Boulevard Brewing Adjusts Packaging for Smokestack Series

hammerpress-brewery-posterBoulevard Brewing Co. (Kansas City, Missouri) has officially announced that several of its most popular Smokestack Series beers will get an upgrade from 4-packs to 6-packs in the coming weeks.

The good folks at Boulevard Brewing Co. recently conducted a quiet market test and discovered that many of their fans would prefer to purchase the brewery’s more established Smokestack Series offerings in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles rather than the currently available 4-packs.  After running the numbers and talking it over with retailers, the brewery has agreed that the change just makes sense. The affected beers are as follows:

  • The Calling IPA – “The Calling is an undeniable IPA we were driven to make. It’s our tribute to like-minded dreamers, adventurous spirits, and glass half-full optimists. It’s also our most heavily hopped beer ever, bursting forth with unmistakable tropical fruit and pine hop aromas and flavor supported with a slightly sweet malt character, tapering to a crisp, dry finish. Heed your call and enjoy.”  ABV – 8.5%  IBUs – 75
  • Dark Truth Stout – “Throughout the ages, man has been fascinated by the quest for hidden knowledge, the search for the secret to transforming the elemental into the extraordinary, the simple into the sublime. Ladies and gentlemen, we present for your consideration this exotic, inky concoction, the almost magical creation of our modern day alchemists who have turned humble grains—barley, wheat, rye, and oats—into black, liquid gold. Layers of complex flavors slowly emerge from the glass: espresso, roasted fig, crème brulée. Belgian yeast provides a plum-like fruitiness, noble German hops reveal spicy, herbal notes, while the rich, velvety mouthfeel mellows to a dry, smoky finish.”  ABV – 9.7%  IBUs – 60
  • The Sixth Glass Quadrupel Ale – “‘Do you know what dwells in a glass?’ asks Ole, in Hans Christian Andersen’s The Watchman of the Tower. Better known for stories such as The Little Mermaid, Andersen wrote this short, cautionary tale for a somewhat older audience. Our quadrupel ale, also meant for the mature connoisseur, is a deep and mysterious libation, dark auburn and full-bodied, its sweetness deceptive. As Ole describes the glasses in turn, their contents become more ominous until, in the sixth glass…”  ABV – 10.5%  IBUs – 22
  • Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale – “When our brewers were experimenting with variations on a traditional Belgian-style farmhouse ale, the perfect combination of elements came together in fermenter number seven. You could call it fate, but they called it Tank 7, and so it is. Beginning with a big surge of fruity aromatics and grapefruit-hoppy notes, the flavor of this complex, straw-colored ale tapers off to a peppery, dry finish.”  ABV – 8.5%  IBUs – 38

“We tested the idea in a few markets and confirmed our suspicion that consumers enjoy getting two more bottles of their favorite Smokestack beers for what ends up being a lower price per bottle,” said Bobby Dykstra, Boulevard’s vice president of sales. “It makes sense for our retail partners as well, aligning our portfolio from both pricing and space management perspectives.”

6-packs of The Calling IPA, Dark Truth Stout, The Sixth Glass and Tank 7 will begin rolling out in October, and the brewery expects that these “Smokestack Series six-packs will generally carry the same retail price as four-packs of its year-round barrel-aged beers, Bourbon Barrel Quad and Whiskey Barrel Stout.”  Once released, you can expect to find these new 6-packs at craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Florida, Missouri and throughout the rest of Boulevard Brewing Co.’s distribution footprint.  Prost!

 

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Boulevard Brewing Co. Goes Year-Round with Whiskey Barrel Stout

BoulevardWBS_editedBoulevard Brewing Co. (Kansas City, Missouri) has officially announced that it will release Whiskey Barrel Stout in mid-September as the brewery’s newest year-round barrel-aged Smokestack Series offering.

