Boulevard Brewing Co.'s next Smokestack Series seasonal isn't going to garner the attention lavished on Chocolate Ale, but it may be a better-tasting beer.
We popped open a 750-milliliter bottle of Boulevard's Grainstorm Black Rye IPA during our weekly editorial meeting, and in less than an hour the bottle was dry. (Kegs of Grainstorm hit taps Monday, March 17, and bottles reach retail-store shelves Tuesday, March 18.)
The March release comes a little earlier than Boulevard had first scheduled. Brewer Jeremy Danner tells The Pitch
that because Grainstorm is a "hop-forward beer" and it was ready sooner than expected, "We wanted to get it out as soon as we could." And really, who wants to wait?
The Rye IPA has a blackish-red tint to it, a foamy head and a pleasantly fruity aroma - as it should, with a blend of Amarillo, Simcoe and Citra hops. At first sip, you notice a dry bitter kick (thanks to 65 IBUs and an alcohol content of 7.7 percent). One drinker here signaled his appreciation by simply calling the taste "woodsy."
For that, credit the dry hopping. As the brew's name implies, Boulevard has blended three grains to this ale: malted rye, barley and midnight wheat.
Boulevard suggests pairing Grainstorm with barbecue, spicy sausage, smoked duck or peppery cheeses. We didn't have any of that handy, but we did have doughnuts from Lamar's - a pairing that worked until it didn't. (Next time, we'll pick up some peppery cheeses.)