Chow Town

June 18, 2014

Boulevard’s new Sporting KC beer packs a citrus kick

Championship Ale, in stores now, toasts Sporting KC’s 2013 MLS Cup victory with refreshing tangerine flavor from Mandarina Bavaria hops. The summer beer scored high our impromptu taste test.

Chow Town

The daily dish on Kansas City's food and drink scene

Last month, Boulevard announced that it was brewing a new beer in honor of Sporting Kansas City’s 2013 MLS Cup victory.

When Championship Ale hit stores yesterday, we scored a 750-milliliter bottle and uncorked it for an impromptu taste test.

The Saison-style ale poured a rich gold color with a fat head of white foam. We sipped it out of tiny plastic Solo cups, not tulip glasses, but we still picked up on the brew’s citrus aroma.

“It’s got a nice funk to it,” said our resident Sporting KC fan (and blogger) after his first sip.

“It’s like a turnt up Tank 7,” I said. A couple of our other taste testers nodded in agreement, but the Tank 7 fan in the room disagreed.

“I drank a lot of Tank 7 last weekend,” she said, “and this is mellower and smoother.”

Championship Ale’s “mellower” quality probably comes from it’s lower ABV (alcohol by volume). Championship Ale is 6.2 percent ABV, whereas Tank 7 is 8.5 percent.

We all agreed that the beer had a pleasantly tart, citrusy punch and a vague spiciness that reminded us of clove or coriander. Our resident intern, a connoisseur of cheap wine, called Championship Ale “drinkable and not too beer-y.”

The one taste tester who didn’t think Championship Ale was a winner couldn’t stop comparing it to her new favorite beer, Tallgrass Halcyon Unfiltered Wheat. She said Championship Ale was a little too fizzy, and that the flavors fell flat.

“It doesn’t stand out to me,” she said.

Our final taste-tester expected not to like Championship Ale. He said his favorite beers are Pilsner Urquell and Boulevard Pale Ale “on tap when it’s real cold at Kelly’s (Westport Inn).”

After a sip from his Solo cup, his face lit up.

“I like it,” he said, “and I don’t usually like stuff like this.”

Like most of the other taste-testers, he said he liked Championship Ale’s refreshing kick of bright tangerine flavor, which comes from Mandarina Bavaria hops added late in the brewing process.

Heads up: Championship Ale is only available in bottles. Boulevard produced 2,000 cases, a relatively small batch, so if you want a bottle, act fast.

Have you tried Championship Ale? Leave us your review in the comments or tweet us @chowtownkc.

Contact Sarah Gish via email at sgish@kcstar.com or tweet @sarah_gish.

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