I'm still holding out hope that this isn't the only beer that comes out of the BLVD/Orval collaboration. With visions of wild Belgian yeast dancing in my head I can only imagine how awesome it'd be to have a Boulorvald Oud Bruin. Or just think of how delicious a sour Unfiltered Wheat would be... Man, I can almost taste the yeast now.
Here's the official press release in non-PDF format:
KANSAS CITY, Mo., October 9, 2009 – Boulevard Brewing Company today announced that Jean-Marie Rock, brewmaster at Orval, the renowned Trappist brewery located in southern Belgium, will team up with Boulevard brewmaster Steven Pauwels to create a small production, limited release beer. The joint effort, a first for the Midwestern craft brewery, will take place during Rock’s late October visit to Boulevard’s Kansas City facility.
The brewers, both native Belgians, will produce an Imperial Pilsner similar to a lager brewed by Rock at the start of his career. It will, according to Pauwels, be a tribute to Pilsner beers; full flavored and refreshing, brewed with 100% Pilsner malt and 100% Saaz hops, using time-honored techniques.
“The beer will be made in a very traditional way,” said Rock. “The methods by which it will be brewed, fermented, and lagered are no longer employed, though they made this beer fantastic. It is time to get a beer like this back in a glass.”
For his part, Pauwels is thrilled by the chance to work with his notable colleague. “In this, Boulevard’s first collaborative effort, we are pleased to honor a brewer who has had such an enormous influence on me and on so many other craft brewers. Jean-Marie mastered dry hopping and brewing with wild yeast long before craft brewers began experimenting with the techniques here in the U.S.”
The beer, to be packaged in 750ml bottles as part of Boulevard’s Smokestack Series, is expected to be available in January, and will be distributed through Boulevard’s wholesaler network.
About Boulevard Brewing Company
Boulevard Brewing Company has grown to be the largest specialty brewer in the Midwest, dedicated to the craft of producing fresh, flavorful beers using traditional ingredients and the best of both old and new brewing techniques. Boulevard’s portfolio of six year-round and five seasonal beers are available in a 17-state region stretching from Utah to Alabama, and from North Dakota to Texas.
Brewers Fact Sheet
Jean-Marie Rock, Brewmaster, Orval
As brewmaster for one of the world’s most revered and recognizable beers, Jean-Marie Rock is responsible for maintaining a centuries-old brewing tradition in an era of constant global change. The Trappist beers of Orval have retained a unique position of honor for many years, as trends in brewing and – and in beer drinking – have come and gone. Since joining the brewery in 1985, Rock has remained committed to investing in technology to improve the beer’s quality,
without compromising its remarkable character.
A 1972 graduate of Vrije Universiteit in Brussels, Rock holds a degree in Brewing
Engineering. He later earned an MBA from Université Catholique de Louvain in Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium. Rock’s career began at Palm Breweries in Steenhuffel, Belgium where he worked from 1972 to 1980. He then spent five years with Lamot Brewery in Mechelen before joining Orval in 1985.
Steven Pauwels, Brewmaster, Boulevard Brewing Company
During his decade at Boulevard Brewing Company, Steven Pauwels has overseen all aspects of brewing and quality control as the regional craft brewer’s sales have more than tripled, to over 143,000 barrels in 2009. Pauwels is also responsible for 13 additions to Boulevard’s brand lineup, including the critically acclaimed Smokestack Series line of artisanal beers.
Pauwels grew up steeped in the brewing industry. His first stint in the business came with summer work at his hometown brewery, Eeklo’s Brouwerij Krüger, where his father held a job. After receiving degrees in Biochemical Engineering from KaHo Sint-Lieven and in Business Administration from Mercator, both in Ghent, Belgium, he held positions at the Domus brewpub in Louvain and at RIVA brewery in Dentergem.
The transplanted brewmaster has received international recognition for his beers, most recently in the form of a gold medal at the 2009 Great American Beer Festival for Boulevard’s summer seasonal, ZŌN Belgian-style Witbier.