With a recipe that is “loosely based on a previous Smokestack Series Limited Release” from Boulevard Brewing Co., Whiskey Barrel Stout has arrived to expand the brewery’s newly established portfolio of Year-Round barrel-aged brews.  This Imperial Stout is built upon a hearty base of 11 malts and then “hopped with Magnum and Columbus hops to provide just enough bitterness to prevent the beer from presenting as cloyingly sweet.”  After picking up “notes of dates and plum” from Boulevard’s house Scottish yeast strain, the beer is then “transferred to freshly emptied whiskey barrels from a variety of . . . distillers.”  As the Imperial Stout ages and matures, Boulevard’s “barrel crew selects the best barrels from different vintages to be blended together with roughly one-third fresh beer to create a delicate interplay between fresh and barrel-aged beer.”  This blending process is key because it creates “a balanced beer that showcases the very best barrel flavors coaxed into Whiskey Barrel Stout while tempering the whiskey character to create a beer that is only slightly boozy and ready to drink upon release.”

Whiskey Barrel Stout will begin its launch in the Greater Kansas City area on September 11, and will eventually hit other regions shortly thereafter.  Once the rollout is initiated, you will be able to find Whiskey Barrel Stout in 4-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft at select beer establishments located in Alabama, Florida, Missouri, and any other states within Boulevard Brewing Co.’s distribution area that have seen their Bourbon Barrel Quad (the brewery’s other Year-Round barrel-aged offering).  Prost!

Vital Information for Whiskey Barrel Stout from Boulevard Brewing Co.

Release – Year-Round/Smokestack Series, launching mid-September 2017
Style – Imperial Stout
ABV – 11%
IBUs – 63
Malts – Two-Row Pale Malt, Amber 50, Cara 120, Cara 300, Mout Roost 900, Patagonia Black Pearl, Chocolate Rye, Crystal Rye, Malted Wheat, Flaked Oats, Chocolate Malt & Dark Malt Extract
Hops – Magnum & Columbus
Yeast – Boulevard’s house Scottish yeast strain
Added Ingredients – Dextrose & brown sugar
Suggested Pairings – “Smoked cheese, flourless chocolate cake, roasted leg of lamb, a quiet night”
Availability – 4-packs of 12 oz. bottles & draft
Beer Finder – https://www.boulevard.com/beer/beer-finder/

Boulevard Brewing Co. works with Arizona Wilderness & Creature Comforts on Collaboration No.7

Collab7-Diamond-Badge-copyBoulevard Brewing Co. (Kansas City, Missouri) has officially announced the limited release of Collaboration No. 7 – Oak-Aged Lager, a special collaboration offering brewed with Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co. (Gilbert, Arizona) and Creature Comforts Brewing Co. (Athens, Georgia).

For the first time in the history of their Collaboration series, Collaboration No. 7 – Oak-Aged Lager has Boulevard Brewing Co. working with not one but two breweries.  This offering stands as a liquid embodiment of both Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co.’s reputation “as champions for local ingredients in innovative beers” and Creature Comforts Brewing Co.’s philosophy of being “dedicated to better being through being curious.”

To pull this off, the three brewing teams built a crisp lager upon “a base of two-row pale malt, Sonoran White Wheat, honey malt and corn grits.”  They then introduced Riesling grape juice, peaches and lemon zest; incorporated a hop bill consisting of Nelson Sauvin, Lemondrop and Hallertau Blanc hops; and fermented the beer with an Ayinger lager yeast strain.  Once the brewing process was completed, Collaboration No. 7 – Oak-Aged Lager received its finishing touches by being “briefly aged on Cuvee No. 5 Tank Staves, French oak staves that impart fruit, spice, toast and tannins similar to aging in a fresh/virgin French oak barrel.”  For a clear idea of what to expect from this elaborate recipe, here is Collaboration No. 7’s full description from Boulevard Brewing’s official press release:

“At 6% ABV and 16 IBUs, Collaboration No. 7 Oak-Aged Lager pours a brilliant golden color with tight, off-white lacing. Bright aromas of peach and Riesling grapes mingle with the tropical fruit notes provided by subtle hopping. Lemon zest accentuates the naturally citrusy character of the beer as the malt bill forms a slightly sweet, honey-like base from which the chosen regional ingredients shine. French oak character lends a drying effect resulting in a bright, fruity lager that finishes incredibly crisp. Bottle conditioned with champagne yeast, Collaboration No. 7 – Oak-Aged Lager has fluffy, effervescent carbonation that scrubs the palate and begs for another sip.”

