Boulevard Brewing Smokestack Series ‘Long Strange’ Tripel


13920906_554289418088541_6625660531117346044_n“Lately it occurs to us that if, back in 1989, you planned on starting a brewery in the back of your carpentry shop, you’d been wise to seek out someone like Harold “Trip” Hogue. A collector of ancient Volvos, Trip was well qualified for the make-do engineering required to coax recalcitrant equipment out of retirement and into making the first Boulevard beers. Today, he is our longest-tenured employee. We offer this rich, golden Tripel in grateful tribute to dedication, everywhere.”

Uncaged, uncorked then served in to a wide rimmed tulip. The slightly hazy amber pour aroused a big and frothy three finger head that takes the best of five minutes to settle and retain a dense overlay that laces well. Smells lovely. We really get the impression that the brewers are going for a traditional approach as we detect a big, malty sweet presence with substantial wafts of Belgian candi sugars, banana runts and clove. The 9.2% ABV plays a strong role on the nose too, helping to drum up those sharp fruit esters, peppery spice and phenols. Certainly getting some orange, fresh pear and apple pie coming through with light floral perfumes in the tail. Absolutely spot on, as good as any Belgian tripel on the market in terms of aroma. Nice feel in the mouth, carbonation is lively and assists in providing the gassy texture. Quite light on considering the strength, and on that note they’ve done pretty well to contain the burn. Excellent continuation on to the palate. Upfront we get a tonne of sweet malts, fruit esters and a sharp citrus tang that carries nicely in to the mid. A mild alcohol warmth is then emphasized by a spicy/peppery accent that crescendos before a dry and ever so bitter finish that provides lengthy hints of herbal hops and yeasty sweetness on the back end. This is an excellent interpretation of a Belgian tripel. Slightly higher in ABV but overall it’s contained well. Without a doubt in a blind tasting we wouldn’t be able to differentiate between this and any other top shelf tripel by the likes of Westmalle, Karmeliet or even Chimay. Just world class stuff.