Boulevard has a new kid on the block. Okay, well, kind of new. They released a Pilsner-style lager just in time for the summer heat to hit – which, admittedly, in Kansas, it never really did. But I digress.
This is the second lager Boulevard has done, with the rest of their beers being ales, with the exception of Bob’s 47 (to be reviewed soon – their fall seasonal appeared in stores/bars around Labor Day). It is a pilsner in the Czech style – full-bodied, absolutely no adjunct ingredients, clear on the palate, and hops that taste like the Czech-sourced Saaz variety.
Boulevard says this beer is reminiscent of the pilsners that were produced in Kansas City in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by the Muehlebach Brewing Co., and calls it a ‘Genuine American Lager’ – they would certainly be correct. Pilsner Lagers gained notoriety in the early 19th century as German immigrants brought over their preferred style of beer and, in the midst of the American Industrial Revolution, the lighter lager became exceedingly popular for the working class. The move away from porters and English-style bitter ales to the pilsner lager wouldn’t soon be reversed until the microbrewery boom of the 1980’s and 1990’s.
I’m glad Boulevard, known for their Americanized versions of Belgian-style ales, decided to produce such a beer, as it allows our Budweiser drinkers to try something intimately familiar but much, much better. They’ve done an excellent job of not skimping on ingredients, and choosing to not include any adjuncts in this excellent example of the pilsner. To complete the look and feel, it comes in an open-top six pack, longneck bottles, and pry-off caps rather than the twist-off ones they typically use for their year-round selection.
And now for the breakdown:
- Originality within style (17): A solid example of what a good Pilsner should be. Not exactly original, but that’s not a bad thing. A balanced score to compensate.
- Nose (18): Within the style, smells like barley and hops. Hard to beat.
- Mouthfeel (16): Full-bodied but light on the palate Pilsner. Not much initial character to ‘choke down’ as it hits your mouth.
- Character (16): You’re going to taste a bit of lime and orange – closer to a good Mexican lager than most beers of this genre. Very understated – quite well balanced. Boring enough to reign in the domestic drinkers.
- Overall Quality (17): Boulevard does an excellent job creating a mass-appeal package for Boulevard’s pilsner, and a unique label that strays away from their typical motif design – perfect for the style and the target audience they’re trying to reach.
- Total (84): A great American Pilsner Lager with a respectable score.
Beer: Boulevard Pilsner
ABV: 5% (or so)
Brewer: Boulevard Brewing Co, Kansas City
Availability: Year-round, Kansas City area
Reviewed by: Jameson Huckaba (twitter: @jamesonhuckaba)