Collaboration No. 7 – Oak-Aged Lager will officially launch in the Kansas City area beginning on August 21, and it will then see distribution to other regions in the coming weeks.  Once it hits distribution, you will be able to find this Limited Release offering available in 4-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft at select craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Florida, Missouri and any other area that normally sees Smokestack Series Limited Release beers from Boulevard Brewing Co.  Prost!

Vital Information for Collaboration No. 7 – Oak-Aged Lager from Boulevard Brewing Co., Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co. & Creature Comforts Brewing Co.

Release – Limited/Collaboration Series, launching August 21, 2017
Style – American Lager
ABV – 6%
IBUs – 16
Malts/Grains – 2-Row Pale, Sonoran White Wheat, Honey Malt & Corn Grits
Hops – Nelson Sauvin, Lemondrop & Hallertau Blanc
Yeast – Ayinger Lager 
Added Ingredients – Riesling grape juice, peaches and lemon zest
Treatment – Aged “briefly” on on Cuvee No. 5 Tank Staves
Availability – 4-packs of 12 oz. bottles & draft
Beer Finder – https://www.boulevard.com/beer/beer-finder/

Boulevard Brewing Co. Releases 8th Installment in Love Child Series

BoulevardLoveChild8labelBoulevard Brewing Company (Kansas City, Missouri) has officially sent Love Child No. 8 out into the wild as the latest version in this ever-evolving, blended Sour Ale project.

The Love Child Series consists of a line of barrel-aged Wild Ales that have been inoculated with “such boisterous cultures as Lactobacillus and Brettanomyces.”  Since each beer in this series has its own unique blend ratio and resulting complexity, Boulevard Brewing uses “gauges on the label to convey the intensity of three key personality traits, Funk, Sour and Fruit, presenting a picture of the ale at the time it was released.” The goal of the Love Child Series is not “to reproduce the character of the previous year’s blend, but rather to offer a blend of the very best sour beers . . . on hand” at the brewery.

Love Child No. 8 is rocking a blend that consists of “multiple vintages of a Flanders-style sour red ale and a sour Belgian-style golden” that have been aged in “a variety of whiskey and wine barrels with lactobacillus and brettanomyces.”  Each batch of aged beer was sampled and then blended by a tasting panel of brewers and quality assurance team members until they established an experience that “features soft lactic acidity punctuated with slight acetic notes and a tart, fruity flavor reminiscent of sour cherries and green strawberries.”

Love Child No. 8 hit the Kansas City area in June, but the beer has been slowly rolling out across Boulevard Brewing’s distribution area since.  This limited offering can now be found in 750ml bottles and on draft at select beer establishments located in Alabama, Florida, Missouri and wherever else you normally see Limited Release Smokestack Series beers from Boulevard Brewing.  Prost!

Vital Information for Love Child No. 8 from Boulevard Brewing Company

Release – Limited/Smokestack Series, gradual roll out began June 2017
Style – American Wild/Sour Ale
ABV – 9%
IBUs – 9
Blend – 59% Belgian-style Golden, 41% Flanders-Style Red
Recommended Glassware – Tulip
Suggested Pairing – Strawberry rhubarb pie
Availability – 750ml bottles & draft
Beer Finder – https://www.boulevard.com/beer/beer-finder/

Boulevard Brewing Releases Changeling Dark Sour Ale

changelingbottlesBoulevard Brewing Co. (Kansas City, Missouri) has officially announced the release of Changeling Dark Sour Ale as the brewery’s newest Smokestack Series Limited Release beer.

To add some new flavor to their Smokestack Series, Boulevard Brewing went big by crafting Changeling Dark Sour Ale to be “an enchanting blend of sour ales aged in whiskey and wine barrels that were inoculated with brettanomyces and lactobacillus.” Deep ruby in color, Changeling establishes itself with notes of plum and toasted malt.  The flavor then takes on “a soft tartness, with notes of earthiness and funk provided by brettanomyces and a touch of lingering caramel to create a delicate balance.”  The finished beer weighs in at 7.3% ABV and consists of the following blend of beers:

The Official Blend for Changeling Dark Sour Ale

  • Snow & Tell Scotch Ale aged in whiskey barrels – 43%
  • Snow & Tell Scotch Ale aged in wine barrels – 40%
  • Dark Saison aged in whiskey barrels – 10%
  • Flanders Red/Belgian Blonde – foeder – 5%
  • Imperial Stout aged in whiskey barrels – 2%

Changeling Dark Sour Ale is available now in the Greater Kansas City Area “with other cities to follow soon.”  You can expect to find this limited release offering in 750 ml bottles at select craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Florida, Missouri and other areas that normally receive Smokestack Series Limited Release beers.  Secure your bottles of Changeling while you can because this beer will only be available during the month of April and – like most Wild/Sour Ales these days – is sure to move fast.  Prost!

