Collaborations between brewers are a hot trend in the craft beer world. The idea is that two or more brewers get together and whip up a (usually limited edition) brew, with each brewer bringing their unique talents to the mix, and beer dorks across the world start the rare beer scramble, trying to get a bottle or two by purchase, trade, or piracy. I have had some wonderful beer collaborations, although the majority, while usually quite good, tend to be somewhat disappointing. I just expect fireworks when great brewers get together, but I guess not all collaborations can be as super-fantastically awesome as this collaboration:
Having already reviewed Boulevard’s Long Strange Tripel, let me review the other Boulevard Brewing beers that I have tried.
First up is the Boulevard Pale Ale. This beer was pale copper in color with a nice thick head. Not very aromatic, but it had a decent hops bitterness with some fruity sweetness added to the taste. It was medium bodied and smooth. All in all, a decent pale ale. If it was available around these parts, it would occasionally crack the starting lineup, though it will never replace the great Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. I give it a 6/10.
The Nutcracker Ale is Boulevard’s Christmas Beer. This poured a deep mahogany brown and had the aroma of blackstrap molasses. It was a slightly hoppier than most Christmas beers, and had a mild Star of Anise aftertaste. This is a full bodied beer to be sipped and savored. It was a good but not great Christmas beer, as the flavors did not really meld together, another 6/10.
The Single Wide IPA is my favorite of the group. It poured a pale amber, and had a fruity and flowery aroma. The beer had a mild hops bitterness, was crisp and dry on the palate and did not have any oak flavor that I could detect. I would probably call this a pale ale in a blind taste test, but Boulevard says it is an IPA, and I am not going to argue with them. As an IPA, it falls short of the mark, but as a pale ale, it is a winner, 7.5/10.
Kansas City’s Boulevard Brewing Company’ beers usually get great reviews, and they are not widely available in the Northeast, so when I saw some of their beers when I was visiting my sister and her family in Texas, I jumped on the opportunity to try as many as I could. The Long Strange Tripel is part of their SmokeHouse Series of limited edition beers. It is a dead certainty that one of the brewers is a Deadhead, and as you have probably guessed, this beer is a Belgian Tripel. Not being well versed in Belgian beers, I do not know if it is a faithful representation of the style. I do know that it was pale gold and cloudy, with a gorgeous foamy head that lasted to the bottom of the glass. The beer had a sweet and fruity aroma, mostly banana and apple. It had a pleasant malt and yeast flavor, with almost no hops bitterness. I generally like my beers hoppy, but this was an exception to that rule. The Long Strange Tripel grades out at a 7/10, and I have some other Boulevard beers coming up to be graded.