I remember my first Boulevard Brewing Co. brewed beer from about three years ago, Double Wide IPA and I thought to myself that this was amazing and I was thankful for this beer and the other year-round releases I had over the next few months.
Then things took a turn for the better and I was introduced to several limited release beers I didn’t even know existed, Funkier Pumpkin—an 8.5 percent ABV spiced sour ale— and Tripel Julep, a Belgian tripel infused with mint.
Boulevard was knocking it out of the park with its limited release beers and I was now on a mission to try them all. Today I have in front of me a beer from Boulevards Smokestack Limited release series which has included the aforementioned Funkier Pumpkin, Love Child No. 7, a barrel-aged wild ale with lactobacillus and brettanomyces and several others.
Today, I am reviewing Boulevard Collaboration No. 6, a collaboration with Firestone Walker Brewing. It is a mix of barrel-aged beers from both breweries and is blended at the percentages listed below:
- 45 percent Boulevard Bourbon Barrel Quad
- 35 percent Firestone Walker Stickee Monkee
- 10 percent Firestone Walker Velvet Merkin
- 10 percent Boulevard Imperial Stout “X”
A shout out to Steven Pauwels, head brewmaster of Boulevard, resulted in the following inspiration for this collaboration:
The inspiration for Collaboration No. 6 came from the anniversary beers that Firestone Walker blends every year… Blending is common in the wine industry and a hot topic in sour beers. Firestone Walker has done a great job blending their anniversary beers and I thought it would be great to blend existing beers from both breweries. We had a blending session early on and pretty quickly came up with a good blend that was 50/50 beers from each brewery. The key was to not have one of the components dominate the blend and (to) create layers of complexity.
Pouring Collaboration No. 6 into a tulip glass, I get a murky, golden-brown color with a finger and a half of tan head, ample carbonation with plenty of bubbles bursting throughout the head and spotty and chunky lacing randomly along the glass. Aroma is full of dark fruits; raisins, dates, figs and also some yeasty notes, molasses, caramel and a cloying sweetness on the nose.
The taste makes itself known with a big, boozy sweetness up front, followed by raisins, dates, maple syrup, vanilla, a very light tartness and an underwhelming amount of bourbon barrel. The mouthfeel is slick and the flavors dissapate rather quickly, leaving a sickly sweetness and then a tannic feel on the palate. The alcohol remains a player throughout the drinking process and starts to muddle the flavors as time goes on, becoming more of a hindrance than anything else.