We’re trying something new this week…welcome to the first installation of “Flight School,” a new mini-series within Pubcast Worldwide where we focus specifically on the beer! This week, we’re joined by Certified Cicerone Tino LaGamba of Boulevard Brewing as we taste and discuss a flight of 3 unique brews and the story behind this Kansas City brewery (but don’t worry, there are still drinking stories). We caught up with the Boulevard Road Trip crew as they made their way through Northern California in a flat-bed-truck-turned-camper-van-and-tap-room, which also happens to be the venue for this episode.
Boulevard Brewing – Kansas City, MO
Depending on where you live, there’s a high likelihood you’ve heard of Boulevard Brewing. Based out of Kansas City and founded in 1989 by John McDonald, they are pioneers in the American craft beer industry. You’ve probably heard of them for some of their most renowned brews like Tank 7 and Boulevard Wheat. While their brewery is located in KC, I happened to catch them while they were driving across the country in a Ford flat-bed truck with a 1950’s camper-turned-tap-room.
- This is Boulevard’s second time doing their West Coast Road Trip through the Southwest US, and a major upgrade from their old VW bus to the converted flat-bed and camper.
- Boulevard Brewing was started by John McDonald in 1989, and was one of the earlier breweries to be daring with their pale ales.
- Collaborations between breweries are huge right now. Tino gives us an overview of Boulevard’s approach to collaboration, and their most recent barrel program-driven collab with Firestone Walker.
- As we make our way through the Rye-on-Rye-on-Rye, we discuss the barrel-aging process, and how to protect a beer that’s aging for 3 years from spoiling.
- IBU range, ABV range, SRM color range…this is all stuff you gotta know as a cicerone! Tino goes over the details of becoming certified, and the various levels beyond that.
- “Purity Law” illustrates that you can only use 4 ingredients – water, yeast, hops, and grain – to brew beer.
- Tino had the opportunity to open a tap room with Sierra Nevada with Ken Grossman and Charlie Bamforth of UC Davis, and got to sit in on a conversation with these brewing greats. Getting some words of wisdom from some “crafty old vets” certainly counts as a drinking story!
- In keeping with the theme, Jim Koch and Sam Calagione from Sam Adams and Dogfish Head are 2 people he’d love to grab a beer with.
- Boulevard is about to launch a sour series, including a brown ale-based oud bruin lightly-aged in whiskey barrels, a hibiscus gose, and a to-be-named Berliner Weisse
Drinks of the Show:
- Boulevard Tropical Pale Ale – Part of the collaboration series with Cigar City in Tampa Bay, FL, a brewery known for their experimentation with fruit, the tropical taste is achieved through additions of fruit, grapefruit, and passion fruit that you taste up front, and a slightly bitter finish.
- The Calling Double IPA – 8.5% ABV – For a brewery that’s built their fame through the Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale, Belgian beers, and Boulevard Wheat, The Calling is one of the brewery’s first attempts at a Double IPA, and it’s been impressing consumers and critics alike. The beer includes 9 different types of hops, including Mosaic, Equinox, Galaxy, and Amarillo. Guava, pineapple, and grapefruit characterize the fruit-forward nature of the beer.
- Rye-On-Rye-On-Rye – 14.6% ABV – Our last beer of the episode, and rightfully so. Man, this thing was strong! This beer is first aged in first-use Templeton Rye Whiskey barrels for 2 years, then transferred to other first-use barrels for an additional year to pull extra rye from the staves, giving it it’s ultra-high alcohol content. Tino describes it as “beautiful, decadent, almost port-like” and he is spot-on! With molasses, toffee, and cherry in the flavor profile, this was hands-down my favorite of the day.
Tino’s Favorite Bars & Breweries in Pacifica:
- Devil’s Slide Taproom – We didn’t really discuss this spot, but since we were parked outside and they were our hosts, we gotta give them a shout-out! Located right off of the beach, their extensive tap list makes them a perfect post-surf destination.
Visit Boulevard Brewing:
Boulevard Brewing is located at 2501 Southwest Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64108. Brewery hours are 10am-7pm 7 days a week, and they offer a number of private and public tours of the brewery.