Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Boulevard 80-Acre Hoppy Wheat

Hidden away, there is a decent beer here.  Unfortunately, 80-Acre's best features are shrouded by others decidedly more mediocre.

80-Acre Hoppy Wheat Beer
5.5% ABV
20 IBUs

The color of Boulevard’s 80-Acre Hoppy Wheat is yellow… “ish.”  Yellowish; and, paradoxically, pale (as in more yellow than, say, brown) yet opaque due to its obvious unfiltered character.  As the beer sits, hazy particles continuously settle like so many gently falling snowflakes.

A white, not particularly thick head, tops the beer.  While the head fades rapidly, it leaves evidence of its presence with notable lacing lining the inner-glass.  Much less tracing is provided by the liquid portion of 80-Acre.

Continuing with the paradoxical nature that constitutes much of this beer, the aroma underwhelms while also pleasing.  Underwhelming is the mildness of the scent, while pleasing is the aroma's content which is a thin fragrance of fresh grasses.

Upon initial tasting, 80-Acre's most prominent flaw makes itself immediately evident: excessive carbonation.  The bubbly bite smacks the tongue at once, and continues to burst throughout the palate.

The carbonation is unfortunately overwhelming.  That carbonation masks what is otherwise appealing. Working past the overly-done peppery pop, one encounters a citrus flavor profile that offers orange upfront, followed by a touch of lemon.  Throughout there is a mellow, but farmhouse fresh (more paradox!) twist; perhaps a yeast derivative.  

Sadly, all that goodness is only revealed via the most dedicated of effort.  More casual drinking may render 80-Acre seemingly little more than a lightly alcoholic citrus soda.

Not unexpected of a wheat beer, the mouthfeel is thin, and absent is any trace of malts.  Perhaps some added stickiness or thickness to the body would work well to counter 80-Acre's carbonation flaw, but one shall never know. 

80-Acre is a sort of abstraction.  Or, as described throughout, a paradox.  It’s thin and light.  Even refreshing in a sense.  Yet, it is a wheat beer with an undeniable peppery spice.  While it doesn't taste bad, 80-Acre is much less appealing overall than Lagunitas’ Lil Sumpin’ Sumpin, a beer of a similar style.

Maybe most disappointing is that better is expected of Boulevard.  The Kansas City brewer makes delicious beers.  Grainstorm and Tank 7 are two examples greatly enjoyed by this reviewer.  80-Acre hardly matches that same level of magnificence. 

While 80-Acre is not necessarily to be avoided, it neither deserves a recommendation.  TheCraftBeerGuru.com rates it a total of 2 stars (maybe 2.5) out of five. 

Boulevard's 80-Acre Hoppy Wheat Beer is a paradox.  Unfortunately, what's paradoxical is why such a potentially beautiful beer was prohibited from flourishing by a brewer much better than such an amateur error...


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