Single-Wide IPA: Boulevard makes a brew for little houses too
Boulevard Brewing out of Kansas City is one of my favorite breweries but until recently it wasn’t available in my area. As more distributers begin carrying these fine brews, it may be worth another look on the tap lists and shelves where you live to see if you can get your hands on some. Several offerings started showing up in Northeast Ohio this week, so I gladly placed them in my shopping cart.
Following the proper beer style progression, this review of Boulevard’s Single-Wide IPA could be considered a prequel to my review of their Double-Wide DIPA. Like the Double-Wide, a blend of hops is used for both bitterness and finish. Hop blends are not as on-trend as the single-hop offerings that many brewers are releasing lately, but they do have their place. I enjoy seeing what brewers can come up with using hop blends to balance their brew, and in this case Boulevard is right on the money. None of the hops come forward to independently identify themselves, but these selections lean toward the citrus side of the scale, with reserved pine notes and a whole lot of floral presence.
Hiding behind the pleasant hop bouquet is a malty body with lots of toasted bread presence. There is some malted wheat in the grain bill that adds complexity to the brew and helps blend seamlessly into a mild finish. The wheat addition also means excellent head retention, creating a low-density and foamy top that clings to the glass as it goes down.
As much as I enjoyed this beer, I do want to mention that it isn’t completely true to the IPA style. It finishes quite mildly, with a bitterness level more reminiscent of an ESB. The mild finish makes the palate a bit malt forward for an IPA, letting the caramel and toffee notes blend with the toasty malt presence. This doesn’t bother me one bit. Not being able to fit this beer cleanly into a category doesn’t take away from the fact that it is a very well-balanced and extremely enjoyable brew. I’m just glad I can now buy this and several other offerings from this unique brewery at my local bottle shop. Next time you’re at the beer store, keep an eye out for Boulevard!