By Andy Phelps
Boulevard is not new to me at all, but their Tasting Room beers certainly are, as they're only available in mixed 12 packs. Luckily, someone broke one up and a this limited-edition oatmeal stout on the shelves at a local store, and I've actually never reviewed a Boulevard beer properly (I dealt with them on their collaboration with Sierra Nevada called Terra Incognita), so here we go!
This one says it's "Best By" 3/21/15, which is in two days... cuttin' it close! Luckily, as a stout, it shouldn't suffer from any appreciable hop freshness issues as it should lean malty, but I'll be interested to see if it has any weird flavors from being on a shelf/my basement. The pour is nicely dark and oily-black with zero light penetration and a nice mocha-colored head that almost instantly sinks down to a finger with a dense surface and some spotty, soapy, sudsy lacing.
No new ground being broken here, but not every beer needs to blow my mind. Sometimes a well-made beer by a brewery consistently pushing the envelope is a really apt choice to put right into my glass. Well-built and with a lot of great flavors... very well-balanced and super drinkable. Not gonna argue with this one. Is it worth buying a whole twelve-pack so you can get some of these? Nah, not really unless you love the other stuff in there. Do I think this should be a year-round beer for BLVD? Sure! Sixers of this would be a great use of shelf-space, as they don't currently have any year-round or rotating stouts in national distribution that aren't in big bottles or insanely strong. This deserves to be tried by many more people than the audience it probably made it out to. Good stuff! Cheers!
The official breakdown:
- Style: Oatmeal Stout
- ABV: 5.5%
- Appearance: Oily-black thickness with an initially-huge mocha head that settles down to a tan ring on the surface; lacing is spotty and wipes itself out as the beer drinks
- Scent: Lots of day-old black coffee, caramel, brown sugar and raw cocoa with some slight herb and earthy tones; a slight dusting of yeast/starch
- Taste: Smooth and detailed chocolate/coffee with some creme brulee, coarse brown sugar, steel-cut oats, black maltiness and a slight kiss of earthy and herbal hops
- Mouthfeel: Nicely centered on the tongue with a touch of sweetness from the oats; carbonation is lively at first but definitely settles down to "smooth" towards the end
- Drinkability: A near-perfect session stout... now that we're exiting traditional "stout season." I look forward to this being available more often!