Thursday, September 20, 2007

Getting in the Zōn with Boulevard - Part 2

As I've mentioned in earlier post, my friend Ryan recently brought back a bunch of beer from the Boulevard Brewing Co. in his boyhood home of Kansas City. Boulevard beer is an old favorite that's been out of my reach for quite a few years. I first tried Boulevard Irish Ale while I was in college and later tried the outstanding Bully! Porter. Since I've had these beers before, by good friend Ryan (who also enjoys Boulevard beer) brought back some of brew which haven't had the pleasure to taste. Tonight I'm tasting two beers from a mixed case that are both brewed with wheat.

First up is Zōn; a refreshing, straw-colored, cloudy wheat beer brewed with orange peel and coriander. According to the neck label on the bottle, Zōn is the Flemish word for Sun and this beer definitely is one to be enjoyed when it's hot and sun is shining. The nose is grassy and citric with very slight whiff of sour. The sip is lightly spicy, a touch bready and lightly spicy. I make certain to rouse the yeast at the bottom of the bottle in hopes of more complexity, but the character of the beer doesn't change much when more yeast is added to my glass. The mouthfeel is quite soft, with the wheat no doubt contributing to this character. The bitterness is very low (the Magnum and Simcoe hops the brewery says it uses in the beer must be added very sparingly) and this ale finishes slightly sweet and slick. This is a beer that is easy drinking, but I think it could be made better by being just a touch drier. Overall, Zōn is not bad Belgian-style wit (meaning: white or wheat) ale.

Next up we have Lunar Ale, a light brown wheat-accented ale with some ruby highlights. The aroma is fruity (I'm thinking figs), but there's a whiff of roasted coffee that is intriguing. At first glance I suspected that I'd be tasting something like a dunkelweizen or a weizenbock, but Lunar Ale is something a little different. The typical banana or clove German wheat beer yeast esters are absent (maybe a hint of clove), but the roasted coffee is what really grabs my attention. There's the caramel-wheat malt flavors of a dunkelweizen, but there is a roasted coffee accent that shows up again on the palate that I haven't tasted in other dunkelweizens. The yeast provides some tartness that makes this beer even more interesting. Finally, a fruity, but dry finish enhances the enjoyment of the beer and increases the drinkability.

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