The fine folks at Boulevard made a mistake. They sent us at the KC Beer Blog an email promising a tasty treat as a thank you for writing about them in the past. It would be like Jessica Alba telling me thank you for taking the time to make sweet sweet love to her. What else are we going to do? We're the KC Beer Blog.
Anyway I made arrangements to get 2 special treats, one for Wes and one for me and went over to Boulevard. Unlike Beer Girl who lost track of time, I showed up at 3:01 (one minute after Becca said it would be available) and picked up our 2 treats. It turns out that the treat wasn't bottles of the new Saison-Brett, it was 2 bottles of an experimental Boulevard Smokestack beer they're calling "Big Stout", an imperial stout weighing in at 9% ABV.
I was so afraid driving home that someone was going to t-bone me and ruin my 2 beautiful bottles. I called Wes and told him of our bounty and set up a meeting of the bloggers. We decided to drink Big Stout and watch the big debate.
Wes showed up at la manse de Vard a little early at an hour that is commonly referred to as Bull's hell hour (7, when the kids are picking up toys and getting ready for bed). While I was kid wrangling, Wes sat down and watched "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia", a show he'd neither seen nor heard of. Within 2 minutes his eyes were wider than Chimpotle's pants. The discussion of the workings of a glory hole amazed and fascinated Wes and was a good precursor to the Presidential debate. By the time the hour was over he declared that he was going to get the previous season's DVD's because it's the greatest show ever.
We popped the first cork at around 7:45 (3 hours in the refrigerator, giving it a good cellar temperature) after the kids had been wrangled off into their rooms to play. I used my set of Smokestack glassware for the stout (obviously). The beer poured out a dark brown with a medium sized creme colored head. The smell was a strong roasted malt that was quite pleasant. Our first taste of the Big Stout, however, was not that great. It had a light mouthfeel and finished with a tinny metal taste that made me think I had lined the glasses with pennies. Wes wondered if they screwed up a batch and decided to give it out to people they hated. I may be overstated the case because we certainly weren't ready to chuck the bottles, but we were definitely concerned. But, by the time the debate started and we had had a couple of drinks, the tinny taste was not around. In fact, the flavors got a lot better with a hoppy bitterness nicely balancing out the alcohol flavor a high ABV beer typically has. The roasted flavors also played nicely with all the other flavor notes.
While we watched the debate, we joined in The D's debate chatroom and effectively mixed barbs with biting criticisms. Okay, that was a lie, we mostly made jokes about us being nude while drinking together, but we intended to make biting criticisms of the candidates. We quickly polished off the first bottle and popped cork on bottle 2 at about 8:35. At 9 (when minutes are free, Wes informed me) Wes made a booty call to his hooch in Niagara Falls.
When Stella got home, she asked for a taste. She typically dislikes stouts so I didn't think there would be much chance of her liking this one. But she did, a lot. So if Boulevard decides to pull the trigger on this one, I'll at least have a high ABV buddy to help me down one of these fifths of beer.
At the end of the night, with the beer and John McCain's chances of being President all gone, I was sad to see one of them go. The Big Stout is very nearly the opposite of John McCain's career, bad at the beginning and fabulous at the end.
One other note about the Big Stout, I'm sure they haven't spent a ton of time coming up with the name, but Big Stout is a paltry effort. If they decide to go with this one, I would suggest an alliterative name such as the Smokestack Stout Shout.
Thanks to Becca at Boulevard for thinking of us. I hope they keep us in mind for any other brews they want to test out. In the meantime, I'll just have to find and enjoy a Saison-Brett or two.