Around this time last year, the question was, ‘what’s next for the Boulevard Brewing Company?’ The answer arrived yesterday with the release of the brewery’s 2015 calendar. Duvel Mortgaat’s acquisition of Boulevard will have one relatively immediate consequence: more beer.
Delving into the release schedule, Boulevard has 12 new beers slated to hit the market next year. Heavy Lifting IPA will be a new year-round offering, while The Calling IPA will be a year-round Smokestack Series brew. While they haven’t yet announced details on those two beers, the Kansas City-based brewery has recently been pursuing more hop forward brews. Last Splash — a wet-hopped pale ale on the market now is just the latest example.
With the core seasonals, a few beers got the call for the starting lineup. Hibiscus Gose (read the story here of its creation from brewer Alex Rodriguez) — the salty, pink-hued sour from this summer — will return in 2015 and Ginger-Lemon Radler, a beer from the tasting room mixed 12-pack, will be available for the first time in stand-alone six packs.
Boulevard will continue to draw inspiration from its tasting room where Funky Pumpkin debuted as a slightly sour, tart spice beer.
“There are a lot of pumpkin beers, but I think [brewmaster] Steven [Pauwels] has never been very interested in doing what everybody else is doing,” brewer Jeremy Danner says. “Funky Pumpkin is about the pie spices, nutmeg, allspice. It’s got the traditional spices, but it’s our spin on it with acidity and some slight funk.”
The other new core seasonal is Spring Belle Saison (slated for March/April 2015). And while Danner knows that drinkers locally will inevitably draw comparisons to Perennial Artisan Ales’ Saison De Lis, a Belgian-style Saison brewed with chamomile flowers, he believes that Boulevard’s house yeast and other ingredients will ensure that Spring Belle is distinct.
“We wanted to marry the crisp citrus from a Saison with floral notes. We impart those notes with rose petals and rose hips and chamomile and elderflower,” Danner says. “We’re being true to Boulevard fashion. It’s not a flower bomb, it’s just about celebrating spring.”
For its Smokestack specialty brews (think of them as seasonal Smokestack releases), there will be a quartet of Imperial Stout X releases, Collaboration No. 5 and Love Child No. 5 and 6.
“Our sour barrel collection has grown quite a bit,” Danner says of the plan to drop a pair of Love Child brews. “We have enough for two releases if we want to do that.”
Boulevard’s entire barrel aged program has grown under the stewardship of brewer Dustin Jamison. The next step involves experimenting with Imperial Stout (on shelves now). Only two of the four Imperial Stout X brews for 2015 have been identified, a coffee stout and a beer aged in rum barrels.
“The Imperial Stout X Coffee will be infused with Ethiopian Sidamo from the Roasterie, the same coffee we used for Coffee Ale,” Danner says. “People are doing tequila barrels and rum barrels, it’s not just Scotch and wine. We want to see how those coffee, chocolate and roasty flavors come out when the beer is aged in rum barrels. The goal is to be a straight barrel-aged beer and showcase the Imperial Stout. This is more about enhancing something than changing the beer in a way you wouldn’t recognize.”