

    But does the KC Beer Blog have an issue with New Belgium? Obviously they do against KU (which as a Kansas grad, I absolutely get), but this post I didn't "get" in terms of Le Terroir being dismissed in favor of Blvd. Impy Stout. If it's an inside joke I'm missing (I read the BGBM link), then all blame on me. But while I really like Blvd's Impy Stout, Le Terroir is a terrific beer, and I'm not even a sour fan. It just seemed like it was meant a dig at New Belgium like it was obviously intended to be a dig at KU, which made me think there is something more to it than what should matter: the beer itself.

    Full disclosure: I do like New Belgium quite a bit, not only for their beers but for the people that work for them.



  8. Dan, I don't think much of New Belgium's session beers and I've pretty much given up on them. But, I don't have anything against the Lips of Faith beers. I wasn't taking a shot at New Belgium in any way.

    What I was trying to get across is that wood aged and sour is not necessarily something I'm that interested in. Many people are so I wrote the post, but I wanted to make the point that wood or barrel aged beers are getting a little overdone.

    I wasn't comparing Le Terroir to Imperial Stout, I was just giving a shout out to my own hypocrisy for liking a barrel aged beer in the past week. Also, I find it funny that Imperial Stout is 46% barrel aged, not 50, not 45, but 46. I keep imagining 2 things about this, a tasting panel with Pauwels and John McDonald tasting Imperial Stout with 45, 46 and 47% and arguing over which one is better. Or I picture Pauwels getting pissed at Danner or one of the other funboys for making it 46% and not 45% like he ordered and cursing at them in Flemish.

  9. I personally love Le Terroir, can't get enough of it. With more and more beer drinkers becoming interested in wild ales that are typically released sporadically and in small batches, many of them disappear from shelves as quickly as they appear AND cost a small fortune.

    New Belgium seems to be one of the few breweries with the talent and the production capacity to keep multiple barrel aged sours available at all times and at comparatively low prices.

    Here in Denver, a 375ml of Russian River's Temptation goes for $13.99 retail (if you can find it) while a 22oz bomber of Le Terroir is only $8.99 (and available to virtually any retail store that wants to carry it). These may be very different beers, but still, one costs less than half per oz what the other one does. That's pretty hard to beat.

  10. Hyvee State Line (not exactly off the beaten path) had this and cases of Boulevard Imperial Stout yesterday (to combat the urban myth that Smokestacks other than Chocolate Ale every actually sell out all that fast, even in KC).