Collaboration or just speculation?

If you were lucky enough to be in attendance last Monday for Barley's Beer School you may have heard that the third installment of the Beer School series will feature guest speakers Steven Pauwels and Jean-Marie Rock. Pauwels, of course, is the Brewmaster at Boulevard and Rock is his counterpart at a Trappist Brewery at the Orval Monastery in Belgium. Pauwels seems like an obvious choice as a speaker since it's just a twenty minute drive to Barley's for him, but Jean-Marie Rock has a bit more of a commute.

You might be asking yourself, "Man, Belgium seems so awesome... why would this guy leave Orval to come teach Midwesterners about beer? Ain't it against a Monk's religion to fly in an airplane anyways?" Well, for starters you're thinking of the Amish and they don't really drink beer. Secondly, it sounds like this visit is a dual purpose one... KC Hop Head, who was at the last Beer School event, says that Rock and Pauwels are collaborating on a new beer that will carry a Boulevard label when it's finished.

Now you might be wondering why the Brewmaster of a world renowned brewery like Orval would choose Boulevard to collaborate with. Well, one reason is that Boulevard makes solid beers. Their Belgian style beers, like Two Jokers and Sixth Glass, are particularly good. This is due, in no small part, to Pauwels who came to Boulevard from Belgium about a decade ago. Apart from the obvious parallels here, you can imagine the Monks back in Orval probably aren't particularly keen on innovation, so it would make sense for Rock to look elsewhere if he were interested in trying something new, and who better to team up with but a fellow Belgian?

So, if KC Hop Head is to be believed, it sounds like we'll be seeing at least one new Orval inspired Boulevard beer in the not too distant future. On the other hand the entire thing could fall apart and all we get is yet another Saison release.

Either way, I hope I've whetted your appetite for a Boulevard/Orval collaboration beer. Personally, I'm hoping for an Oud Bruin sour brown ale and I'm dubbing this Project Boulorvald. Catchy isn't it? Anyway, mark your calendar for October, 26th - that's when part three of Barley's Beer School will be held. Hopefully there will be more info in the meantime.

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