Boulevard Smokestack Series – Belgian-style ale, 8.5% ABV.
Boulevard Brewing Co., Kansas City, MO
By Bill Lau
Posted February 24, 2015
As a general rule, I do love a good Belgian-style beer. Back in the ’90s when I first started trying some of the available Belgian imports, my experiences were not always positive, even with beers that were rated highly by the beer writers of the time (e.g. Michael Jackson). I ran into more than one example that must have languished in the warehouse and then on the shelf for a really long time, because by the time I tasted them they were faint echoes of their original selves, at best, and unpleasant in at least one instance that I can recall.
Thankfully, things have changed much for the better in terms of the available selection and the freshness of the product in the intervening years. Not to mention the explosion of American craft brewers that have ventured into the many different styles of Belgian beers. Have there been some poor examples? No doubt. But in my experience there have been many more very well-made interpretations of Belgian beers, with more being brewed all the time.
What a time to be a beer lover!
Served in a stemmed glass.
Appearance (4.5/5): Slightly hazy deep straw-gold hue, topped with a thick, dense head of moussy white foam. Holds the head very well and leaves a few wide rings behind by the bottom.
Aroma (9/10): Appetizing! Lovely yeast-induced spice notes including coriander and some tropical fruit (faint hint of banana and tangy lemon peel with papaya).
Palate (4.5/5): Medium body lifted by spritzy but finely beaded carbonation. Smooth texture with a bright edge.
Taste (9/10): Tart opening with bready malt and yeast, coriander, and a zippy, lemony hit. Leads into a mellower middle, with mild spices and malt, then a nice bitter edge builds to lead into the finish. Presents an almost smoky, phenolic note in passing as well. Lemon peel, coriander, some light tropical fruit and allspice round things out with a little grapefuity pithiness. Flavorful with good complexity and dangerously drinkable.
Overall (18/20): Very well-made Belgian-style farmhouse ale chock-full of authentic character and flavor.