Boulevard Pale Ale

Now presenting a review of Boulevard’s first beer, the Pale Ale.  I was surprised to learn that the Pale Ale is the original Boulevard beer – “Boulevard” is practically synonymous with “Unfiltered Wheat” in the Midwest, and so I assumed that the Unfiltered Wheat had come first.  The Unfiltered Wheat isn’t the first – it’s merely the most popular craft beer in the Midwest (suck it, Goose Island! 😀 ).  Anyway, this is the Pale Ale.  I’ll do the Wheat soon.

Basic Info:
Pale Ale
Origin: Boulevard Brewing Co., Kansas City, MO 
Style: American Pale Ale
ABV: 5.4
IBU: 30
I drank this: on tap at Paddy O’Quigley’s in Leawood, KS

First of all, if you haven’t been to Paddy O’Quigley’s, it’s an experience.  Generally a good one, but one odd enough that it will be spawning a new blog segment known as “Better Know a Bar.”  I’ll be beginning that tomorrow (or tonight, if I’m not getting any other writing done).

Now, for the Boulevard Pale Ale.  This is an American Pale Ale rather than an English Pale Ale, meaning that it has a much hoppier character than the Schlafly Pale Ale I reviewed earlier in the week.  Trying both is an exercise in remembering that “Pale Ale” refers to the color more than it does style – to get a real idea of what style of beer you’re drinking when you’re drinking a pale ale, it’s really helpful to have a nationality slapped onto the label.  Without it, you’re flying blind.

Whereas the Schlafly Pale Ale nose is predominantly malt, the Boulevard Pale Ale is predominantly hop.  The malt presence in the scent only comes if you breathe it in more deeply.  Once you notice it, it’s definitely there, but you probably won’t notice it until you think about it.  This beer is a lovely clear and bright brownish orange color, but retains no head whatsoever.  I had about a quarter-inch of head when I got it which disappeared after roughly three sips.

The Boulevard Pale Ale is nicely balanced.  The hops are bright and citrus-y with a hint of pine (I think the recipe is pretty heavy on the Cascades, which is ALWAYS a good thing in my book).  The malts are light to medium in color, faintly sweet, and strong enough that they’re not hidden by the hops.  The carbonation is pretty light.  It’s not an overwhelming beer.  It’s in the category of “easy beer to throw back while you’re talking or watching sports.”  Especially watching sports:  something about this beer begs for a pile of buffalo wings.

This isn’t the bestest pale ale I’ve ever had, but it’s still really pretty good.  What’s honestly impressive to me is its age:  this beer was first brewed in 1989 (making it old enough to drink itself now – happy 21st birthday, Pale Ale!), and I gather (from what I can tell on the website, anyway, since I sure as hell wasn’t drinking beer at 9 years old) that the recipe hasn’t changed since then.  And it shouldn’t.  It’s a great gateway beer – it’s interesting enough that it’s a good way to broaden the palates of those who’d like to move on from yellow water lite “beers,” but it isn’t trying to prove anything* either.  That’s what the Boulevard Double-Wide IPA is for.

*I think here of the label for the Stone Arrogant Bastard, which very clearly *is* trying to prove something.  It’d be obnoxious, but the AB lives up to the claims on the label.  More on that when I review it.


About Kim

Kim spends a lot of time writing, thinking about writing, reading, writing more and dealing with writer's block. When she's not writing, she might be found having a beer. She often combines the writing experience with the beer experience. The combination tends to lead to more creativity but significantly impaired spelling.
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11 Responses to Boulevard Pale Ale

  1. HMS Hawkii says:

    But…. I love Goose Island…particularly the Naughty Goose. That was a great beer!

  2. I love Goose Island too! This is just a little local pride coming through.

  3. Sarah says:

    As someone who lives in Chicago, and routinely has to drink 312 when I would much rather have Boulevard Wheat, I am with you Kim. 312 is good, but will never be as good.

  4. CassiusTrevize says:

    So, I feel that I must share my experience with Boulevard’s Pale Ale. I really should say “relationship”, because it has been A LOT of experience. I first tried Boulevard Pale Ale on my 21st birthday. Up to this point I had consumed my fair share of the blah domestic lagers, Bud Light, Keystone Light, Natural Light, etc. etc. You know, the standard college fair. (“blah” is is speaking nicely) I felt that I was doomed to a life of hating beer. Trying Boulevard’s Pale Ale was truly an eye opener. I had never had a beer with such flavor, and distinct lack of “ick!” before this fantastic first taste. I must admit that I did not remember that it was Pale Ale that I had tried until a few months later, but when I was reacquainted with that magical taste, I never looked back. From that day forward, until the day I met Boulevard’s Single-wide IPA, I was hooked, and still really enjoy it. At the establishments I frequented I didn’t even have to tell the server/bartender what I wanted. Pale Ale was a given.

    In short, Boulevard’s Pale Ale is my “gateway” beer. It has been with me through thick and thin, andwill

    • CassiusTrevize says:

      …always hold a dear place in my heart because it freed me from the bland, mediocre, and “icky” beers.

      Thank you, Pale Ale. I miss you and all of your Boulevard brethren.

  5. Jen says:

    I had to look back and find this one. I had a couple last week and really liked it! And I have typically not liked draft beer. It went really well with the burger and fries!

    I had a bottle of Boulevard Wheat over the weekend with pizza. I was surprised and somewhat grossed out that it had chunks (I’m presuming yeast) in the bottom of the bottle.

  6. Kim says:

    Jen, the yeast is actually really good for you – it’s pretty much pure B-12. If you don’t want to drink it, pour the beer carefully into a glass and leave the last half-inch or so in the bottle. It doesn’t change the flavor, though, so if you end up with some, it really isn’t a problem. I will totally grant you that it looks gross, though! And I’m really happy you liked the Boulevard Pale Ale – I love that beer!

    • Jen says:

      I was drinking it from the bottle because the mugs at the pizza place “weren’t cold enough” according to our waitress. The last drink of the bottle got me, I wasn’t expecting it.

      • Kim says:

        Oh BLERG. I can’t imagine getting it all at once. That sounds gross even to a big “brewers yeast is awesome for you” proponent. Just. EW.

  7. Kim says:

    And Kyle, awesomesauce story. I love hearing how people get into beer 😀

  8. Pingback: I know next to nothing about wine. | Kim Learns Wine

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