First off, I owe you all an apology. Not only for the ineptitude of the writing that you are about to read, but for the fact that I have not subjugated your eyes and brains to said subpar musings in several weeks. If it makes you feel any better, I was recharging my beerteries (that’s beer batteries) at the Great American Beer Festival. Furthermore, it allowed me to pick up not only a wicked cold and hoarse voice (a Mitzvah for those that know me), but also the bottle of beer that I am reviewing herein. It’s time to enjoy Deschutes/Boulevard collaboration beer: Boulevard Brewing Company Collaboration No. 2 White I.P.A. [info]
It’s a collaboration!
Huh? One beer, two different names? Yes. What, you don’t trust me? Okay, I am oversimplifying. Boulevard Brewing out of Kansas City, MO and Deschutes Brewing out of Bend, OR got together, created a recipe for a beer, and then they went their merry ways and brewed the same beer on their own systems. The results were bottled separately and distributed in the individual brewers distribution chains. This is to say, people that don’t get Boulevard, won’t get the Boulevard version. People that don’t get Deschutes won’t get the Deschutes version. People that get both will get both, and laugh all the way to the beer bank. Oooh, wouldn’t it be awesome if there was a beer bank?
Anyway, I am reviewing the version I picked up in Denver, the Boulevard version, dubbed Collaboration 2. A lot of preamble to get to the review, but hey, I have to fill a column here. Of course the note I get every week is to “tighten it up”. But, my trainer says the same thing, and I ain’t listening to her either.
This is a beer that will divide my readers. And by divide, I don’t mean the normal divide between those that really hate me, and sort of hate me, but rather those who agree that this beer is worthy of your dough and those that think I am full of beans. I like the idea that brewers make beers that are different, challenging and hard to get your head around. It may not be the best economical decision, but on such a small run beer, I am sure they’ll be fine.
What is it?
Collaboration 2 is a “White IPA”. They have taken a Wit beer and mated it with an IPA, and this is the love child. The two individual beers should have used protection. But, I’m not here to preach. What are we left with? We’re left with a beer that very much does what it says it will. There is nothing about this beer that doesn’t feel like an IPA, nor any part that doesn’t feel like a Wit.
I poured this one into a tapered Weizen Beer glass I “stole” from my buddy Grant’s bar in San Diego (Rancho Bernardo) Urge Gastropub’s 1st Anniversary. Yes, that was a cheap plug, but he deserves it. They say on the bottle pour it into a tulip, and you would not go wrong with that either, but I was looking for a more concentrated aroma.
[quote align=right]Pouring this beer is akin to dropping Mentos into a bottle of Coke. This is a foamy son of a bitch. It’s by no means a gusher, but it definitely has that huge, pillow-y head you’d expect from a wheat beer. It’s a nice hazy orange color, truly a beautiful beer. The cloudy haziness reflects the glow of the ambient light. It’s a perfect sunny day beer, as it radiates back the sun. This is not a beer for vampires. Thank God. They don’t need any more people catering to them. If I hear one more person rave over how great True Blood is, I am going to … well, do nothing, but I won’t like it.
The taste and the smell
As I mentioned, I really wanted to get a nice aroma on this. Given the IPA and the Wit combination, I expected a ton of aroma- mostly citrus, with some definitive notes of spice. Well, lookie there, I am right. This is not a criticism, but I smell exactly what I think I will. An overwhelming rush of citrus comes through. Perhaps pine too, but I am apt to give the victory to the sage and the coriander flooding my olfactory glands. Such a description is not considered ideal, but I have always enjoyed it, and likely mislabeled it, but I find this to be somewhat soapy. It’s sudsy and aromatic. Plus, I feel it really moisturized my skin.
The carbonation is in for the long haul. It’s very carbonic, little bubbles rushing to the top of the glass for as long as they can. Each sip brings a beautiful cascade of these through to your tongue, and upon resetting the glass, you are left with a perfect coverage of lacing. (Yay, my beer glasses are clean!)
Flavor wise, I get a really nice citrus note from the hops. Yes, there’s that orange peel too, but this can, depending on the sip, lean onto the more dank grapefruit bitter citrus that the slightly sweet orange rind citrus. Again, there’s a definite debate going on here. Hell, there’s a lot going on here.
Coriander and hops dance through the middle and there is a residual bitterness, an acidic edge, with coriander lingering as well. Having had the Deschutes Version Conflux No. 2, I can say they have much in common, though I find Boulevard’s effort to be less sage forward. Neither here nor there in terms of good vs. bad, but a noticeable difference to my palate at least. Hey, beer, I get it, you’re foamy. Halfway into this one, I still have an ice cream cone sized clump of foam in the middle. This beer is pretty dense.
Here’s where we get into the division of the drinker. Combining a Wit and an IPA is tough, as wits are known for spicing – adjunct heavy, with their dosage of orange peel and coriander. However, IPA’s, with their hops add a spice that can add such character (without being an adjunct) to beer. So, these work great together, but those wanting an IPA will feel there’s not enough bitterness and those Wit fans might miss the smaller body, the less acidic twang.
This is one of those beers that rewards the people that treat beer with care, who savor it as they would wine, or a glass of good champagne. It’s a beer that is good at first, but better with every subsequent drink. It’s like a group of kids running around, all rambunctious. It’s only when you flick the lights on and off a few times that they finally line up. Then the spice comes in line, and the orange peel melds with the citrus lemony zest of the hops. It becomes elegant, and now the wheat-y body comes through, soft, almost creamy, with a nice base for a very interesting palate of flavors on top.
Here is a 10 minute beer. Let it warm. Maybe, it’s not a great bar beer, but great for conversation, great for nice restaurants. Pour this one in your glasses, talk about Occupy Wall Street, and 10 minutes later, savor the showcase of hops, flavor, and spice.
[quote2]This beer is not an easy one to love, but treat it gently, savor it, and you’ll be rewarded with an elegant beer that pairs the best of a true Wit with the most elegant elements of a balanced IPA. Either brewery’s version you get is good, and this is one of those party beers I recommend bringing to a friend’s gathering instead of wine. Like it, love it, or loathe it, the very act of tasting it is proof to the former non-beer drinker that beer is much more than they ever imagined.
Alright, Jacey’s thirsty, and I can’t have my BAC dip too low. Now, get off my lawn. See you next week. I have a hunch we’ll be talking pumpkin beers. And, if not, sue me.