My beer fridge was getting deathly empty. I’d really like to have a whole bunch of different craft beers when people come over to visit or for when I just want to chill with some good taste. Plus, I needed a selection for the Saturday review. The Friday beer run would hopefully accomplish both tasks depending on how deep my wallet was. I also needed a goto beer, one for Friday night after work and the Morris Beer Store was the only place in town that had what I needed. A Belgian Dubbel.
At the MBS, I was looking for either Goose Island’s Pere Jacques or Ommegang’s Abbey Ale. The PJ was nowhere to be found and I wondered if it was me who drank up all their available sixpacks over the past weeks. Luckily, Ommegang had a decent presence on the shelf with four-packs of Hennepin, Three Philosophers and Abbey Ale. The Abbey Ale took care of Friday night.
A trip to the Four Seasons and their great selection would be next. Once inside, I went right to the cooler. I was looking for Two Brothers Outlaw IPA, something relatively new from the brewery which was recommended by a guy at work. No such luck.
Being in the mood for a good IPA, I found myself looking at the Boulevard section. Their Double-Wide IPA kinda winked at me. I chose a bottle for label inspection and noted that the beer weighed in at 8.5%. It was part of their Smokestack Series of beers and I liked the fact that there was a best-by date imprinted on the glass. This would do nicely for Saturday night.
Saturday rolled in with temps in the low 90s and I was in my element out in the Manly Garage with the window fan blowing what remaining hair I have left and keeping me nice and cool.
The rather mundane day was happily interrupted with a one-hour trip to downtown Morris and the first of the Morris Cruise Nights. Pics will be presented on Monday, stay tuned.
Back home, it was beer time. I selected the DFH signature glass and grabbed the first chilled bottle of Double-Wide, part of Boulevard’s Smokestack series of beers.
The beer poured a dark orange color, almost brown and presented me with a thick foam head two inches tall. The head was like orange sherbet, much lighter in color that the body of the beer. The carbonation was vigorous with billions of mixed sized bubbles. The aroma held some apricot scents to let me know what I was in store for. This just might be good.
The first sip went in and went down with a rasp. The medium bodied beer seemed to be the vehicle for the hops which wreaked their havoc (Wreak Havoc… great name for a band) at the back of the throat. These first few sips revealed little in the true character of the hops but I couldn’t discern any floral or citrusy flavors from the git-go.
Halfway through the first glassful (nice lacing,) the hoppiness seemed to smooth out while becoming slightly more pronounced at the same time. Looked like I had an all hop show in the glass. It wasn’t that the beer tasted unpleasant, it was the boldness and in-yer-face crudeness of the bitter elements. My impression was that the liquid was merely a vehicle for the delivery of hop bitterness.
This from the label on the back:
Hops rip the roof off Double-Wide IPA, their aroma redolent of apricot and piney woods. Caramel malts balance a whirlwind of citrusy bitterness, winding down to a long serene finish.
On the front label:
It’s Twister Proof.
I understood the play on words of how trailer parks are magnets for tornadoes. Redolent? Apricot? No. The word redolent means strongly smelling, and deep into the first glass I still only got a hint of apricot, let alone any other citrus fruit flavors from the nose or the palate. But then again, I did have the fan blowing at me. The caramel malts gave this beer its body and its rather dark color, but any sweetness was paltry to my taste buds.
Checking the BJCP guidelines for an IPA, I found that the 8.5% alcohol could qualify this beer as an Imperial IPA towards the low end of the scale. Boulevard’s website goes into admirable detail on what went into this beer as far as ingredients are concerned. They classify this beer as a Double IPA, which is pretty much the same thing.
Not one single sip gave me the impression that this beer was 8.5% ABV. No fusel tastes and no stomach space heater. The beer had a decent malt backbone to it designed to carry the hop bitters right to the tonsils and beyond.
What I hankered for was that synergy between the hops and the malts where one complements the other. A slight sweetness, a bit if citrus and a nice gentle slap to the throat. Bell’s Hopslam and 3 Floyds’ Arctic Panzer Wolf deliver this malt/hop synergy along with the sweetness and fruit that make for great taste.
Boulevard’s Double-Wide IPA is what it says although I’m sure the marketing guys added their own fluorish to the back label (Redolent… whirlwind… long, serene finish.) The beer has a decent malt body and mouthfeel but lacks in the “other perks” category with scarce sweetness. The hops deliver the bang as promised but they taste separate and apart from the malts that brought them here.
Boulevard makes many great beers. Their Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale and their The Sixth Glass Barley Wine Style Ale are world-class beers. The Double-Wide IPA beer seemed to me to be the beer that “meets minimum requirements” in the IPA style. Maybe some Citra hops or more Cascade. Maybe some sweet malts along with the Caramel. Don’t forget that I’m not an expert when it comes to judging beers. I just know what I like.
Personally, I don’t feel as if I’ve wasted 11 bucks of my hard-earned money on this beer. I chalk it up as a learning experience and the further defining of my palate when it comes to the DIPA style. If you are a hophead as I’ve become, you’ll like this beer because it delivers the hops with full force. But if you’re more into smooth edges and slick finishes with a juicebox as a chaser, this beer may be a little brash and bold.
Taste: Like a mullet. All business up front with a party in the back.
Smoothness: Smooth asphalt, then a gravel road.
Drinkability: You’ll drink the last bottle in a few days.
Bang for the buck: 11 bucks’ worth of hops in each bottle.
Paid price: $10.99
Wife’s all-encompassing opinion: Cloudy. More brown than… (sniff) Real apricotty smell. (sip) Oh, oh! Yeah, burnt wood. Very bitter, very dry. No more. (QUICK! Get some chocolate!)
Boulevard Brewmaster on Double-Wide IPA
BeerTap TV reviews Double-Wide These guys are something else.