Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Big Changes with Boulevard's 2017 Release Calendar

Boulevard has published their official 2017 beer release calendar and they are making some huge changes to the lineup this year. A few very long-time beers are being discontinued, and a bunch of new ones are coming online. Overall, Boulevard will be releasing 39 beers throughout the year, up from 36 last year. At any given time, you should be able to find more than 20 different Boulevard beers on the shelves next year.
Boulevard's 2017 Release Calendar (Click the image to see full size)

Beers Gone but not Forgotten

Leading the pack for massive changes to the lineup are the death of Long Strange Tripel, Dark Truth Stout, and Chocolate Ale. Yes, you heard that right--Chocolate Ale is gone forever. Long Strange Tripel was one of the four original Smokestack beers back in 2007, Dark Truth has been in the core Smokestack lineup since 2010, and, well, we all know about Chocolate Ale.

To be honest, I won't much miss Dark Truth--I never really understood the beer. I guess it was supposed to be something like Belgian inspired imperial stout, but it never really did it for me. On the other hand, I think that Long Strange Tripel was one of Boulevards best beers and was one of my favorites. However, it probably just bore too many similarities to Tank 7, and with that beer being so great, I can see how Long Strange could be eclipsed.

And...Chocolate Ale. Poor reviled and beloved Chocolate Ale. Last year Boulevard quietly released Chocolate Ale with Raspberry about a month sooner than expected. This year, it's gone altogether. I know that people had a love it or hate it attitude--I personally enjoyed the beer every year (although I rarely had it bottled for what it's worth). But being that it was pretty much the only beer that the mainstream media ever reported on in KC, I can't imagine the reasoning behind killing it. In any case, I'm pretty disappointed that we won't be seeing it anymore, even as many of you out there might be cheering.

I'm also massively disappointed to see Tell Tale Tart go. It had a short run, but was was one of my favorite Boulevard beers of all time. I felt that it had just the right mix of flavor and sourness for my pallet. I'm bummed that it's gone, but maybe I won't be sad once I try Show Me Sour. Other beers not making the cut for the 2017 roster are the short lived Tripel Julep, Deep Dive, Funky Pumpkin (although Funkier Pumpkin remains), and the Imperial Stout X series (which it appears is being replaced with a Rye-on-Rye X series)

New Beers for the New Year

One very bright spot for me in this new lineup is Zon. Boulevard officially killed Zon last year, only to resurrect it last minute this summer, and now they're officially recognizing it as a seasonal to be released in the midwest only. Zon is one of my favorite summer beers, and would have hated to see it go. So if it's only released in the Midwest, then that's fine with me!

Another exciting addition to the list is Show Me Sour, which was a collaboration with Side Project for Boulevardia this year. While I wasn't able to attend and haven't tried it, its got a very solid 3.85/5 rating on Untappd. I'll be excited to give it a try when it's released.

Other new brews include:

  • American Kolsch (coming in cans)
  • Cranberry Orange Radler  (coming in cans)
  • Berliner Weisse
  • Imperial Pilsner
  • Milk Stout
  • Scotch on Scotch
  • Upper Crust Fruit Tart
  • Cider
  • Barleywine
  • Barrel Aged Blend
  • And a summer seasonal TBD

Some of these have been around at the Tasting Room here and there, so they might be familiar to you already. Also, while Imperial Pilsner is listed as new, you might remember that Boulevard used to make Reverb Imperial Pilsner, and the Collaboration #1 with the Orval head brewer was also an Imperial Pilsner. Presumably, this will be a new take on Imperial Pilsner.

Boulevard's also planning the next Love Child for June, and Collaboration beer for August. Also exciting is the fact that Bourbon Barrel Quad and Imperial Stout going year-round. You should see BBQ drop on the shelves in October of this year and Imperial Stout next August. So now you'll be able to drink a bottle of either and make bad decisions all year round!

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