Vital Information for Changeling Dark Sour Ale from Boulevard Brewing Co.

Release – Limited/Smokestack Series, April 2017
Style – American Wild/Sour Ale
ABV – 7.3%
IBUs – 20
Treatment – A blend of Sour Ales aged in whiskey & wine barrels (see above for details on blend)
Availability – 750 ml bottles 
Recommended Glassware – Tulip
Suggested Food Pairings – Aged/smoked cheeses, roasted duck, apple smoked sausage, & beef carbonnade

Beer Finder – https://www.boulevard.com/beer/beer-finder/

 

 

Scotch on Scotch Debuts for Boulevard Brewing Company

boulevardscotchonscotchBoulevard Brewing Company (Kansas City, Missouri) recently announced the release of their newest Smokestack Series offering, Scotch on Scotch Oak-aged Imperial Scotch Ale.

Drawing inspiration from the previous releases of Snow & Tell Oak-aged Scotch Ale and Rye on Rye, Boulevard Brewing has doubled down once again to create Scotch on Scotch.  This new Smokestack Series Limited Release beer starts with a massive malt base “created by layering caramel and amber malts with just a touch of peat smoked malt for additional complexity.”  The recipe also includes three hop varietals that were carefully chosen to lend balance and spicy earthiness, and brown sugar that was incorporated during the boil to impart “suggestions of toffee and molasses and a slightly sticky mouthfeel.”  Finally, this Imperial Scotch Ale lives up to its name by eventually finding itself aging on Scotch whisky barrel chips to “coax rich woody, char and vanilla notes along with the essence of Scotch whisky into a hearty, warming beer.”

Like most new offerings from Boulevard Brewing Company, Scotch on Scotch Oak-aged Imperial Scotch Ale has begun an initial release in the Greater Kansas City Area to allow local fans first dibs on the beer.  This limited offering will then become available in 4-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft at fine beer establishments located in Alabama, Florida and other select markets that typically see Smokestack Series Limited Release beers from Boulevard.  This is just one of many exciting new beers heading to shelves and taps in the near future from Boulevard Brewing, so stay tuned for more news and keep an eye out for Scotch on Scotch while on your next beer run.  Prost!

Vital Information for Scotch on Scotch from Boulevard Brewing Company 

Release – Smokestack Series/Limited, launching late February 2017
Style – Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy
ABV – 9.6%
IBUs – 24
Hops – Magnum, Chinook & Northern Brewer
Additional Ingredients – Brown sugar
Treatment – Aged on Scotch whisky barrel chips
Availability – 4-packs of 12 oz. bottles & draft
Beer Finder – https://boulevard.com/beers/beer-finder/

boulevardscotchchips
To create Scotch on Scotch, Scotch whisky barrel chips were suspended in the aging tank in porous bags.

 

 

Boulevard Brewing Company Releases Bottles of Rye on Rye on Rye

boulevardryeonryeonryeBoulevard Brewing Company (Kansas City, Missouri) recently announced that bottles of Rye on Rye on Rye Whiskey Barrel Aged Ale are available now for a limited time.

First released as a draft-only offering in 2016, Rye on Rye on Rye has returned as a Smokestack Series Limited Release – a series of “bold, complex ales [that] include both traditional styles and daring experiments, allowing [Boulevard] brewers to explore some of the more esoteric realms of their craft.”  Rye on Rye on Rye expands upon the legacy of the classic Rye on Rye by incorporating an additional step in the aging process. This offering begins as a “rich, tawny Rye Ale” that is then “aged in first-use rye whiskey barrels then transferred to yet another set of first-use rye whiskey barrels for a second aging, effectively resulting in “Rye on Rye on Rye.”  Weighing in at a sizable 14% ABV, Rye on Rye on Rye promises an experience loaded with caramel and distinct whiskey aromas and flavor notes of bread crust, caramel and toffee.

