Posted June 28, 2018
Each Wednesday, submit your burning Boulevard beer questions on Twitter, tagging @Boulevard_Beer and #WWKW. I'll sift through the questions and select my favorites to answer in a blog post that will be shared here each Thursday morning. Everything is fair game! Go!
- Jeremy Danner, Ambassador Brewer
First off, tasting all of the beers for Wort with Friends was an amazing experience and huge congratulations go out to Doug Chritton for his dry-hopped cucumber Saison! Out of 102 entries, we felt it was the very best beer and we're excited to brew it on our 35bbl pilot system. We'll serve the beer in our Beer Hall and enter it into the Great American Beer Festival Pro-Am Competition. Exciting stuff!
As far as advice to homebrewers goes, I'd say that the best thing you can do when starting out is to brew simple styles that you typically drink a lot of. When people ask me, "How do I tell if my beer is good?" I usually ask, "Do you like it? If so, it's good." Obviously there's a little more that goes into it than that, but if you start out brewing a simple American Pale Ale or ESB, there's not much going on to cover up off-flavors and you get a good idea if your beer is good because you have recent sense memories drinking commercial examples of the style. Being able to compare the two is quite helpful. If you start out brewing double-mashed imperial stouts that you age in whiskey barrels with vanilla beans and cinnamon sticks (which sounds delicious!), you really can't tell if the base beer you're producing is clean/free from off-flavors as there's so much going on that you might cover them up.
The second, slightly more advanced piece of advice that I'd offer is to invest in a way to control temperature during fermentation. Keeping your yeast happy and operating in an optimal temperature range is key to a good fermentation. If you're going all out, also invest in a way to perform step mashing. It really makes a difference.
I rolled through the brewhouse and cellars to get a pulse on this and all of our brewers said something different, but I can tell you that in the marketing department, we've been on this weird Christina Aguilera kick lately. We had to exorcise our demons the other afternoon and listen to What a Girl Wants and Genie in a Bottle just to make things right. Don't judge us, man.
Hey, thanks! I'm really digging Linkin' Up, so much so that we have it on tap in our marketing kegerator (yeah, that's a thing!) right now. I've also loved Zipline's version, Gettin' Down. They're such good people and their beers are fantastic. We immediately said "YES!" when they approached us about working together. Also, you need to watch this video the Zipline guys produced. It's nuts!
As far as other collabs go, folks ask this a lot and I feel like everyone is expecting a serious answer along the lines of, “We conduct research about potential partner breweries and do our best to make the most strategic choice and blah blah….”, but really, we make beer with people we like. For our most recent Collaboration with Arizona Wilderness and Creature Comforts, I shared this on our Brewer’s Blog:
Our friendship with Arizona Wilderness can be traced back to the second year of Boulevardia’s Taps & Tastes Experience. Given the complex nature of hosting breweries that don’t currently distribute to the state of Missouri, they were unable to pour their beer during the fest, but still attended as our guests to enjoy the weekend. The Arizona Wilderness boys (a way in which they often refer to themselves) became particularly smitten with Steven Pauwels (and who came blame them, really?) during the weekend and it’s safe to say the feeling was mutual. The following year, they were able to pour beer during the festival and impressed attendees (and brewery folks) with their inspired beers that pushed brewing boundaries while celebrating ingredients indigenous to Arizona.
We first met the Creature Comforts crew during a game of bocce ball played in Paso Robles during the Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Festival. Just the right amount of beer (and rosé) had been consumed that we decided to have a friendly wager on the match, our breweries. Fortunately for us, Team Boulevard was victorious and we didn’t have to turn the keys to our brewery over to our new friends from Georgia. In a moment of pure generosity later in the evening, Steven gave them their brewery back. Having become insta-friends, we spent a lot of time chatting, swimming, eating and of course drinking beers with the Creature Comforts folks during the weekend. Known for brewing an impressive range of styles with great technical accuracy, Creature Comforts is best known for their incredibly balanced yet juicy IPA, Tropicalia.
Want to discuss any of the above in more detail or have follow up questions or comments? Hit me up on Twitter: @Jeremy_Danner