“It’s almost like a green flavor,” Boulevard Brewmaster Steven Pauwels says of Last Splash. “It’s not punch you in the face with hops, but it’s more subtle. It’s green and fresh. When we tried the Nugget hop out in the fields, it was pretty interesting. There was almost a peach note to it and I think that comes out in the beer a little bit.”
For Pauwels, this marks a return to his early days a brewer. While working at a brewpub in Belgium two decades ago, he used wet hops (freshly picked hops) for dry hopping (when hops are added near the end of the brew cycle to add in flavor and/or aroma). The Nugget hops used for Last Splash, were recently picked in the Yakima Valley.
“You get way more flavor when you use them as fresh hops. It keeps the oil in the hops,” Pauwels says. “Whereas when you boil them in the kettle, all those oils disappear.”
The new Backroads brew checks in at 7 percent ABV and 44 IBUs (between Pale Ale and Single Wide). Last Splash also signals a change for Boulevard’s Nutracker Ale — a brew that’s been wet hopped since 2001.
“Nutcracker will be a winter warmer. We’re taking the wet hops out of it, although it will still be dry hopped,” Pauwels says. “It will still be Nutracker like you know it, just missing that green characteristic.”