Boulevard Brewing | Smokestack Series: Rye-On-Rye X – Sazerac
ABV: 11.8 | IBU: 29
Oh, how I love finding a big, bold, limited release beer from a large craft brewery with a great reputation. Behold my excitement when I reached into my dwindling stash of “cellar” beers and pulled out the Boulevard Brewing Rye-On-Rye X – Sazerac from their acclaimed Smokestack Series!
Boulevard Brewing Co. is a major craft brewery based out of Kansas City, Missouri. The brewery was started in 1988 when founder John McDonald found a brick building on one of the city’s historic roads, Southwest Boulevard, and began construction. The brewery name is lent from the famed Boulevard and has been in operation since the fall of 1989. In 2006, they underwent an expansion from their original business plan of an eventual 6,000 barrels and went up, just a little, to 600,000 barrels per year. Aside from the beer itself, which I’m still getting to, I’m really glad I chose to write about these guys because I had no idea what great things they have been up to over the years and I was able to learn about while doing my homework.
Boulevard Brewing is one of the main entities responsible for glass recycling in the greater Kansas City area and beyond, thanks to the start of Ripple Glass. Ripple Glass is a regional collection network and processing center that receives all broken bottles and other glass waste from not only the brewery but from everyone in the entire area, even from state neighbors. The processing center uses old glass to make new glass and/or glass products, which uses 30% less energy than brand new glass. Ripple Glass creates products ranging from new brown bottles for the brewery to insulation for buildings. Regardless of individual views on climate change, I think everyone can agree that cutting down on waste, in general, isn’t a bad thing.
Boulevard Brewing has 10 standard year-round beers listed on their website and an extensive roster of dozens of other beers ranging from seasonal offerings, tasting room limited beers and their famed Smokestack Series of bolder more complex beers with typically higher alcohol content than the core beers. Rye-On-Rye X – Sazerac is a limited release ale from the brewery’s Smokestack Series, which pays homage to the iconic structural note of their original building. Aged in Templeton Rye barrels, it has cinnamon, cardamom and star anise spices added to it with respect towards the classic Sazerac cocktail, with a twist of lemon peel.
Sazerac’s bottle is an individually sold cork-caged 750ml size, and the pressure popped that cork out and straight to the ceiling; fortunately it didn’t foam over. The head poured strong and frothy, light in color, a shade of white with a slight tinge to it. The body held a caramel/copper color, with a small amount of visible sediment floating about the glass. The aroma wasn’t particularly strong, especially when compared to the flavor. The initial taste had a strong bite to it, which caught me off guard, I suspect, due to the subtle aroma. The mouthfeel had some depth to it, which was a little creamy or silky. An after sip extracted a distinct lemon flavor from the beer, with a steady burn from the booziness of an 11.8% alcohol content. The rye was apparent as well, but I struggled with picking out the other spices listed on the label; I blame my unrefined palate. The warming effect it has on my stomach makes me glad I saved this beer for a cold evening. This is a bottle I would recommend sharing with a fellow beer and whiskey enthusiast, 1) because it is delicious and 2) I was feeling it by the bottom of my second snifter. The bottle recommended a tulip glass, but I don’t have one in my cabinet at the moment, so sue me.
As I said, Sazerac is a limited release ale that I had saved for a couple of months before drinking. It has a best by date of June 2018, so bottle shops that didn’t sell out won’t be cleaning it off the shelves just yet. I found it myself in a good bottle shop in Athens, Georgia, so it seems to have distributed to a fairly wide market. Keep an eye out and don’t be afraid to grab a bottle if you like the classic cocktail!