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11-05-05

Beer Review #310 Coffee Ale

11-05-05I’m not a coffee drinker in the slightest, but I love coffee beer. Odd right? Some say that coffee is an acquired tasted, like beer, but I often find it to be to harshly bitter and not suitable to my palate. When I saw Boulevard Brewing Company’s Coffee Ale on the shelves I knew that I had to try it. This beer is part of their Smokestack Series and the label proudly reads, “malt beverage brewed with coffee.” It also comes in at 9.3% for a bit of an extra kick.

The coffee ale pours a dark brown and has a nice tan head. I was expecting a black colored beer, but brown is okay with me. The beer pours very creamy and the head sits solid, but only goes to a medium thickness in the glass. The nose is rocked with strong coffee odors. I didn’t get any hops or heat in the aroma but a touch of sweetness can be found.

The taste, like the nose, is packed with coffee. It’s strong, in charge, and yells “Coffee BEER!” Outside of the dominating coffee there is a slight caramel sweetness but nothing else to make note of. Instead of hop bitterness, this beer relies on the coffee to do the job. And it does it well.

The mouthfeel is very light and not nearly as creamy as the pour suggested. As far as coffee beers go, this is one of the stronger coffee flavors that I have found. I still found it very drinkable and packed with flavor. I’m no coffee nut, but there is a nice bouquet of coffee flavors that really add interest to this one. I’m not versed in coffee enough to explain the flavors, but I found them enjoyable and not over the top. This is a good one to try if you like coffee beers. (more…)

Beer Review #267 Rye on Rye

02-02-03As the cold weather settles in again my body craves big beers. Boulevard Brewing Company promised to fill my cravings. Rye on Rye is part of their Smokestack Series and it comes in at an impressive 12% ABV. The bottle says that it is “33% ale, 67% ale aged in rye whiskey barrels.” I’m always wary of whiskey barrel aged beers as they can be hit or miss. The hits are usually good but the misses are pretty bad. The bottle label also says that there were only 4,123 cases of this beer produced.

Rye on Rye pours orangish brown and is slightly cloudy. It comes with a solid, slightly off-white head. The nose is packed with whiskey odors. There is also some spicy hop aromas mixed with tobacco. I didn’t notice a drop of heat (unless you count whiskey) which shocked the hell out of me.¬†Usually these types of beers are drenched in heat.

On the first taste I got a really nice sweet malt flavor that quickly transitioned into a nice whiskey. There are notes of tobacco to be found in there as well. There were not really any hops to make note of but the spiciness of the whiskey and rye malt combination came through on the end. One thing I love about this beer is that it warmed on the whole way down. The warming feeling was gentle and slowly increased in perceived intensity.

This beer currently takes the cake for being my favorite whiskey barrel aged beer. It is super smooth and balanced in every way. While the whiskey is noticeable, it highlights the other flavors. For a strong beer, it doesn’t present any upfront heat. My wife, who usually hates this style of beer, fell in love with it as well. This is one of the more outstanding beers that I have had in a long time. If you are lucky enough to get one of these, treasure it. I loved it and I hope that I can find another bottle soon. (more…)

Beer Review #257 Doublewide IPA

12-30-03For my last beer review of the year I decided to go after a big imperial IPA. Doublewide IPA from Boulevard Brewing Company rocks in at 8.5% ABV. The bottle says, “Relax. It’s twister proof.” A long time ago I was a meteorology major (my wife actually is a meteorologist) and tornadoes have a special place in our house. They scare the hell out of me and also fascinate me to no end. The bottle art on this beer is interesting to say the least. It’s a bit of a departure from their other Smokestack Series labels.

Doublewide IPA pours a nice clear orange color and has a white soapy head. For a high alcohol beer the head lasts a long time and never fully fades into the beer. The nose is packed with hops. Citrus and pine ring out of this one along with a little heat. I didn’t get any malt flavor, the hops really overpower everything else.

Unlike what the nose promises, there is a good amount of malt sweetness on the first taste. A really solid punch of hops comes in after that and cleans out any sweetness that was there. The hop flavors are very much like what the nose said they would be. The hops are clean and crisp and do not get muddled in with anything else going on in the beer. I didn’t get any heat in the beer, even as it warmed.

I really dig this beer. It’s super hoppy but very drinkable. Unlike some imperial IPAs that are loaded with hops and nothing else, this beer maintains a surprising balance. I really like this one and I would highly recommend it to anyone in the mood for some hops. (more…)

Beer Review #248 Sixth Glass Quadrupel Ale

I previously posted about Boulevard Brewing Company’s Smokestack Series coming to my local beer store. I’ve enjoyed most of their beers but until I had a Smokestack Series beer, I wouldn’t have gone back to them for much. That all changed when I had a chance to try some of their “special” beers. Sixth Glass Quadrupel Ale comes in at a wonderful 10.5% ABV and I hoped that it would fill my need to find a quality go-to quad.

This Belgian inspired beer pours a nice caramel brown with hints of orange coming through when held up to the light. The off-white head quickly dissolves back into the beer as expected of a beer with this amount of alcohol. The first thing I got off of the nose is heat. There is some light caramels in there along with a slight Belgian spice with fruit and melon. I was expected a bit more out of the nose but I also poured this one colder than it should have been, so some of the odors might have been masked.

The taste is really nice on this one. Smooth and dangerously drinkable. There is a fair amount of heat, but if you can get around it the Belgian spices sing and are wonderfully balanced. There is a lot of complexity to this beer. I went on a progression of heat and raisin to bready, yeasty notes.

I enjoyed this one a good bit. I’m not sure if I can call it a go-to quad, but it is pretty close. The flavor progression is very nice but the beer needs to be a little warmer for you to get the full offering of flavors. The balance was dead on. I can see myself getting this one again.

Beer Review #242 Long Strange Tripel

When I lived in Texas I had access to the typical Boulevard Brewing Company beers. Their Unfiltered Wheat was a staple in on of my friend’s beer machines (converted Pepsi machine… awesome). I was never a giant fan of that particular wheat beer but I did enjoy a number of their other beers. The only real problem that we had was in getting fresh beer. Lubbock, Texas isn’t exactly a craft beer haven and thus any craft beer that there was to be had was often mistreated.

They recently started distributing beer to my favorite beer store and I jumped at the chance to grab a few beers from their famed Smokestack Series. I grabbed three or four different brews, reviews coming, but today’s beer is Long Strange Tripel. This was my summer of Belgian beers so it made sense to try this on out first.

Long Strange Tripel comes in at an impressive 9.0% ABV. It pours a brilliant gold with a fluffy white head. There is not haze in this tripel. The nose is a great balance of Belgian yeast spice and sweetness. There are some really nice hints of dried fruits in there that I normally don’t notice in a tripel.

This beer begins with a nice soft malt flavor that quickly leads into a peppery spice. There are all types of Belgian spice and I genuinely enjoy most of them, but pepper by itself is not one that I care much for. I like when the pepper mixes with the other normal Belgian notes but by when it has to stand on its own, I find it to be a bit of a strange flavor to go with a beer. The aftertaste is very earthy, almost dirt-like. Love it.

This is an excellent tripel but not one of my favorites. The spice notes are a bit to strong for my liking and take away from the rest of the beer. Don’t get me wrong, this is an above average tripel, it’s juts not my cup of tea. (more…)