Having just come from a complimentary tour and tasting at The Roasterie, a coffee roasting company five minutes walking distance away, we arrived at Boulevard Brewing Company around 1:40pm. We were not sure that the two tours were going to line up, but the timing worked out perfectly as the last tour of the day at the brewing company was at 2pm. With these few minutes to spare, after we received our passes, we headed straight to the tasting room to try a few of their beers before the tour. Telling the bartender that we were from out of town and had never tasted any of their beers, she was excited to recommend a number of them to us. While there, we also met a guy originally from central Pennsylvania who had moved out to Denver and was currently taking a road trip back to the Jersey shore. It was great to be able to swap stories and experiences about travelling and about back home with him.
We had another entertaining tour guide, Bobby, who told us that the founder of the brewery had been inspired after a trip to Europe in which his eyes were opened to a whole world of complex and varied beers, and was unable to find anything other than macro-brews once he got home. The brewing company started small in 1989 and the current facility, capable of producing 600,000 barrels of beer per year, opened in 2006. They now offer a whopping thirty-six different brews per year.
Bobby explained the brewing process of beer and how yeast really makes all the difference in completing the product. He also showed us their bottling facility and explained how the process works. It was pretty awesome to see, particularly as it only takes a three person team to operate – most of it is automated. I suppose there is no scene here like in the intro to the old sitcom, “Laverne and Shirley”, in which they let one of their gloves set sail atop one of the bottles on the assembly line when they get bored…
At the tour’s conclusion, Bobby finally let us “drink some beer”, as he kept joking throughout, and we were given a bottle cap good for two four ounce samples each of our choice. I chose the Unfiltered Wheat and the Dry Cider (I believe only offered in the tasting room as of now). Both were delicious and I was able to see why the Unfiltered Wheat makes up over half of their sales and is the best-selling craft beer in the Midwest! It was a Belgian-style beer that was very drinkable, but definitely not plain. And the cider was light and not too sweet, but packed a lot of flavor, too. John tried the 80 Acre and Tropical Pale Ale, both also solid choices.
After some more looking around, we found the beer that we were meant to drink…an IPA called, “Single Wide IPA” that featured a photo of, you guessed it, a travel trailer on it. We tried it and were hooked! Despite the description of the beer, I didn’t find it overly hoppy, which I liked and John enjoyed the grapefruit notes in it.
Overall, if your mouth is watering as much as mine is reliving this experience, I would highly recommend taking both The Roasterie and Boulevard Brewing Company’s free tours or at least buying their products! Can you think of a better way to spend an afternoon than learning about and tasting some delicious brews – both of the caffeinated and hoppy varieties – and spend very little doing it?