Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Boulevard gives the best presents

Boulevard is like the childless aunt and uncle you had when you were a kid. They give the BEST presents. (Although admittedly, as a really young girl, I didn't fully appreciate the Sergio Valente jeans my aunt gave me for my birthday one year. I could have only been 5 years old at the time.)

But Boulevard did better than Sergio Valente jeans. They gave beer bloggers a big Smokestake Series-sized bottle of a stout they are working on. It was available for pickup after 3 pm yesterday, and I lost track of time, as I am prone to do. I called their front desk at 5 minutes before 5 pm and begged Amy to wait a few minutes past 5 for me. I was there in 4 minutes. :) THANK YOU AMY!!

I really wanted to enjoy it while watching the debate last night, and graciously shared it with my husband. (I am not so gracious w/beer at times, so I felt I earned extra points for this.) The bottle included a note of thanks for blogging about Boulevard (of course) and some info about the brew contained within. It is a non-release brew that may become a Smokestack Series beer over time. It is based on an Imperial Russian Stout, fermented w/Belgian yeast, and contains a whole variety of hops, malted barleys, rye and oats. Imperial Russian Stout definition from BeerAdvocate:

Inspired by brewers back in the 1800's to win over the Russian Czar, this is the king of stouts, boasting high alcohol by volumes and plenty of malt character. Low to moderate levels of carbonation with huge roasted, chocolate and burnt malt flavours. Often dry. Suggestions of dark fruit and flavors of higher alcohols are quite evident. Hop character can vary from none, to balanced to aggressive.

It poured prettily, with a thick pillowy head that took some time to settle down. Good! It left lacing along the glass throughout. Good! It smelled like roasted goodness, with a healthy hint that this beer has teeth. I could tell it would be heavy in ABV from a sniff. It was 9%, which makes sense with the style. First sip was good, echoing the roasted, burnt smell, a little bitter, perhaps from a hops bite, and dry. Very dry. I kept associating the alcohol burn with the bitter taste, but I couldn't tell you if that is really what it WAS. I thought it was MUCH more bitter, bite-y, and dry in the first few sips. By the time we finished the bottle, I was really enjoying it, finding more sweet and roasted elements than harsh.

I really liked this beer. My husband REALLY liked this beer, and that doesn't always happen with ye old beer blog selections. More often than not, one glass is more than enough for him, but this time he wanted half of whatever was left. Which, again, graciously, I shared. I think it was the bite. He's always been a decent hop head, just not into Belgians, I suppose.

Thank you SO MUCH, friends at Boulevard. The Big Stout was awesome, and I am so happy to hear that you all are working on new artisan beers to add to the Smokestack Series over time. It was cool to be included in that process, even to a small degree.

Blogged with the Flock Browser