Boulevard Brewing Company is about to add a new beer to its core lineup, which includes Unfiltered Wheat, Pale Ale and KC Pils.
American Kolsch is an easy-drinking golden ale inspired by the light, crisp Kölsch beers traditionally brewed in Cologne, Germany. The year-round beer will be on tap at Kansas City-area bars and restaurants starting Monday, and in 12-ounce six-packs of cans at local liquor stores starting Tuesday.
Boulevard first released American Kolsch as part of a popular Sample Twelve pack in March. It was also a hit with customers who ordered it on tap at the Kansas City brewery’s Beer Hall, 2534 Madison Ave.
Brewmaster Steven Pauwels says he sees blonde and amber ales gaining popularity in the American craft beer world.
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“We see some consumer movement going away from IPAs and going back to easy-drinking ales,” he says.
He adds that American Kolsch was brewed with delicacy and drinkability in mind. The base of the light- to medium-body beer is European pilsner malt and malted wheat. Tradition, Saaz and Saphir hops add a hint of herbal spiciness.
At 4.6 percent alcohol by volume, American Kolsch falls between Unfiltered Wheat (4.4 percent ABV) and KC Pils (4.8 percent ABV) on the strength scale.
“To me, it’s a sitting on your back porch and relaxing kind of beer,” Pauwels says.
“You’re hanging out with friends, and you know you’re going to drink more than one.”
The beer was a hit at an informal taste-test in our office Tuesday afternoon.
A copy editor who typically drinks heavy stouts said he could see drinking American Kolsch after mowing his lawn in the springtime. A copy editor who doesn’t typically drink beer said she would order it at a restaurant, and a web editor said the beer “makes me look forward to summer.”
“I could see myself barbecuing with this,” she added.
The only detractor was an editor who typically drinks in-your-face IPAs. She said American Kolsch reminded her of her dad’s go-to pale lager.
“It’s not really my thing,” she said.
Those who prefer bold beers have a few new Boulevard brews to try in the next couple months. Show Me Sour, a limited-release barrel-aged black sour beer, starts a three-month run in February. In March, the brewery will roll out Scotch on Scotch, which Pauwels describes as “a big, bold beer” made by aging scotch ale in scotch barrels.
Also in March, look for Noble Prize Imperial Pilsner, a new year-round Smokestack Series beer modeled after an imperial pilsner Boulevard released in 2010.
Pauwels says Boulevard’s founder, John McDonald, has been asking him to brew the Imperial Pilsner again for years.
“If John wants it,” Pauwels says, “we’re going to bring it back.”
In other Boulevard news: