There I was. There I was. There I was* at Cardinal Liquors once again for another look around. Two trips up and down the aisle netted nothing of interest except toward the front where I started. A giant bottle was staring out from the back of a niche in the top row. It was a collaboration beer by Boulevard Brewing out of Kansas City, Missouri and Odell Brewing out of Fort Collins, Colorado. The beer was their collaboration and it was their Silver Anniversary Ale. The beer celebrates the first kegs of beer sold to stores by both breweries 25 years ago.
I grabbed my phone (a hand-me-down from one of the kids) and brought up Rate Beer. No entry. Then Beer Advocate. That’s where I got the style of this beer, an American Strong Ale. Hmm. I’ve had that style before but I forget which beer it was.
The Silver beer would do nicely but I winced at the price. It may be a limited release edition but 14 bucks was a little steep I thought. I chalked it up to Christmas expenses and left it at that.
The bottles presented a slight problem. These corked and caged monsters don’t quite fit in the kitchen fridge. I’d have to finesse them into the indentations in the top behind the fridge light on an angle. I hoped the wife wouldn’t bitch. She was doing some holiday baking and the beer may be taking up “too much room” in the fridge. Not a peep. I was fortunate this time.
Beer time approached and I freed up the first bottle from the fridge. I worked at the cork briefly and it popped with nice sound and the cork landed on top of the printer.
The beer poured with a lighter brown color than I expected and brought up a two-finger head of thick, creamy, beige suds. When held up to the light, the color was more of a reddish-brown. Carbonation was rather vigorous rising up from the nucleation spot at the bottom. The aroma was of rather light malts as what someone would expect from a pale ale or sweet lager. Odd.
The first sip was very pleasant. There was a medium mouthfeel and a nice, malty sweetness throughout the sip. The ride down the gullet was slightly crisp owing to the carbonation. No hop flavors jumped out.
It was hard to liken the taste of this beer to any other that I’ve had. My memory was blank. The closest style that comes to mind is an ESB, but I haven’t had a beer of that style in quite some time. The malt sweetness and after-flavors reminded me of some other beer, but I couldn’t remember what it was. Oh, wait. It just popped in! Lagunitas Hairy Eyeball and Stone’s Lukcy Basartd comes to mind. They are similar and perhaps a bit more beefy. So much for side by side comparisons.
The malts carry this beer. The sweet is designed into that. Slight hints of caramel and a wisp of red fruit at the swallow. The beer went down super easy. Too bad this beer didn’t come in quarts. It begs to be imbibed in quantity.
Floral hops may have added to the sweetness at the end, but I think that a bunch of crystal malt was blended with the base malt to get the wheels rolling. I can’t even venture a guess on what hops were used or how much.
The beer tasted well balanced with no one flavor dominating, except that the sweetness really stood out in every sip. Not too much, but pleasant. It was the kind of beer that you could drink until you lose muscle coordination. It was a damn good beer, in my opinion.
The only reason to not like this beer may be the price, even though it comes in a 750ml bottle. The beer weighs in at 7.3% alcohol which is decent, but there are many others out there by other breweries which are comparable on all levels but cheaper at the register. Lagunitas comes to mind.
But I’m glad I bought this beer. It gave me challenge to identify the ingredients and it tried to jog my memory. I enjoyed every sip and it would be enjoyed by anyone who loves a good malty beverage. It’d make for a great Christmas gift. But not for anyone in the B/M/C crowd. The ladies would like it.
If you see it on the shelves, give careful consideration to your finances before you make your decision. But if you truly like American dark ales, then by all means, pick up a 750 or two.
Style: American Strong Ale
Taste: Sweet and malty with a nice beery finish.
Smoothness: Each sip glides right down.
Drinkability: Like pistachios… if you try one, you’ll want a lot more.
Bang for the buck: I feel it’s about a buck or two too high.
Amount paid: $13.99 per 750ml corked and caged bottle.
Get it again? I’ll look for it to go on the clearance table.
Brewer’s website: Boulevard – Odell
Wife’s all-encompassing opinion: (Sniff.) It smells mild. (sip)… (sip)…Honey? Little bit maybe. (sip) It’s not bad actually. A tad dry but not lingering. Has just enough bitterness to let you know its beer. (I should have let her write the review.)
Silver Anniversary Ale [2:34]
*There I was [0:30]