Taps, Taprooms and Tappings.....Celebrate What You Love! I love Grand Cru

I love barrel aged beers. The smooth, rich flavors are awesome and the way brewers seem to create layers in a liquid is fascinating. I also enjoy comparing how flavors vary based on the type of barrel used, the aging of the beer and how any previous use of the barrels (whiskey, brandy, etc.) influence the final product. For me, Boulevard’s Bourbon Barrel Quad has always been the standard by which I measure all others. The smooth, subtle bourbon backbone is supported by a little sweetness from cherries and is simply the perfect blend of beer and spirits. I also cannot get enough of Ommegang’s barrel aged version of Three Philosophers, but it is hard very hard to find.   

That said, Boulevard’s new Grand Cru is absolutely tremendous. I rarely read detailed descriptions or official breakdowns of what is in a new beer before drinking because I do not want to go in with
preconceived notions. My initial reaction to tasting this beer was that it is similar to Bourbon Barrel Quad but its sweetness was a little richer. Regardless, I loved it and drank the entire 12 oz. bottle of 13.7% ABV beer more quickly than likely envisioned. In this state, I did become curious about the beer’s blend and Boulevard’s website informed me that it is 60% whiskey barrel aged stout (slightly different than the barrel-aged stout Boulevard has on the market) and 40% Bourbon Barrel Quad. Their website has more details, but if you like a boozy beer you will really love this one.  https://www.boulevard.com/2018/03/01/grand-cru/

Now, after celebrating what I love in writing, I want try to pass along a lesson I have often learned the hard way. Let others celebrate what they love. This means not necessarily cramming opinions down others’ throats. Whether it’s macro light beer, the most cliched/overrated craft beer, or the craziest craft combo beer imaginable, people like what they like. My wife loves about any intense, hop-bomb IPA you put in front of her. Yet, she wrinkles her nose at my beloved barrel-aged offerings. I tried for quite awhile to explain to her why they were good and insisted that she taste beers over again to “understand” what was so great about them. 

At some point I became smart enough to hear her simple statement, “I just do not like that kind of beer.” That did not mean she would not go out for beers with me all the time or enjoy talking about craft beer, it just meant she does not like that beer. Luckily for me, she became stuck with me a long time ago and I could not really run her off the scene. However, a lot of times people do tire of being told why they should not drink certain beer or how if they really learn to appreciate certain styles they will really “understand.”

I cannot speak for everyone, but when I went through a phase in my life where I did this, I did not believe that I was being a condescending, know-it-all jerk, but that is how I made other people feel. My wife helped me see this by explaining, “You are acting like a condescending jerk.” After that gentle counseling, I now always try to experience the atmospheres and people that I encounter as I find them. If anyone wants to talk craft-beer or ask questions, I can put on my know-it-all hat and go to town. Otherwise I just celebrate what I love by drinking my happiness. Let others do the same.

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