4/16/17: Boulevard Brewing Company's 80-Acre Hoppy Wheat Beer

3:15 PM

Full disclosure: I'm writing this to procrastinate on crafting my portfolio, which is the culminating project of my Masters program. By continuing to read this post you are implicitly condoning my procrastination and encouraging me to not complete my assignment in a timely manner (it's due on Friday).

Believe or not, I'm liking hoppy beers (including IPAs) more and more. I know I've said similar things before, but bear with me. Last month I decided to bite the bullet and drink a bunch of hoppy brews in a row to overcome my initial trepidation to like the style. And it worked! So this means that you can look forward to reading more posts about hoppy beers (with good scores!) here on the blog.

The beer I'm inaugurating this new-found enjoyment of hops with on John Likes Beer is Boulevard's 80-Acre. This was given to me by my soon-to-be father-in-law, who isn't a big fan of wheat beers. Which is what this is. It's wheaty and hoppy.

Boulevard Brewing Company (that link takes you to the brewery's history page) is based out of Kansas City, MO. The brewery started with a dream--to make big, flavorful beers that rivaled European beers and stood out against the American macrobrews that dominated the market in the 1980s. After selling his house to fund this dream, founder John McDonald started brewing in his carpentry shop. Boulevard's first beer hit the market in 1989. In 2006, Boulevard found itself in an upgraded facility that was a far cry from its 1980s beginnings: a 150-barrel brewhouse with offices and more. Then, in 2014, Boulevard became part of the Duvel Moortgat family of breweries.

The official webpage for 80-Acre is pretty sparse, which is fine with me because it gives me room to explore the beer on my own. Here's the information it provides: the beer is 5.5% ABV, has a bready-sweet malt flavor, has a lightly bittered hop flavor, and has citrus notes in its aroma.

While I am picking up on the citrus notes in the bouquet, I'm also getting some of the sweet malt yeastiness I find in Belgian blonde ales. It's very orangey, but the wheat adds something extra to the brew that makes it more inviting. Purrl wouldn't come out of hiding for this post, but Háma loved this beer--he gave it eight whiffs, which is a new record.

While there's a kick of bitterness in 80-Acre's flavor, the wheat gives it a wash of sweetness. I'm getting more lemon from the beer than orange. I'm picking up a little funk in the aftertaste and I don't know what to attribute it to. But that's whatever. The important takeaway here is that this is a good, refreshing beer.

Like any wheat beer worth it's salt (please note that this beer does not, actually, have any salt in it), 80-Acre is creamy. It's thick and rich and a swig swells in your mouth to become much more than just a swig.

One of my favorite running routes in Athens, OH is just off of the city's bike path. Instead of following the path as it curves near the Hocking River, you can keep running straight, right along the river's edge. The tall grasses that grow here are not unlike wheat. They're not wheat, but they have a certain wheaty quality about them.

In the midst of all of this tall grass swarming the bank of the Hocking, you can find tarnished lawn chairs made of gray plastic. While I haven't run this route in years (I no longer live in Athens) I am almost positive that these chairs are still there. This grasses have probably engulfed them by now. I know the tractor on 80-Acre's label isn't old, rusty, and dilapidated, but that's typically how I envision old-well used tractors on wheat farms. And, in some way, the memory of those old plastic lawn chairs being taken over by grass on the riverbank, makes me think of old tractors, which the beer in my hand is taking my mind.

Boulevard Brewing Company's 80-Acre Hoppy Wheat Beer is great. I know that there are people who don't like IPAs. I know there are also people who don't like wheat beers. But, if you enjoy those styles, this is a fantastic melding of the two. I'm giving both it an 8.5/10 and my recommendation. Try it if you can.

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