Boulevard Brewing Company has stirred interest at the stores lately. Boulevard produces richly-flavored brews with strong character. All are bottle-conditioned. That means that the brews enjoy a second fermentation in the bottle. Bottle conditioning improves freshness and flavor.
It might surprise you to learn that Boulevard is neither new nor small. Located in Kansas City, Missouri, the brewery aims at the local market first of all. Boulevard does not attempt to serve the nation, so consider ourselves lucky that we can get Boulevard ales at all.
As a brewery with some 90 employees, Boulevard represents barely a patch on Budweiser, Miller and the other big guys. Those 90 employees look like a Woodstock audience, however, compared to the almost homebrew scale of many boutique breweries.
The questions of brewery size or age pale next to the more urgent one: how do the ales taste? We say they taste pretty good, and expect you will say so, too. Much muttering and consultation must go on among those 90 employees because the ingredient lists of Boulevard beers show evidence of much trial and error. Only a brewer can tell you how the different hops, malts, and sugars used effect the final potion. We can declare that the balance of these elements in the final product rates nothing less than superb.
It thrilled us some to see listed in the ingredients for Tank 7 something called simply corn flakes. Did the brewer derive inspiration from a Kelloggs box one morning? While that could theoretically work—brewers constantly seek that one magic ingredient—a brewer might not want the salt and vitamins routinely added to breakfast cornflakes. We’re thinking the corn flakes Boulevard uses resemble more the corn kernel, perhaps rolled like oats.
We feature here Boulevard’s Smokestack Series of ales. These ales show dramatic character and richness with alcohol commonly at 8% or more. As such, they most certainly side nicely with meals. Boulevard bottles its products in 4-packs of 12-ounce bottles, and in 750ml “single serving” bottles. Okay, just kidding about the “single serving” bit: be prepared to share these robust ales. Treat them like wine and serve in goblets or wine glasses to enjoy best the aromas and flavors. Because they are bottle-conditioned, these beers will respond well to modest aging, up to a year.
Long Strange Tripel
The term Tripel basically indicates a strong beer. If strong means a whopping powerhouse, then this is truly a Tripel. Big, sweet flavors with lots of malt and booming hops. We didn’t research what the ingredient honey naked oats is, it sounds so picturesque that it seemed as well to leave it at that
Tank 7 Pale Ale
Named for a cantankerous piece of equipment, but there is nothing cantankerous about the beer. Tank 7 delivers ripe maltiness and spicy hops, with an overall deliciousness you will want to share.
Sixth Glass Belgian Dark Strong Ale
Intense, engrossing, and wildly delicious. This beer won Gold at the Australia International Beer Awards—we understand there are some beer drinkers in Australia—and Bronze at the Great American Beer Fest. A rich and imposing beer.
Double Wide IPA
An IPA for those who can’t get enough hops. Rich and spicy the way it ought to be. Silver at the Australia International Beer Awards and Bronze at the New Zealand Beer Awards.
Dark Truth Stout
Chocolate malt, pale malt, wheat malt, malted rye, Boulevard clearly is aiming for a stoutly built stout. A stunning mélange of sweet, spicy, dark, rich flavors and aromas. Favorite Commercial Beer at the Bluebonnet Brew Off. No kidding.