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Will Boulevard take charge in session-beer movement?

Nick Trougakos Modified: July 22, 2013 at 10:45 am •  Published: July 22, 2013
There has been building anticipation for the newest year-round offering from Boulevard, Pop-Up Session IPA.

I received word from Boulevard today that the beer will likely hit the market within the next month, following its big brothers Single-Wide IPA and Double-Wide IPA in what Boulevard calls its “trailer park of hop-centric beers.”

The 4.2% ABV beer will be available on tap and in six-packs. Boulevard describes the beer as having “a very drinkable character and relatively low bitterness tucked behind a big, fruity hop aroma.”

Boulevard is quick to point out and eager to highlight the sessionable nature of the beer.

“I’ve been challenging our brewers to experiment with full-flavored, lower-alcohol beers for quite some time,” Boulevard president and founder John McDonald said in a news release. “It is important to me that Boulevard has balanced offerings that beer fans can enjoy for any occasion. Pop-Up IPA has become a staple in my refrigerator ever since the first test batches were produced.”

In the news release, I found this next part most interesting:

“Session beers are typically brews under 5% ABV and come in a variety of styles. Boulevard is currently experimenting with other session beers and could release other offerings in the near future.”

On the heels of the recent beer trends of sour beers and barrel-aged beers, are flavorful, complex session beers the next frontier?

I recently had the chance to try Stone’s Levitation Ale for the first time, and was tremendously impressed with Stone’s ability to pack a rich malty backbone into a 4.4% ABV beer. I’m eager to see if Boulevard can do the same with it’s new session IPA. One would assume they have relied on a heavy regiment of dry-hopping or late-addition hops — not unlike what they’ve done with their 80-Acre Hoppy Wheat — to provide maximum hop characteristics without crushing the malt profile with bitterness. An IBU level of 40.5 shows that in terms of bitterness, this beer slides in just over the lower threshold for IPAs.

The question remains, how serious is Boulevard about session-style beers, and will we see more beers like Levitation, that can not only to be sessionable, but also rich and complex? I, for one, am looking forward to the possibilities.


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