750 ml bottles of Rye on Rye on Rye are available now in the greater Kansas City area and this limited offering will soon become available in other select markets within Boulevard Brewing Co.’s distribution network.  The brewery hints that fans can expect to find Rye on Rye on Rye “in cities that typically see . . . Smokestack Series Limited Release beers like Saison Brett or Love Child blends.”  This applies to my readers in Alabama and Florida, so be on the lookout for this one in the coming weeks.  Prost!

Vital Information for Rye on Rye on Rye from Boulevard Brewing Co.

Release – Smokestack Series/Limited, February 2017
Style – Rye Ale
ABV – 14%
IBUs – 33
Treatment – Rye Ale aged in first-use rye whiskey barrels then transferred to yet another set of first-use rye whiskey barrels for a second aging
Availability – 750ml bottles
Recommended Glassware – Tulip
Suggest Pairings – Cuban cigars, pot roast, rich stews & salted caramel ice cream

American Kölsch Launches as Newest Year-Round from Boulevard Brewing Co.

bbcamkolschcanBoulevard Brewing Company (Kansas City, Missouri) has officially added American Kölsch to the brewery’s lineup of Year-Round beers.

When the brewery decided it was time to produce a new Year-Round brew, Boulevard Brewing Company found inspiration in the Kölsch – “the traditional German ale from the city of Cologne (or Köln).”  For their take on the style, American Kölsch has a bready malt foundation (European Pilsner & Malted Wheat) that “is punctuated by subtle notes of spice and mint from Saaz and Saphir hops.”  Weighing in at a sessionable 4.6% ABV, this refreshing golden ale “delivers a honeyed malt sweetness that gives way to a crisp, clean finish and a touch of lingering hop flavor.”

“In a craft beer world bursting with bold, intense, high alcohol offerings, sometimes you just want an approachable, comforting, easy-drinking beer,” said Boulevard brewmaster Steven Pauwels. “We tested American Kolsch last summer in our new Beer Hall. Based on the reviews, we’re confident it will become a new staple.”

Boulevard Brewing will officially begin the launch of American Kölsch in the Kansas City area on January 30 (click here to see those events).  Shortly after the hometown launch, this new Year-Round offering will then be distributed in 6-packs of 12 oz. cans and on draft to craft beer bars, restaurants and retailers in Alabama, Florida and throughout the entirety of Boulevard’s 37-state region.  This just might become your new daily drinker or lawnmower beer, so be sure to give American Kölsch a try once it hits your area.  Prost!

Vital Information for American Kölsch from Boulevard Brewing Company

Release – Year-Round, launches late January/early February 2017
Style – Kölsch
ABV – 4.6%
Malts – Pilsner & Wheat
Hops –  Saaz & Saphir
Availability – 6-packs of 12 oz. cans & draft
Beer Finder – https://boulevard.com/beers/beer-finder/

 

Tasting Notes: A Beer Pairing with the Kettle Chips of Neal Brothers Foods

nealbros_200For a little change of pace, this week’s Tasting Notes gets its snack on with a special beer pairing featuring the delicious Kettle Chips of Neal Brothers Foods (Toronto, Ontario).

I was recently approached by representatives from Neal Brothers Foods to see if I would be willing to provide them with some input on possible beer pairings for their line of “Extremely Tasty” Kettle Chips.  The more I looked over their available flavors – Maple Bacon, Montreal Steak Spice, Pink Himalayan Salt, & Spicy Srirachup -, the more excited I got about this possibly becoming a fun new project to be featured as a Tasting Notes segment.  I pitched my idea to them, and the good folks at Neal Brothers gave me the go-ahead.

