Edit: It’s late July. The 29th, at that. Let’s get this review done.
Okay, it’s survey time! Serious question. Think about the last time you’ve had a dark wheat, a dunkelweizen, a light belgian dubbel, or something of the sort. Was it good? Probably didn’t live up to your expectations, did it?
There are a couple approaches to this problem, in my experience. Number one is to rethink the way you’re drinking on the beer. See my review of Boulevard’s Lunar to get a perspective on what I might be referring to – Gunar and I (twitter: @madgunn) went to Boulevard reasonably recently, and he planted a thought: “Dude, I drink Lunar when I want a light, enjoyable, easy summer beer – NOT when I want something rich and complex.”
It made perfect sense. And I realized something – I was committing one of my own fallacies – that of confusing color with how something is supposed to taste. By the way, I still want to start a marketing campaign for a brewery with the theme of “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” – but I digress.
It made sense, because if I approached Boulevard’s Lunar in a different light (or all the lights off, w00!), I would believe that it was a very pleasant, perfectly reasonable, easy-to-drink summer beverage that is completely non-offensive to even the least discerning beer drinker.
So let’s say you are looking for something a bit more interesting and complex. There’s a solution. It’s tried, tested, and true, and probably much more common than you thought.
Make your own.
No – I’m not talking about the whole ‘brew the barley, pitch the yeast’ routine (not routine for me! Kinda wish it was). I’m talking about combining our God-given ingredients into one glass. Think black + tan, but keep the black, replace the tan.
In Boulevard’s case, this is called a Thundercloud – Boulevard Dry Stout on top of Boulevard Wheat. If you are unfortunate enough to not be in Boulevard’s distribution area (only 12 states at this time), an Eclipse (Guinness, Blue Moon) is a reasonable substitute. Or, really, any nitro stout + unfiltered wheat.
What you get is a marvelous, dark malty cloud hovering over a heavier, delicious wheat, with opposition to each by the beer that is continually pervasive to each end of the glass. The combination is absolutely delightful, and is an astute combination of the lows of the stout and the somewhat tangy, dancing notes of the hefeweizen. A beautiful combination of both. Now how can something like that be beat?
Sure, you COULD drink this one all night. But you wouldn’t want to. At the end, it goes down way too easy, goes with just about everything, and those two combined will simply bring more trouble than it’s worth. Unless you’re brave. Or a true rockstar. Okay, my age is showing.
Now, of course this marvelous example can’t stay separated forever as opposites attract (Thank you, Paula Abdul). We end with a rich, satisfying amber exhibiting all of the qualities of a really good amber. Interesting.
So how does this variation on the classic concoction stack up?
- Originality within style (18): I’d be a little scared if a brewer came out with an ‘instant Black and Tan’ in a bottle. This is about as original as it gets. However, there are others (eclipse, etc) that can be concocted that are potentially just as good.
- Nose (15): Ever-changing is a good description. Something for everyone. Not overwhelming.
- Mouthfeel (19): Smooth, rich, and palatable. The stout is beautiful all the way back, and the hefeweizen gives it just enough noise.
- Character (18): This beer is certain to raise eyebrows from both beer enthusiasts and non-beer folk (yes, folk) alike. Certainly everyone will be curious about the end result. I’ll happily tell them to order their own and not be disappointed.
- Overall Quality (17): The only absolute thing that might possibly bring this mix down is the notes from each style canceling out desirable qualities from each other. Otherwise, expect a great experience for both the experienced and non-experienced alike.
- Total (87): I’ll drink this combination when I can’t decide on anything in particular.
Beer: Boulevard Dry Stout + Boulevard Wheat
ABV: Oh, I dunno, 5%ish
Brewer: Boulevard Brewing Co
Reviewed by: Jameson Huckaba (@jamesonhuckaba)