Tuesday, January 19, 2010
More Beer, Please
I've been anxiously awaiting packaged Free State beer for at least a year now and it sounds like this spring it'll finally happen. Around the same time, they're going to start distributing to Missouri. The new brewing facility is finally in operation, freeing up the smaller brew house for small-batch beers - which explains why we're seeing so many wonderful, different beers on tap these days. I'm excited to see them doing so well and can't wait to see Free State in more places, both in bottle and draft form.
Boulevard is growing as well; they just added three more fermentation tanks as part of a production expansion plan from 150,000 to 190,000 barrels annually. Compare that to Sierra Nevada's 680,000 or New Belgium's 437,000. Or, perhaps to Schlafly's 30,000 barrels of beer produced each year. Yes, Boulevard is adding more annual production capacity than the Schlafly brewery makes in a year. Crazy.
Speaking of the ol' Schlafly gang, I was excited to see Schlafly's Reserve series while in Oregon the past few days. Boulevard made its appearance there last summer with some Smokestack beers (both in bottles and kegs), so it's fun to see yet another Missouri beer make it over to the west coast. It'll be interesting to see how well they fare there given the competition, but I know at least Boulevard has a great reputation there.
And speaking of Oregon and Boulevard... It's no secret that Saison-Brett has long been my favorite Boulevard beer. I've never been a huge fan of Saisons (DuPont being my #1 exception), but adding Brettanomyces completely changes the style in a direction I highly enjoy. I was out in Portland this past week and picked up a bottle of The Bruery's Saison Rue. It's a Saison made with rye and Brettanomyces. Loved it; it's a bit drier than Boulevard's and has a tinge of spice from the rye. If you are in one of their distribution areas and you enjoy Saison-Brett, Saison Rue is another fantastic beer to try. I'd also like to just toss out a distribution request.
You know, because we can always do with more beer.