Before this delicious, snack-filled pairing can commence, we first need to cover some particulars on Neal Brothers Foods.  Peter and Chris Neal started Neal Brothers Foods in 1988 by making croutons out of their mother’s home in Aurora, Ontario, and the croutons proved to be a huge hit with locals. The company quickly outgrew their headquarters in mom’s kitchen, and Neal Brothers Foods moved to Toronto, Ontario to create a variety of delicious products. With a dedication to the freshest ingredients, Neal Brothers offers products made from “organic ingredients to help sustain our environment and keep us healthy and chemical free,” and they are also firm believers in the Fair Trade movement.  This commitment to creating “great tasting, ‘better for you’ snacks” has made it possible for Neal Brothers to steadily grow.  One of their most popular offerings are these “all natural, non-GMO, kettle-cooked chips.”  Thanks to an exclusive partnership created with Whole Foods Market, Neal Brothers Kettle Chips are now available in the United States.

Now that we have all of that covered, let’s get our sip and chip on with a little Tasting Notes Beer Pairing featuring the Kettle Chips of Neal Brothers Foods!

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Tasting Notes Pairing: Neal Brothers Pink Himalayan Salt Kettle Chips with Longboard Island Lager from Kona Brewing Co.

  • The Pairing – Since the flavor of these Pink Himalayan Salt Kettle Chips is going to be pretty straight forward, I wanted to keep the pairing simple by going with a highly drinkable lager like Longboard Island Lager from Kona Brewing Co.   The chips really showcase the potato by highlighting its earthy, hearty and lightly sweet qualities.  Combine this with a salt character that is incredibly spot on – not too heavy, but not too light – and you now have a chip that kind of forces your hand to return to the bag for another.  The idea here may be simple on paper, but these chips pack quite a bit of flavor and are mighty tasty.
    Pair this experience up with Longboard Island Lager, and the earthy grain and gently sweet notes of the pale malts easily lift that potato flavor to another level.  The lightly spicy, floral and citrusy hop tones push forward to work with and add complexity to the saltiness.  On the other side of the card, the chips improve the overall drinking experience by coaxing out a nice lemon zest note hiding within the beer.  Simultaneously, the beer clears out the saltiness of the chips while that saltiness resets the palate for another sip.  The goal here was to create an easy pairing to enjoy while you sit down to watch the game on the couch.  Mission accomplished.
  • Paring Alternatives – Staying with the idea of keeping it simple, I would stick with Lagers and lighter, easy drinking Ales to pair with these Pink Himalayan Salt Kettle Chips.  Since it is Fest season, you could skip the pretzels and pair these chips with a Festbier like the 2016 Oktoberfest Festival Lager collaboration from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. and Mahrs Bräu.  Looking for something more accessible (on multiple levels)?  Well, you could always go with a good, mass-produced Pilsner like Miller High Life.  In more of an Ale mood?  Go with a Blonde Ale like American Blonde from Cahaba Brewing Co. or a classic American Amber Ale such as Gaelic Ale from Highland Brewing Company. If you want to amp up this salty experience, you could always go with a briny Gose like Troublesome from Off Color Brewing. Also, if you are hosting a beer tasting, a big ol’ bowl of these chips will act as the perfect palate cleanser between brews.

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Tasting Notes Pairing: Neal Brothers Maple Bacon Kettle Chips with Last Leaf Maple Brown Ale from Starr Hill Brewery

  • The Pairing – Breakfast, anyone?  These Maple Bacon Kettle Chips hit the palate with a luxurious maple syrup flavor at first bite.  When I say maple syrup, I mean seriously good maple syrup.  You know . . . that maple syrup you see at the store, question the price, finally try it, and never go back to the cheap stuff again.  That kind of maple syrup.  As this flavor seduces the taste buds, things somehow get better as a smoky bacon note slow-rolls into the picture.  After a couple chips, you could swear that you just wolfed down a whole plate of bacon.  This bag is insanely difficult to put down . . . but we must to take a sip of Last Leaf Maple Brown Ale from Starr Hill Brewery.
    This English-style Brown Ale – like most English-style brews – is reserved.  Its aromatic and flavor profile is light in sweetness, light in hop presence, and smoothly teases your palate with soft tones of vanilla and maple.  Now . . . pop one of those chips in your mouth.  WHOLE. NEW. WORLD.  The maple notes now absolutely explode from the beer, making you question if someone shuffled in a new beer when you were not looking.  The sweetness is still contained, but the experience is increased tenfold.  The malty aspects of the beer then go to work on that bacon to pull out even more smoky pork goodness from the chips.  This combination conjures up the image of sitting down to an awesome breakfast where warm maple syrup wanders from my pancakes to not only the bacon on the plate . . . but also to my hash browns.  And I am not mad at it.
  • Pairing Alternatives – If you are not within Starr Hill Brewery’s distribution area, just seek out a good, locally available English-style Brown Ale like Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale or a more malt-forward American representation like Hazelnut Brown Nectar from Rogue Ales.  We can progressively step things up in intensity and sweetness by venturing into the world of Scotch Ales by pairing these Maple Bacon Kettle Chips with Old Chub Scotch Ale from Oskar Blues Brewery.  If you would like to bring out more bacon notes, go with a Smoked Beer like Smoked Porter from Alaskan Brewing Co. or a more traditional Rauchbier from Schlenkerla.  For a decadent, over-the-top breakfast experience, pick up some Breakfast Stout from Founders Brewing Co. and thank me later.  Cider fans, just about any Apple Cider you can come up with will also work wonders with these kettle chips.

