Friday, June 06, 2008

THE GREAT BOULEVARD SMOKESTACK SERIES TASTE-OFF

I was in Kansas City a few times this past year, and the local brewer of choice out there seems to be BOULEVARD BREWING. They appear to be the biggest of the hometowners, and if you recall our post about the Kansas City Royals game we attended last year, you’ll of course remember that Boulevard’s LUNAR ALE was a big hit with us (I’ve subsequently had it two more times as well). Well just this past month, BEER ADVOCATE magazine ran some reviews of Boulevard’s limited-run “Smokestack Series”, a collection of four 750ml corked bombers, generally focusing on bigger, more complex and higher-ABV beers. They are a Double IPA, a saison, a tripel, and (gasp) a quadrupel. I got all hopped-up & excited about this Smokestack Series and started looking for ways to “import” a bottle of each into California. Enter BW, a beer trader who just happened to be offering some up, and who was more than happy to get some LOST ABBEY and RUSSIAN RIVER treats in return. My pleasure! I just got these on Monday, and didn’t waste any time going to town on ‘em. Wednesday night there was a beer-off/tasting party that went down between four responsible adults. We only made it through 3 of them, and are saving the SIXTH GLASS QUADRUPEL for another day. Here’s what we thought of ‘em:

BOULEVARD SAISON: We decided to start with the lowest-ABV beer, the SAISON, which still clocked in at 6.2%. I believe it was the popular favorite. Very thin-bodied and yeast-redolent, while dispalying a rich, deep golden color in the glass. Like any Saison worth its weight, this one had a funky, earthy aftertaste, but was packed with flavor – and overall was pretty “normal”, and not bursting with complexity. One might even dare to call it refreshing. We loved it. 8/10.

BOULEVARD LONG STRANGE TRIPEL – Besting the Saison by a nose was this excellent tripel (it was my favorite of the three, but I was in the minority here). There’s even a hippie on the label (we were wondering if it was the fabled “Pigpen”). Just a sweet, creamy/malty, rich Belgian-style ale, punctuated with banana & even lemon flavors, and hiding its high ABV quite well. Very drinkable and just what I was hoping for from these guys. 8.5/10.

BOULEVARD DOUBLE-WIDE IPA – Oh well, nobody’s perfect, right? This big-ass double IPA reminded me of the alcohol bomb DOUBLE DADDY put out by SPEAKEASY that I don’t like. Too much alcohol, that hot “fusel” taste that negates any hoppy goodness going on – in fact this also had a strange and not entirely enjoyable aftertaste that I couldn’t get into. Maybe they were going for some sorta experiment in boundary-pushing with this one, but not on my dime, guys! 5/10.

Like I said, we’ll complete the quartile and report on THE SIXTH GLASS when we get around to drinking it. Tonight, and perhaps for several nights, we rest.

1 comment:

Mark said...

where can you buy the smoke stack series?