As Pitch staff writer Ben Palosaari reported yesterday, Boulevard is not producing Chocolate Ale in 2013. The brewery's founder, John McDonald, made a de facto announcement during the IKC 2012 conference downtown - a statement confirmed by Boulevard communications manager Julie Weeks last yesterday afternoon.
Chocolate Ale, a collaboration between Boulevard's brewmaster Steven Pauwels and chocolatier Christopher Elbow, has been produced the past two years. It was a labor-intensive lark - brewers rigged pantyhose in the kettle to make it easier to remove the cocoa nibs that imparted the chocolate flavor to the beer - that left Boulevard feeling like it had a wicked hangover.
Here's Weeks' statement:
On Wednesday, Boulevard Brewing Company announced that Chocolate Ale, one of the brewery's Smokestack Series offerings, will not be produced in 2013. The announcement does not mean that the beer has been permanently retired, only that it won't be a part of next year's lineup.
It's no secret that Boulevard faced challenges during the two previous releases of the popular seasonal beer, not least of which was satisfying surprisingly strong consumer demand. The company is actively working on several initiatives to help overcome these challenges, for Chocolate Ale as well as its other Smokestack Series seasonal and limited release offerings.
Boulevard will keep consumers informed over the coming months through its website and social media outlets. In the meantime, fans of the Kansas City company can look forward to some new additions to Boulevard's portfolio, including 80-Acre Hoppy Wheat Beer and Reverb Imperial Pilsner, both of which should be available later this summer.
In 2011, caught off-guard by demand, Boulevard issued an apology that bottles were difficult to find. And this year, an 'unwanted flavor' led the hometown brewery to offer refunds for those who purchased affected bottles. Back in February, I reasoned that the incentives weren't there for Boulevard to continue making Chocolate Ale, and it turns out I was right. There's no joy in seeing that prediction come true. There's only less beer.