Beer Review 0252: Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat Beer

Kansas City, Missouri’s Boulevard Brewing Company just started distribution here in North Carolina, and I’m more than thrilled to get to review their beers. Founded in 1989 by John McDonald, Boulevard is the Midwest’s largest specialty brewer, producing 600,000 barrels of beer per year.

Boulevard started as a traditional Bavarian brewhouse on Southwest Boulevard in Kansas City. The first beer made, in 1989, was Boulevard Pale Ale, and Mr. McDonald delivered the first keg of it to a local restaurant.

In 2006, the brewery made major expansions, increasing from a modest 6,000 barrels to the aforementioned 600,000 barrels. Quite a jump!

Boulevard’s Unfiltered Wheat Beer is their most popular brew. Coming in at just 4.4% ABV (alcohol by volume), this is intended to be a session beer. The hops used are Bravo, Palisade, Simcoe, and Summit. The malt bill features Pale Malt, Wheat, and Wheat Malt. IBUs (International Bitterness Units) register at 14.

My first beer from Boulevard poured with an average size, soapy head that faded quickly. The beer was a typical wheat beer color, a pale yellow, and was definitely cloudy with light yeast sediment. The lacing was sparse and what was there was thin and not impressive.

The aromatics featured a nice balance between all ingredients, including a couple of surprises. Of course, there’s grainy and wheat malt in the forefront, along with a light citrus hoppy note. The yeast is doughy with hints of Band Aid. Overall, the aroma was very subdued — and with all of the yeast from the bottom of the bottle added, it takes on the scent of a mild pickle brine. Interesting.

On the palate, there was wheat, bread-like malt, a subtle touch of fruity orange hop, and a crisp, clean finish. There’s no bitterness or sweetness to be found here; just wheat and a twinge of orange, with a finish that lingers momentarily with some residual grain. Mouthfeel was thin and foamy. This is a light and refreshing brew.

Boulevard’s take on a wheat beer is above average, and it would make a fine session drink that is completely unoffensive, refreshing, and tailored to the light beer drinker. But, honestly, I’m looking forward to the more flavorful offerings. I could slam down a few of these and be satisfied, but I’m more than looking forward to the IPAs and Stouts.

Hey, chuck one of these at your fizzy macro lager drinking friends. It would probably blowout their palate.

Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat Beer, 78 points. Price: $1.79 US for one twelve ounce bottle.

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