Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Boulevard Collaboration #1 Release Party

The Experience:

Last night Boulevard Brewing had the release party for their first (of hopefully many) collaboration. It was held at a new hotel in Lawrence, KS: The Oread. What a beautiful hotel. Inside the hotel was the Bird Dog Bar which is where the big party was! We got there around 7:15 to make sure that we got good seats. With some persuasion, we convinced our waitress to ensure that we got the first bottle commercially sold to the public. As 7:30 rolled around, she quickly brought us the FIRST publicly sold bottle of Collaboration #1! We instantly geeked out and poured some golden goodness as quickly as possible.

As the night kicked off, Jean-Marie Rock (of Orval) and Steven Pauwels (of Boulevard Brewing) began making their rounds. They were generous enough to sign it and even labeled it the first bottle Fles #1 (which translates to "Bottle #1"). We were also able to acquire two unopened bottles from an un-named source and greedily had them sign those as well.

We were able to have conversations with both Steven and Jean-Marie. Jean-Marie ensured us that this would be his only collaboration which made it all the more special to be able to meet him and talk about his creation. He told us he was in charge of both the brewery operations and Orval's cheese making as well. Even across the globe, from his room in Lawrence, KS, Jean-Marie was able to monitor and make adjustments to the Orval operations. He joked that there was a parameter that he did not like and had to send an email to make sure they were on the ball. Although probably not as intimidating as Frank Martin, I am sure that he got his point across. Overall, the night was a glorious success. Hopefully everyone that went had as much fun as we did as I can't imagine anything that would have made it better!

The Beer:

The beer is Boulevard Brewing Smokestack Series, Collaboration #1, Imperial Pilsner.

ABV: 8.0%
Original Gravity: 14.3 Plato
Final Gravity: 2.3 Plato
IBU's: 30

The beer was served in room temperature wine glasses. It pours a wonderful pale color. Tiny pure white bubbles slowly retreat leaving a very slight lacing. The aroma is very crisp, with an ever so slight hint of hoppy goodness, slightly spicy aromas hint at the Saaz hops which were used. The carbonation was perfect for this style and it had a wonderful mouthfeel. In a society dominated by the flat, uninteresting flavors of Americanized pilsners, this one takes the cake as my favorite pilsner with ease. A very delicious Pilsner that starts and finishes very clean. It has a slight hoppy undertone with spicy notes from the hops. As soon as they come out, you should buy one and drink it because it is glorious.


  1. How does this compare with Boulevards's regular Pilsner?

  2. I really haven't drank their normal Pilsner more than twice. I really feel that this one is way better. It's obviously a bit bigger. But overall I think it has a more refined taste, and a bit of a cleaner finish.