Beer Review 0253: Boulevard Single-Wide IPA

If you missed my Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat review (78 points), the midwest’s largest specialty brewer has just started distributing in my home state of North Carolina.

Boulevard started as a traditional Bavarian brewhouse on Southwest Boulevard in Kansas City. The first beer made, in 1989, was Boulevard Pale Ale, and John McDonald, the founder, 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!

While I did enjoy the Unfiltered Wheat, which is Boulevard’s most popular offering, I’m really excited to move onto their more flavorful beers. The brew up for review today is their year-round IPA, called Single-Wide, and it comes in at 5.7% ABV (alcohol by volume). The hops used are Bravo, Cascade, Centennial, Citra, CTZ, and Palisade — some of those hops are used in dry-hopping. Malt bill: Amber, Cara 50, Munich, Pale Malt, and Wheat Malt. The IBUs (International Bitterness Units) register at 57, average for a single IPA.

The pour made for a huge head that certainly would have billowed over the top of the glass had I let it — stark white rocky and frothy foam atop a golden-orange brew. The body was hazy with a light yeast sediment floating throughout. The lacing was excellent, leaving thick patches that started just as soon as the head began to fade away.

On the nose, the hops dominate, but it’s not overwhelming or something I would classify as a hop bomb. The overall hop profile is fairly complex; citrus (lemon and orange) led the way, with background notes provided by grapefruit, grass, and some light tropical fruits (mango especially). There was a light malt background in the form of some grains — to the nose, this was equal parts sweet and bitter.

To the palate, Single-Wide IPA delivers orange and grapefruit up front, with a light smattering of tropical fruit. The bitterness hits in the middle of the taste and is light, but holds steady to the finish, which comes on grassy with touches of grapefruit rind. Mouthfeel was medium-bodied, foamy and with a drying effect that made this a refreshing sip, preparing the mouth for more after each swallow.

What Boulevard have made here is a great everyday IPA — the price is right, the ABV is right, and the flavors are great with a high drinkability. While there’s no new ground broken here, this is just a solid brew you can feel secure about when you go into your bottle shop to buy some session brews.

Boulevard Single-Wide IPA, 91 points. Price: $1.79 US for one twelve once bottle.

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