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Tasting Notes Pairing: Neal Brothers Spicy Srirachup Kettle Chips with Oatsmobile Ale from Bell’s Brewery

  • The Pairing – If you are anything like me, you cannot think of a better condiment for just about anything than the perfect mixture of Sriracha and good ketchup.  So, I was obviously stoked to see these chips as an available option from Neal Brothers Foods.  As I greedily consume these Spicy Srirachup Kettle Chips, I am constantly reminded of the act of dipping really good, spiced fries (think curly fries from Arby’s) into that sweet heat concoction comprised of Sriracha and ketchup.  Seriously, it is spot on and I cannot describe them any better.
    Now, we must introduce the beer.  For those of you who may be unfamiliar with this offering, Bell’s Brewery Oatsmobile Ale is a Session Pale Ale brewed with oats.  The addition of those oats adds a creamy texture to the more expected pale malt and bright hoppy characteristics of the American Pale Ale.  That velvety texture makes you take more notice of the beer’s malt sweetness, and this works with the chips by bringing out the sweet tomato character of the ketchup.  The tropical hop notes then sync up with the chilies of the Sriracha, making you experience more than just heat.  Those hops force the chilies to bloom and expose their fruity and vegetal flavors.  That texture then reveals that it can pull double duty by making you believe that you have a much larger beer here to tackle the huge flavor of these chips, but still remains light enough on its feet to keep you sipping without the worry of getting weighed down throughout the experience.  This Oatsmobile Ale and Spicy Srirachup Kettle Chip combo just might be a perfect pairing.
  • Pairing Alternatives – If you are a fan of all things spicy, you are going to get a progressively more intense experience the hoppier you go with the pairing.  If you want to stay light but go a step further than a Pale Ale, a Session IPA like Stone Go To IPA from Stone Brewing Co. will do some good things here.  You can go full on IPA with a brew like Jai Alai® India Pale Ale from Cigar City Brewing or step it up big time with a Double IPA such as Snake Handler Double India Pale Ale from Good People Brewing Company.  Feeling adventurous? Pour up a Chili Beer such as Dia de los Serranos Double Stout from Green Flash Brewing Co. or Ghost Face Killah from Twisted Pine Brewing Company.  For those who may want to quell the heat and bring out more of the sweetness from the ketchup, you won’t go wrong in pairing these chips with a fine American Porter like Edmund Fitzgerald Porter from Great Lakes Brewing Co.

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Tasting Notes Pairing: Neal Brothers Montreal Steak Spice Kettle Chips with Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale from Boulevard Brewing Co.

