Smokestack Series FAQ
You have questions. We have beer.
We like to think our Smokestack Series beers speak for themselves, but just in case, we’re offering responses to a few of the most-often asked questions on our favorite subject.
- What makes the Smokestack Series different from other Boulevard beers?
- Where does the name “Smokestack Series” come from?
- Will there be more Smokestack beers?
- Where are Smokestack beers brewed and packaged?
- What are the ingredients in Smokestack beers?
- Where can I find Smokestack Series beers?
- Are Smokestack beers available on tap?
- What does the batch number on a Smokestack bottle represent?
- Can you cellar Smokestack beers?
- How do I properly store my Smokestack beers?
- What’s the best way to open a Smokestack bottle?
- What is the correct way to serve a Smokestack beer?
- Why do Smokestack beers have so much foam?
- Why is there sediment in a Smokestack bottle?
- Why are Smokestack beers packaged in big bottles?
The Smokestack Series is a special collection of bigger, bolder, more complex brews that generally possess a higher alcohol content than our core brands, perfect for sipping or sharing.
Rising high above our original, turn-of-the-century brewery, the old brick smokestack stood silent but faithful watch through decades of rapid and often extraordinary change. When our recent expansion allowed us to fulfill a long-held dream – creating a line of bold new beers, modern riffs on traditional styles – it seemed only fitting to christen them the Smokestack Series.
Alive and evolving, the Smokestack Series will grow and develop as our brewers continue to explore the more esoteric realms of their craft. Presently, the Series consists of four year-round brews, several seasonal offerings, and various limited release beers – but keep your eyes open.
We brew and ferment all Smokestack beers right here at the brewery. Some limited release barrel-aged beers may condition for months or years at an off-site location with naturally cool and consistent climatic conditions. The beers are packaged on our dedicated Smokestack bottling line at our facility just a few blocks down the street from the brewery.
Like our core beers, Smokestack beers are made from the four primary ingredients: malted barley, hops, yeast, and water. Depending on the brand, we may employ additional ingredients such as wheat, candy sugar, spices, etc. Specific yeast strains are sometimes used to impart distinct flavor and aroma characteristics, and certain limited release beers are aged in wood barrels. For a complete list of ingredients for each beer, check out the individual beer pages.
The Smokestack Series can be found in retail establishments like restaurants, bars, liquor stores and grocery stores. To find the retailer closest to you, try our Beer Finder.
Currently, Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale, The Calling and Tell-Tale Tart are the only year-round Smokestack Series brew that are available on tap in retail outlets . Varied amounts of seasonal Smokestack beers are available in select markets as well, and we do our best to have special selections tapped in our Tasting Room for brewery visitors to enjoy.
The batch number consists of a letter or number indicating the brand, followed by the Julian date when the beer was bottled. For example, 70071 is a bottle of Tank 7 (7) bottled in 2010 (the first 0) on March 12th (071, the 71st day of the year). We also provide a “Best By” date (mo/yr) underneath the batch number, in this case 03/11. The beer is not necessarily bad after expiration, but may have passed its prime. Seasonal and limited release beers also have a Best By date, but instead of a bottling date, a batch number. For example, 2010-1 on a bottle of Rye-on-Rye is used for the first batch bottled in 2010. The Best By date is 01/13, indicating that we believe this beer can be aged for up to three years.
Smokestack beers are bottle conditioned and generally respond well to limited cellaring. However, we believe that the prime drinking window for most year-round and seasonal Smokestack beers is from three to nine months after bottling, when the flavors have fully developed and harmonized. Our limited release and barrel-aged Smokestack beers, on the other hand, have a “best by” date of approximately three years, and can benefit from more extend aging. We recommend cellaring your beer upright, in a cool, dark, dry location.
If you plan on consuming your bottles fairly soon, we recommend storing them upright in a consistently cool spot (like, say, a refrigerator). If you are planning on hanging on to the beer for a while for a special occasion, please refer to the above question.
In general, open a Smokestack beer as you would a bottle of champagne. There are several methods, but we recommend removing the wire cage securing the cork, wrapping the bottle’s neck and cork in a dish towel, angling the bottle away from living creatures, taking hold of the cork with the towel, and gently twisting the bottle until the cork releases. Occasionally, cork removal can present more of a challenge. In those situations, try following the examples depicted in this YouTube video.
Smokestack beers are built for comfort, not for speed. Take your time and, if possible, use a style-specific glass designed to best express the specific aroma and flavor characteristics of the beer. If you don’t have the perfect glass, a stemmed, tulip-shaped vessel will serve the purpose, even an ordinary wine glass. If you would like to purchase a lovely and anatomically correct Smokestack Series glass from our Dry Goods store, click here.
Most Smokestack beers have relatively high levels of CO2 to balance the malty sweetness and to allow the flavors to “explode” across your taste buds. In barrel-aged beers, carbonation is kept more moderate to better pronounce the vanilla and toffee flavors imparted during wood aging. To properly decant a Smokestack beer, start by pouring gently into a glass held at an angle. Slowly straighten the glass to control the amount of foam. While your mouth savors the taste, your eyes can revel in the fluffy head that leaves telltale lacing on the glass as you enjoy it.
Smokestack beers are unfiltered to avoid stripping flavor from the beer. Besides yeast from the bottle conditioning, the bottom of a bottle may also hold some build-up of proteins. You can choose to avoid this sediment by decanting the bottle, leaving the last ½” or so in the bottle. If you don’t mind a cloudy, full-flavored beer, feel free to pour every last drop.
In many cultures, beer is a social experience underscored by quality rather than quantity. By packaging these beers in 750ml champagne bottles, we invite you to share these beers with family and friends, or to enjoy them with a meal. We do offer some Smokestack beers in four-packs of 12-ounce bottles because, well, sometimes you just want to enjoy a special beer all by yourself.