Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Boulevard to Release Love Child #2
In the beginning, Boulevard's beers were primarily the approachable sort of beer styles ideal for introducing mainstream beer drinkers to the wonders of the craft beer alternative. Brands like Unfiltered Wheat and Pale Ale helped build the craft beer market not only in Kansas City, but throughout the Midwest. We may take Boulevard's heritage brands for granted today, but 23 years ago they were revolutionary and we shouldn't forget that. But as the craft beer industry matured and our palates developed, we wanted more and Boulevard delivered, creating the Smokestack Series to introduce more aggressive, cutting edge beers to its portfolio. Then Single Wide IPA and Pilsner and Amber Ale and the Collaborations and an expanded 12pk selection and the Smokestack Seasonals and Limited Releases came around and Boulevard's lineup exploded. But there was just one thing missing. An increasing number of Midwestern beers drinkers were simultaneously discovering the glorious world of sour beers and the frustration that comes with getting your hands on them. And then, as if on cue, we started hearing about Boulevard's experiments with sour beers. Well, now they're here and I couldn't be more excited. Let's hope the reaction to this beer is so overwhelmingly positive that it not only convinces Boulevard to expand its sour program, but to also give Two Jokers another chance (maybe market it as a sour beer?). #TeamTwoJokers @TwoJokers
Like other Boulevard beers, the Love Child Series has spent a long time in the testing phase, but with Love Child #2 Boulevard finally has the enough volume to share Love Child with the general public. The first batch of Love Child, Love Child #1, produced less than 1000 bottles worth of beer. Understandably, the brewery wanted to wait until they had a larger batch to officially kick off the series so Love Child #1 was judiciously shared at beer festivals and other industry events. Love Child #2 may be a larger batch, but this is a barrel aged beer and a sour beer at that, so bottles will not last long despite a shelf price that figures to be around $20 per bottle. If your regular store didn't get any Saison Brett last week, odds are they won't get any Love Child #2 next week. This limited release will be reserved for Boulevard's top accounts for Smokestack beer sales, but if you are reading this blog odds are those are the stores you're already shopping at anyway.
For more details on Love Child #2, I'm going to share a quote from Steven Pauwels I blatantly stole from a post on Beer Advocate:
"Love Child #2 is a blend of sour beer aged in oak barrels and sour beer aged in stainless [steal]. We used 41 barrels (the majority were wine barrels but used whiskey and port barrels were also part of the blend) with a range of different base beers aged for 16 to 57 months. The sour beer in stainless is a beer called 'red' that is specifically brewed for the Love Child beers. Our brewers spend a Saturday afternoon tasting all the barrels to come up with the blend for Love Child #2. The beer in a bottle of Love Child #2 is on average two years old by now. We currently have close to 100 barrels and a stainless tank waiting for the next version. Barrels get tasted on a regular basis and when we have another series of barrels ready we hope to release the next Love Child. It is not our goal to make the Love Child beers the same every time but to make the best blend of what we have available. Love Child beers will change with aging. I recommend drinking the beer now as I believe that the flavor blend is now at its peak." - emphasis my own
It looks like the hype-masters from Boulevard's massive marketing department had some fun writing the copy for Love Child, you can read their description here:
The Love Child Series
Drawn by an attraction that would not be denied, malted barley and hops danced a hot zymurgy tango in our cozy little brew kettle. As their passion fermented, they were overcome by the seductive lure of bourbon barrels until finally…well, good taste prevents us from going further, but the evidence is plain: a Love Child was born. Luckily for us, the relationship eventually soured, and we were left with these rare, remarkable beers.
Boulevard's Love Child Series of "wild" ales are barrel-aged with such boisterous cultures as Lactobaccillus and Brettanomyces. These wayward offspring can prove so complex that we employ gauges on the label to convey the intensity of three key personality traits, Funk, Sour, and Fruit, presenting a picture of the ale at the time it was released. It will change as it ages, but don't we all?
Love Child No. 2
Sour characteristics come to the fore in this release, foreshadowed by the tart, winey aroma. Notes of cherry, chocolate, olive brine, and leather give way to a subtle hint of funk and a dry, clean finish. ABV will be 9.6%
As if this post wasn't long enough, I do have some other Boulevard updates to mention: Zon, Boulevard's Summer Seasonal and Single Wide IPA 12pks are both now available. Long Strange Tripel 4pks complete with an updated label should be coming soon, but no date has been set. Collaboration #3 is tentatively scheduled for late July, 80 Acre Hoppy Wheat 6pks are slotted for early August with Reverb Imperial Pilsner due in mid August. These are just estimates, but at least it gives you some idea when to expect these new products to arrive. Cheers!