Sunday, September 16, 2007

Up and down the Boulevard (of) beers - Part 1

I used to drink Boulevard beer a lot starting about 12 years ago when I as a college student in Western Illinois. Boulevard Pale Ale is a respectable pale ale and I wish the Illinois distribution reached the Chicago area. Although the aroma reminded me a bit of Berghoff Pale Ale (which is brewed in Wisconsin and distributed in the Chicago area), I think Boulevard's pale ale is a bit more refined than the Berghoff and closer in taste and body to Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. The packaging is pretty refined; as this six-pack comes boxed with some nice artwork. The beer is described as bottle-conditoned, and I like that, as bottle-conditioned ales tend to have a bit more complexity than highly filtered ones. This golden pale ale starts pours with plenty of carbonation and a bright white head. I can't help but notice the hoppy, floral aroma. This beer has a good malt saltine cracker-like malt flavor, a slight fruitiness (almost like Juicy Fruit gum) with some pleasant tasting hops. The finish is bitter, but not powerfully so, with just enough hops to let you know you're drinking an American Pale Ale. Perhaps a bit thin for the style, which I suppose makes it a good pale ale for warm weather quaffing.

Boulevard Dry Stout is a tasty session ale of a stout. According to the brewery, the dry stout has the lowest alcohol by volume among all their beers. The stout pours with plenty of carbonation that forms an off-white head that settles to thin layer with a fine bead when roused. The aroma is full of dark chocolate with a touch charcoal. When warmed up close to room temperature, the Dry Stout is silky smooth. Wonderful dark chocolate and hints of espresso coat the tongue paving the way for a dry finish with roasted edge and solid bitterness. A fine stout indeed.

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