Beer Review 0269: Boulevard Long Strange Tripel
After reviewing Boulevard’s Dubbel (Nommo, 89 points), we had to do their Long Strange Tripel, brewed in dedication to their longest tenured employee.
When Boulevard started up in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1989, they hired Harold “Trip” Hogue, a collector of old Volvos. Brewing with old, retried equipment, Mr. Hogue did the necessary tinkering to get the ancient machinery working, and the beer flowing.
Boulevard describes this rich and golden Tripel as a tribute to dedication — we’re not absolutely sure, but that might be Mr. Hogue on the bottle.
Brewed to 9% ABV (alcohol by volume — although, the Boulevard website says this is actually 9.2%), Long Strange Tripel is part of the brewery’s “Smokestack Series,” and is one of the four beers within the collection that is available in four-pack twelve ounce bottles. Boulevard list each ingredient for every beer on its website, something I know I like to see, so without further ado: malts and adjuncts – dextrose, Honey Naked oats, malted wheat, Munich 15 EBC, and Pale malt. The hops used are Perle, Simcoe, and Tradition. This Belgian-style beer presents itself with only 23 IBUs (International Bitterness Units).
Long Strange Tripel poured with a large collar of creamy, foamy, fluffy, and frothy bright white head, formed atop a nice bright golden beer. The body was hazy and filled with light particles, and the lacing was fair, leaving behind a few patchy bits of froth. Overall, a very classic looking Tripel, with a nice amount of head regeneration when the glass is agitated.
On the nose, wow. Classic Tripel, indeed! Loads of ripe banana, clove, and a smidgen of bubblegum. An incredible sweet malt backbone; some caramel, bready notes, and lots of orange peel. This is teamed with an abundance of spicy hops, and a doughy, bread-like yeast. Absolutely nothing wrong with this beer, so far.
Hitting the palate, there’s a huge note of clove up front, mixed with banana and blanketed with a nice malty sweetness. There was also plenty of active yeast to be had here; a nice bit of orange peel, and it all led to a finish of candied orange, clove, and banana. This beer is medium-bodied with a foamy and gritty mouthfeel, thanks to the lively carbonation.
Oh boy. Folks, I loved this beer — I did find it a bit too sweet, and a bit dry, but this took me back to my days of first experimenting with Belgian beers. I love the Tripel style, and this is a great representation of it. One of Boulevard’s best, for sure — I highly encourage you to find this and pour it in your favorite glass as fast as you can.
Boulevard Long Strange Tripel, 96 points. Price: $2.79 US for one twelve ounce bottle.