It would be nice to say that I wasn't drunk/hungover when I got to the Boulevard tour on Saturday morning. But, the previous evenings activities at the Saucer and the bottle of wine Stella and I shared that night had taken its toll. I was joined on the tour by Wes and pals o' the blog, Chambord, Weston, Ward Parkway and Bacchus Barleycorn as well as a bachelor party of 17, a family and 3 or 4 couples.
I had never been on the tour before, I'm not much of a planner and the fact that you have to make reservations pretty much means that I'm not going to take the tour very often. But Wes and the gang are old hands at the tour, going every other month or so. But, you know, I'm one step ahead of the gang because I've actually tea bagged their Nutcracker Ale this season.
I enjoyed the fun spiel about how Boulevard got started as well as the movie. The actual tour wasn't that informative since I'm not a brewer I had trouble following through the process. The movie did a good job of explaining the process but the tour didn't really correspond to the brewing steps in the video. But, I was hungover so I could be wrong. Below is the new bottling line, for those that have been on the tour before, this is where the basketball court used to be.
Finally the fun was to begin, drinking. Wes, Chambord and Bacchus Barleycorn were chosen to taste test some pilsners for some Boulevard market research. While I volunteered for the gig I'm pretty glad I wasn't chosen because they only got to drink 4 shot glasses of beer and then had to write down their thoughts on each of them. Bacchus Barleycorn was pretty sure one of the beers they tried was Bud Light. I believe I would have had to spew.
But down in the regular visitors center, Weston, Ward Parkway and myself put on a drinking display. We each started with the Saison (of the Boulevard Smokestack Series) and it was better than I remembered. I wanted to try the pilsner so I did and was pretty impressed by it. Pilsners aren't usually my cup of tea, but this Boulevard one was pretty tasty. Weston said that it tasted like the Miller Lite but on a whole different level of greatness. I suppose that's about right, it was really good but at the end of the day you're just drinking a pilsner. I hope they don't make the pilsner the new addition to the lineup.
The three of us were switching between Saisons and Bob's 47's and started discussing the funny. We relived the scene from "Wedding Crashers" where VV discusses motorboating. I proclaimed it the funniest 10 seconds of cinema ever (that's right I called "Wedding Crashers" cinema, what are you going to do about it? That's what I thought). Weston quickly recalled that his favorite 10 seconds was the first part of Gilbert Gottfried's part of the Bob Saget roast where he says that Bob Saget killed a young girl in 1989. I also regaled them with my favorite tale of the past 24 hours, the George Brett poops his pants regularly story. I really couldn't tell enough people about it.
Wes, Chambord and Bacchus Barleycorn got done with their slave labor and joined us in the visitors center. By this time, Weston had wandered off and Ward Parkway and I were starting to feel some effects. Wes, Chambord and Barleycorn got themselves a drink and went over to the gift shop area. Parkway and I started discussing the utility of the little glasses they gave us for our beer samples. I told him that when we were at the Coppola winery the wine wench told Stella and I that Francis likes to drink his table wine from a glass similar to the ones Boulevard gave us. We even bought a set of glasses from Coppola that I use for table wine at the Bull E. Vard mansion. Then I got an indication of how in the bag that Parkway was when he said that his grandfather used a similar glass as an "orange glass juice". This amused me to no end, we'd only had about 10 ounces of beer and Parkway can't even make it through common phrases. It was probably so funny to me, though, because I was pretty much in the bag as well.
Our wonderful 30 minutes of free beer finally expired and we went outside to discuss where we were going. The group wasn't moving fast enough for my tastes (I was ready to drink some more) so I performed the gayest act since I suck.. err since I used to get dudes to buy me drinks at Kelly's by flitting my eyelashes. I did a quick staccato clap and said "let's decide quickly". I was immediately mortified by my actions. But, it got appropriate results, we decided to pile in Weston's SUV and go to Ponak's where the first Boulevard keg was sold.
We walked in and sat in the bar. Ponak's had Bob's 47 and Wheat on tap. We got a couple of pitchers of Bob's and one of Wheat. Then the six drunks went on a chips and salsa rampage. Ward Parkway and I couldn't get enough salt on our chips as you can probably see from the picture (do you see the shape). Chambord decided to mix the hot green salsa with the fairly bland red salsa and made a pretty good hot sauce mix.
We were a bit rowdy, but there weren't many people in the bar. Parkway told Chambord that their family (they're related donchaknow) was expecting her to be the one to have twins since they have twins in their family. Weston, Chambord's fiance, exclaimed pretty loudly that they won't be having twins since they only have anal sex. Then Weston turned and apologized to the bartender. It was a truly funny moment. I think we ate about 10 baskets of chips and a couple of different appetizers.
Overall, it was a fun morning that I don't think can be duplicated. Boulevard is pretty generous with the samples and it's fun to see the hometown brewery. The fine folks at Boulevard also show you a pretty good time and don't take it too seriously. They know that people are there to have fun and drink some great beer. So what are you waiting for, go and make a reservation. You may get lucky (or unlucky, if you prefer) and be joined by Wes, Weston, Chambord, Barleycorn or myself.
Boulevard Brewing Company currently offers the following free public tours (reservations are required):
* Sundays at 1 p.m and 3 p.m.
* Wednesdays at 3 p.m.
* Thursdays at 1 p.m and 3 p.m.
* Fridays at 1 p.m and 3 p.m.
* Saturdays at 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.