Friday, July 22, 2011

Belgian Style Beers — Boulevard Brewing vs. Boulevard Brewing

Boulevard Brewing Co.
Smokestack Series Saison

ABV 6.2%

Color: Hazy yellow.
Aroma: Rich, sweet malts with slight mustiness.
Flavor: Citrus and mild grain.
Hops vs. Malts
(Hoppy, Malty or Balanced):
Finish: Mild bitterness turning to moderate bitterness.
Overall (Fantastic, Good, Mediocre or Bad): Good +

Boulevard Brewing Co.
Smokestack Series
Two Jokers Double-Wit
(Brewed with Cardamom, Coriander, Orange Peel, Lavender and Grains of Paradise)
ABV 8%

Hazy orangish yellow. 
Aroma: Clean lemony hops and spicy herbs.
Flavor: Refreshing citrus at first turning to rich, complex and tart.
Hops vs. Malts (Hoppy, Malty or Balanced): Balanced
Finish: Tart and lemony.
Overall (Fantastic, Good, Mediocre or Bad): Good +

Blow by Blow 
These two beers are both from Boulevard Brewing in Kansas City, Missouri. We found them on sale at the Harry & David store and decided to match them up against each other to see if we like what they're doing out in KC.

It turned out to be a tight battle. Both beers came prepared and really delivered. The Saison wasn't as funky and barnyardy as some of the classic Belgians, but it had a well balanced simplicity with a mild hop presence that was a pleasure to drink and went well with our dinner. The Double-Wit had us confused at first because we really liked it but couldn't really pinpoint any distinct flavors or aromas. The combination of the spices in the beer ended up giving it a pleasant herbal spiciness with no one spice dominating the others. It was also very refreshing and tart which made sense after we read the back and found out that they had used some lactic fermentation.

When it came time to cast our votes we were not in agreement. Ellen chose the more aggressively flavored Double-Wit and I went with the mild and easy-drinking Saison. But, honestly, they were both so good that it could have easily been the other way around. After this battle we will definitely keep our eye out for new Boulevard Brewing releases in the future.

Draw: Ellen chose the Two Jokers, I chose the Saison.

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