Boulevard Brewing Plans Retirement of Long Strange Tripel and Chocolate Ale

boulevardlogoBoulevard Brewing Company (Kansas City, Missouri) recently informed their fans that the production of Long Strange Tripel, Chocolate Ale and several other offerings will be suspended indefinitely to make room in the brewing schedule for new offerings and expanded production of other established brews.

When you take a look at the newly released 2017 Brewing Schedule for Boulevard Brewing Company, you may notice that quite a few familiar names are missing.  The most glaring omission from the schedule is the long-standing Long Strange Tripel.  This Belgian Tripel was created to honor Harold “Trip” Hogue, a collector of ancient Volvos and the brewery’s longest tenured employee (circa Day 1 in 1989).  His level of dedication and ability to apply the “make-do engineering required to coax recalcitrant equipment out of retirement and into making the first Boulevard beers” more than earned him a tribute beer of the quality of Long Strange Tripel.  Sadly, this brew’s “intense fruity aroma of bananas, prominent sweet malt flavor containing a hint of toffee, and low to medium citrusy hop flavor and bitterness” has somehow progressively lost the interest of craft beer fans over the years.  Sales of this year-round Smokestack Series beer have continued to wane, and it has been decided to retire the beer at the end of the calendar year.  There are the following two pieces of good news though:

  1. The brewery will not commit to the idea that the retirement of Long Strange Tripel is permanent.
  2. Harold “Trip” Hogue is still doing his thing at Boulevard Brewing and not looking to retire anytime soon.

Lack of interest has also resulted in Boulevard’s Chocolate Ale suffering the same fate as Long Strange Tripel.  When it was initially released in 2011 as a one-off beer, Chocolate Ale quickly grew in popularity and produced quite the following of passionate fans.  Over time, the interest level fell off and brewers even tried to reverse this downward trend with the most recent release of the variant Chocolate Ale with Raspberry.  Unfortunately, these efforts fell short.  One of the biggest obstacles that Chocolate Ale faced was that there was a noticeable difference between the beer’s draft and bottled versions.  The brewery deduced that the issue was bottle conditioning and the fix was a new bottle filler for their 750 ml bottles.  Sadly, the new equipment was not commissioned in time to make a 2017 release of Chocolate Ale possible.  Brewmaster Steven Pauwels did say that he would like to revisit Chocolate Ale sometime in the future, so a 2018 release could become a reality.

There are a few other Boulevard Brewing offerings that did not make the final cut for the brewery’s roster of beers in 2017.  Due to the fact that Pumpkin Beers are beginning to trend down among craft beer enthusiasts, this will be the last season we will see a release of Funky Pumpkin.  Those who are fans of the pumpkin should fear not though because Funkier Pumpkin is scheduled for a 2017 release.  Dark Truth Stout is also enjoying its last few months of existence, but Imperial Stout is making the move to year-round Smokestack status to fill that void. The brewing of Tripel Julep and Tell-Tale Tart will also cease at the end of 2016.  Rye-on-Rye was also left off of the 2017 schedule, but this was due to a logistical issue preventing the brewery from being able to guarantee that they would receive the amount of barrels needed for the aging process.  A 2018 return for Rye-on-Rye in 750 ml bottles is most likely in the cards.

This may seem like a lot of bad news to some, but rest assured that the good news is coming.  The brewers at Boulevard Brewing Co. are constantly innovating, and a crazy amount of new beers are inbound for 2017.  Posts about some of these new offerings will be up soon, so stay tuned!  Prost!