Sunday, November 18, 2007

Guest Blager #1: P-Mart

P-Mart is one of two best friends from college. We attended school at Iowa State University, and discovered the world of microbrewing there. Paul even made at least one batch of homebrew, if I remember correctly, and shared some just before U2's stadium concert there on the Achtung Baby tour. I don't remember it all that well. And the U2 show was just okay. The TV part of it wasn't working.

P-Mart sent me a link to the Boulevard website last week and said he had picked up two of these sumbitches. Check out the first review:

Boulevard Double-Wide IPA
750 ml $7.99

Boulevard brewery out of Kansas City has been making great beers since their initial pale ale was released in 1989. they have just recently release what they are calling their "smokestack series" of beers. these are specialty craft brews made in limited releases. they are distributed in 750 ml wine bottles, with a champagne style cork. it's immediately apparent from the packaging that these are intended to be special brews. there are three other releases besides the IPA; a tripel, a quadrupel, and a saison. find out more info here.

The color of the IPA is an extraordinarily deep amber-copper. it's got a solid, stable head. the aromatics give a hint of the hoppiness inside, but are not overwhelming. In fact, I would not have identified this as an IPA at first taste. The hops are definitely in there, but this beer has a full, more complex taste than the IPA's that I'm used to (some of my favorites are red hook and sierra nevada). As dense, complex, and rich as it is, it's eminently drinkable. it has a completely full mouth feel without being overly heavy. Balance is the key, this beer is loaded with hops (5 different types) but they are countered by the right amount of malt to bring everything together. The alcohol by volume is at an appropriate 8.5%, you'll be feeling fine after settling in with that big bottle. At 8 dollars, I consider this a good value as well, given everything that goes into this beer.

I can't say enough good things about this beer, in all honesty I think it's one of the finest I have ever tasted. The quality, care, respect and passion this beer conveys represents the ideal of craft brewing. I agree completely with Jez on the merits of supporting your local brewery, but I have to tell you to search this beer out. Boulevard has just recently undergone a big expansion and is growing it's distribution network, so look for it in your area.

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