If you’re lucky or unlucky enough to have to travel as part of your job, you’re undoubtedly had to negotiate the minefield of whether or not to hang out with your co-workers after the work day is complete. You’re both stuck in a strange, unfamiliar city, you both need to eat dinner (and maybe drink), and yet you barely know each other and despite just having spent the entire day together working. Sometimes one of you (say, ME) is male and married, and the other of you is female and unmarried, or vice-versa. Sometime you totally dig hanging out with each other (and it’s a no-brainer to hang out), sometimes you can’t stand each other, and most times you’re just indifferent. I once traveled all the time with a guy, a real over-talkative, super-Christian, nerdy dude, and I had to concoct all sorts of ouch-my-stomach-hurts-and-I’m-so-tired excuses to get out of dinner together, and I would then take a cab to the opposite end of town so I could have dinner without being spotted and thereby violating the traveling-together code of ethics. You gotta do what you gotta do, right? Most of the time I’m just fine with my companions, and I’ll do what I can to corral them to a local brewery if they show even the slightest interest.
Anyway, I’m new at my current job, and my two very cool female Kansas City co-travelers & I negotiated the aforementioned minefield by having a simple after-work drink last week in the midst of the hustle and bustle of Overland Park, Kansas. One, who actually is a local in those parts, picked a watering hole called PJ McGillicuddy’s or something like that, and not wanting to show my beer-dork cards too early, I happily went along. 10 beers later, I…..no, not really. I was able to scare up a beer I’d never had from BOULEVARD BREWING, who are the undisputed heavyweights of the Kansas City brewing scene. Their beer is everywhere, kinda like Anchor Stream is everywhere in San Francisco. My pick was their PALE ALE, and it was a very malty, refreshing after-work beverage. This beer is what “pale ale” used to be in the 1990s – a fairly undistinguished, lighter, and far-less-hopped beer than the hoppy, intense pale ales you especially get on the West Coast. Pale Ales to me used to be “starter ales”, now they are right up there with IPAs and Belgian-Style ales as part of the main show. This one was good: 6.5/10.
So there I was at 6:30pm with a night in the Kansas City area all to myself. Co-workers had to go back to their hotels & homes to “work” or something. I decided, “what the hell, let’s go see the last-place KANSAS CITY ROYALS in their own yard!”, and drove out to the ballpark. There, awaiting my arrival, were two more examples of BOULEVARD BREWING’s prowess. First up was their UNFILTERED WHEAT. I had this beer with a spicy ballpark chicken sandwich, and unfortunately, like the food, it too was a bit on the spicy, won’t-go-down-easy side. I found this beer had a real aggro bite, and yeah, it was a totally unfiltered, cloudy whirlwind of wheat, but I didn’t find it to be all that refreshing or conducive to the occasion. I’m going with 5.5/10, and maybe next time I’ll try it in different environs. Good thing the night was saved by the outstanding BOULEVARD LUNAR ALE. Yeah-hup for this one!! Loved it. A reddish-brown ale, really almost like an “Imperial Amber” to my taste, one that reminded me of a more bitter BOONT AMBER (though it’s only 13 IBUs). Beer Advocate calls it an “American Dark Wheat Ale”, and readers have it rated down at the low end of the spectrum. Say what? In any event, this was an aggressive, malt-forward, delicious amber ale, and I looked for it in vain the next day to take home with me. If you’re in the “Show-Me” state anytime soon, ask ‘em to show you some of this. 8.5/10.