Posted September 13, 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. Everything is fair game! Go!
- Jeremy Danner, Ambassador Brewer
Yep! Unfiltered Wheat Beer serves as the base beer for Ginger Lemon Radler, the now retired Cranberry Orange Radler and the brand new, super delicious Tart Apple Radler. Following fermentation, our brewers transfer Unfiltered Wheat Beer to one of our horizontal blending tanks and add the fruit juices and deaerated carbonated water (essentially making the soda portion as we blend) to create each Radler. Unfiltered Wheat Beer makes a great base because it's naturally citrusy, but since it doesn't feature any hoppy or heavy malt character, it's a great vehicle for ginger & lemon or tart apple notes.
When it comes to informing your brain of what you're tasting in beer (food, other drinks, etc), aroma plays a HUGE role. Our sense of taste can only detect five main flavors (sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami) and the rest of what we perceive as flavor/taste is filled in by the aromas we detect. I can't recall exactly how long ago it was, but back when I was still on the brewhouse at BLVD, we hosted a Spiegelau glassware seminar in the Muehlebach Suite at the brewery. If you're not familiar with their style-specific glassware, you should definitely check them out. The point of the seminar (besides serving as a selling point for their glassware) was to demonstrate that the shape/architecture of a beer glass could vastly change/improve the way the beer smells/tastes. I'll be 100% honest, heading into this, I knew that drinking beer out of something other than a pint glass was a step up, but I questioned just how much difference these uniquely shaped glasses would make. Well, man. I was wrong. The first beer we tasted side-by-side in a standard shaker pint and then in their special glass was Unfiltered Wheat Beer and I was absolutely blown away by how their wheat beer glass made a beer I'd drank hundreds of times explode from the glass. It was seriously like drinking Unfiltered Wheat Beer for the first time. As the seminar went on, instead of pouring half of each beer into the pint glass and half into the fancy glassware, everyone began pouring most (if not all) of each beer into the Spiegelau glass.
If investing in a set of style-specific glassware isn't your thing, at the very least select a tulip glass or even a pint-ish glass that curves inward at the top. Anything you can do to direct more aroma to your nose will result in richer flavor and greater enjoyment.
Since we don't necessarily capture/harvest wild yeast strains at Boulevard, I can't speak to that side of it as much, but I can talk about how we manage our yeast stock. Each time we bring a new yeast strain into the brewery, our microbiologist slants samples to be stored in our -85 C deep freeze. Keeping slants of our yeast stock preserved this way gives us the ability to truly take ownership of your yeast program and makes propagating strains for use in beers incredibly easy and convenient as opposed to buying a pitchable volume of yeast each time we'd like to use a yeast strain that isn't currently in one of our tanks.
As far as reusing goes, we typically harvest our English ale strain (used in beers like Unfiltered Wheat Beer, Pale Ale, Single-Wide IPA) from tanks of Unfiltered Wheat Beer following fermentation. For our house Belgian strain (used in beers like Tank 7 and The Sixth Glass), we harvest from batches of Tank 7. We avoid harvesting from batches of beer that are darker in color or super hop forward because that color or hop character might present in the beer into which we pitch the yeast. For storage of yeast for future batches, we have yeast brinks (stainless vessels that are cold/under slight positive pressure) that we use to hold yeast. We also pitch yeast into the wort line from these tanks.
I think it's cool! As regulations around the country ease up to allow homebrewers to pour their beers at festivals and tastings, it's exciting for me to get try to a HUGE variety of beers from area homebrewers. The trouble with any beer fest, though, is that there are so many beers from dozens of breweries to try that it's easy for things to run together. If a homebrewer, especially one looking to go pro, has a strong brand identity that they successfully communicate/execute at a festival, it allows beer drinkers to draw a through line from homebrewed/test batches at festivals to the final beers they might brew as a commercial brewery. I would say, though, that you should always invest in the best brewing equipment you can afford before buying a sweet pop-up tent and a jockey box cover for events. This rings true for homebrewers and commercial brewers. The beer is the main thing.
Personally, I LOVED the first round of TEST - Brut IPA we had on in the Beer Hall. And given how quickly we poured through the beer, I think it's safe to say that I'm not alone in thinking that. If I were a betting man, I'd say it would be smart to bet that we'll brew another round of Brut IPA. Definitely keep an eye on our social media feeds as well as the BLVD Tours & Rec page...
You know, a spruce tip IPA is something we've never brewed. While we don't currently have one in the works, we're definitely a "never say never" type brewery.
Want to discuss any of the above in more detail or have follow up questions or comments? Hit me up on Twitter: @Jeremy_Danner