  • The Pairing – As I open up this bag of Montreal Steak Spice Kettle Chips and take big whiff of the exquisite aroma billowing forth, I cannot believe that this is the first time I have realized that Montreal steak spice is basically pastrami curing spice (some quick Googling proved my suspicions correct).  It is kind of crazy to think that it ultimately took a bag of chips for me to put this together, but the aromas and flavors in these chips are so pronounced and blatant that they make it unmistakable.  Garlic, chili flake and dill really pop in these chips, and a little coriander and mustard lingers in the background.  The hearty, meaty potato acts as a perfect replacement for the steak and provides a solid foundation beneath all of this savory spice.
    Since these chips are so big in flavor and incredibly complex, they need a beer dynamic enough to stand up to them.  My mind immediately went to Saison and one of the best out there is Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale from Boulevard Brewing Co.  This beer has a beautiful peppery quality that is immediately at home with the garlic, mustard and potato notes in these chips.  The citrusy and floral hop tones then mingle with the chili and dill, making them even more pronounced.  The coriander in the chips then kicks in to intensify the earthy qualities of the Saison.  Finally, the beer’s effervescence easily cleans the palate after each sip is complete, allowing you to fully experience every aspect of this combo with each chip and sip.  Absolutely lovely.  If you have been looking for a way to get high-class with beer and snack chips, you just found it.
  • Pairing Alternatives – A wide variety of easy-drinking lagers will work incredibly well with these chips, but I’m going to stick with suggesting more complex brews to pair here.  Additional Saisons such as Saison Dupont from La Brasserie Dupont and Hennepin from Brewery Ommegang will act as fantastic stand-ins for Tank 7.  A Belgian-style Tripel would work as well, and I would go with La Fin du Monde from Unibroue or Tripel Karmeliet from Brouwerij Bosteels.  If mind-blowing complexity is your intention, snack on these chips while sipping a Sour Ale such as Oro de Calabaza from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales or Duchesse de Bourgogne from Brouwerij Verhaeghe.

The Wrap-Up – I cannot possibly relay to you how impressed I am with these ridiculously tasty Kettle Chips from Neal Brothers Foods.  They are not just fantastic chips, but they are truly incredibly good food.  As far as snacks go, they can curb some cravings and still remain pretty good for you thanks to their natural, non-GMO recipes.  It is obvious that no corners were cut in the creation of these Kettle Chips, and not one flavor was dumbed down for the sake of wide market appeal.  It is this component of huge flavors that makes these chips a perfect snack to be enjoyed alone or accompanied by a variety of fine beers.  The next time you need chips for a get-together you are hosting, be sure to swing by Whole Foods Market and delight your guests with the Kettle Chips of Neal Brothers Foods.  Prost!

 

Boulevard Brewing Co. Launches Cranberry Orange Radler

cor_12canBoulevard Brewing Co. (Kansas City, Missouri) recently announced that Cranberry Orange Radler has officially headed out to shelves as a new Seasonal release.

With Ginger Lemon Radler earning nearly instantaneous fan-favorite status when it first debuted in 2014, it was just a matter of time before Boulevard Brewing Co. took another swing at the wildly popular beverage known as the Radler.  Although some may give it recognition as a full-blown beer style while others may call it a beer cocktail, what can be said for sure is that the Radler is an ultra-thirst quencher that combines citrus juice or soda with an easy-drinking base beer.  This time around, Boulevard approaches this beverage by having Cranberry Orange Radler incorporate – spoiler alert – the refreshing flavors of cranberry and orange.  The citrus and slightly bready qualities of the base Unfiltered Wheat Beer get a boost thanks to a “blood orange character [that] boldly manifests in the flavor giving way to cranberry tartness.” Hazy and lightly pink in appearance, this brew comes together at just 4.05% ABV and 12 IBUs.

Cranberry Orange Radler officially became available in the Greater Kansas City area on Tuesday, October 11.  Other select cities within Boulevard Brewing Co.’s distribution area will see shipments of these 6-packs of 12 oz. cans soon.  The brewery did say the areas that previously received shipments of Ginger Lemon Radler stand the best chance of seeing cans of Cranberry Orange Radler (luckily, this includes areas of Alabama and Florida), and that fans should reach out to their local retailers, bars and distributors to request this seasonal offering.  Get on the phone or swing by your local, put in that request, and make it happen.  Prost!

Vital Information for Cranberry Orange Radler from Boulevard Brewing Co.

Release – Seasonal, launch in Mid-October 2016
Style – Radler
ABV – 4.05%
IBUs – 12
Aroma – Sweet orange with a hint of cranberry
Malt – Slightly sweet, bready flavor
Hops – Low bitterness and flavor
Balance – Bright citrus
Body – Light
Food Pairings – bleu cheese, roasted poultry, spiced pears & spinach salad
Availability – 6-packs of 12 oz. cans
Beer Finder – https://www.boulevard.com/beers/beer-finder/