Boulevard – Tank 7
Saison / Farmhouse Ale
Boulevard Brewing Co. – Kansas City, Missouri
Boulevard Brewing makes its second appearance on the countdown with, simply put, one of the best beers made in America, and one that’s quickly becoming a flagship of the brewery. When I was in Kansas City over the summer for a bachelor party and Boulevardia, Tank 7 was on tap just about everywhere I went (and I mean Ev. Er. Y. Where.), and it was nearly impossible to turn down at least one glass.
Tank 7 is deep gold with a light orange tint, with a lot of haze but no sediment, clearing as the beer settles. An inch-plus of pure white bubbly foam sits on top and lasts a while. The nose is lightly doughy malt and then a blast of fruit hop aromas: grapefruit, lemon, mango, papaya, honeydew, and lime, with the mango most prominent. There are strong peppery-spicy phenols from the Saison yeast. The flavor profile is similar, with mango and papaya most prominent and a backing of lemon-lime citrus. The peppery phenols are high in the mix. All very complex and very bright. The beer is extraordinarily dry, well-attenuated, with enough sweetness up front to hold up the big hop bite on the back end. The deceptively big body is almost hidden by the dryness and carbonation, allowing this beer to sneak up and kick you sideways. This stands with any of the best Belgian-made Saisons.
Saisons will pair well with just about any food, with some of the best being fatty terrines, pates, and sausages, along with rich cheeses. Fresh seafood, including sushi, will be a great match along as the fish is not too delicate (the carbonation may overwhelm it then.) Since this beer has higher alcohol and body and huge carbonation, even richer versions of any of the above (sushi with cream or mayo-based sauces, spicier sausages, etc.) will make for a fantastic pairing. This beer backs down to no one and no thing!
Tank 7 should be poured into a tulip or chalice at about 45-50 degrees, and it tends to be foamy, so pour slowly!
Boulevard continues to be a phenomenal interpreter of Belgian styles, and their business relationship with Duvel Moortgat is a perfect partnership. Read about other Boulevard beers at entry #23, which discusses their Bourbon Barrel Quad and Sixth Glass, both phenomenal as well.
JAB – 12/22/15