Boulevard Brewing Company, founded in 1989, has evolved to become the Midwest’s largest specialty brewer. The objective is straightforward: to create fresh, tasty beers from the finest traditional ingredients and the best of both old and new brewing techniques. The Boulevard narrative starts in 1988 when founder John McDonald began establishing the brewery in a turn-of-the-century brick building on Kansas City’s famous Southwest Boulevard. In the fall of 1989, a classic Bavarian brewhouse was erected, and the first batches of beer were made. The first keg of Boulevard Pale Ale was delivered to a restaurant just a few blocks away in November, in the back of John’s pickup truck.
So, here are some things that you must know about Boulevard Brewery!
The Boulevard saga began in 1988 when entrepreneur John McDonald began building the brewery on Kansas City’s famous Southwest Boulevard. The first batches of beer were made in 1989, and the first keg of Boulevard Pale Ale was delivered that fall to a restaurant a few blocks away. After fifteen years of continuous development, sales have surpassed 100,000 barrels per year. A large extension of the existing brewery in 2006 increased brewing capacity to over 600,000 barrels per year.
Today, the three-story, 70,000-square-foot structure is an example of sustainable urban architecture and a well-known landmark in Kansas City. Boulevard joined the Duvel Moortgat family in 2014, a collection of artisanal breweries dedicated to the highest expression of the brewer’s skill. Boulevard is still dedicated to its initial aim of pushing boundaries and trying to redefine American beer.
The Boulevard Tour
Enjoy a 1-hour walking tour of the brewery, followed by tastings in the Tasting Room. Visit boulevard.com/visit-us/tours to learn more about the numerous experiences available. Then, head straight to the Beer Hall, which is open seven days a week for sampling. A rotating roster of brews is available in full pours, tasters, and flights—ideal for experiencing a wide range of Boulevard’s offerings, including test tastes.
Both the Beer Hall and the Rec Deck provide beer-centric menus that include pretzel dogs, sliders, flatbreads, charcuterie, and dips. Southwest Boulevard, which is nearby, provides a fantastic selection of local specialties, including some recognized Mexican restaurants, such as Manny’s Mexican Restaurant and Ponak’s Mexican Kitchen. Crown Center, the Crossroads Arts District, and Downtown are also close by and offer a variety of excellent dining alternatives.
The best ones
As Boulevard’s road expands across the country, here are five of their best brews.
Tank 7 (farmhouse ale)
This straw-colored saison, part of their Smokestack Series, has a strong 8.5 percent ABV that helps it reach across the seasons. Its crisp citrus character is dangerously refreshing for the summer, and its lively yeast with a peppery bite makes it delectably tasty with food. Meanwhile, it’s a dry saison that doesn’t overplay its hand, relying on the malt core for a structure without coming across as candied.
Bully! Porter (robust porter)
Boulevard’s dark and bitter, mild-bodied porter has a coffee bitterness but medium-to-heavy carbonation. This is a really clean porter who does not have the watery complexion that many porters do. It begins bitter, then transitions to a light chocolate finish with an undercurrent of dark berry esters. It’s a fantastic intermediate beer, complex but smooth enough to drink a few in a row.
Unfiltered Wheat (American-style wheat beer)
Unfiltered Wheat is a light-bodied brew that is approachable for craft newcomers. There’s a subtle fruitiness to this beer: lemon, orange, and pear, with high carbonation that makes it a good lawn mowing or boat beer while yet providing some depth of flavor. It’s moderate in comparison to a wheat beer like a hefeweizen, but it has some of the same wheaty characteristics.
Nutcracker Ale (winter warmer)
Boulevard has a tendency to be understated, and this winter warmer is no exception. It has a molasses basis that drives the malt bill, with some purifying pine and sage to finish. Meanwhile, winter herbs and spices dance in the background, but never deviate from the beer’s path. Nutcracker, on the other hand, focuses on malt and nuttiness rather than dark fruits and coriander, making it a black beer without the often overwhelming spice rack wallop.
Pale Ale (American pale ale)
Pale Ale is another flagship and an important component of the sampling box. Boulevard’s adaptability is one of its qualities. This is yet another light ale. The citrus isn’t particularly memorable, and it lacks the pale’s signature hop bouquet. However, a fresh harvest season maltiness underpins the citrus complexion, with some clean pine as the closing. The keyword here is balance.
Meanwhile, Boulevard has been hard at work planning for the current and impending releases of seasonal, specialty, and cooperation releases through the end of the year.
Bob’s ’47 Oktoberfest, a dark amber that is available until October, is a perennial favorite among craft beer aficionados who enjoy its malty taste with well-balanced hops. The Munich-style beer is named after Bob Werkowitch, a master brewer and graduate of the U.S. Brewer’s Academy, 1947.
Funky Pumpkin is a spicy sour brew that stands out in the ever-growing pumpkin ale market. Cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and ginger flavors dominate, with only a touch of pumpkin present. Brettanomyces yeast imparts stink to the barrel-aged beverage.
The partnership beer will be brewed and packaged exclusively at Boulevard in Kansas City and will be available in four packs of 12-ounce bottles as well as kegs. Boulevard will be distributed in over 30 states and Washington, D.C., where it is now available.
Imperial Stout X Tart Cherry is the newest item in the Smokestack specialty range. Following that, in November, Boulevard will release Bourbon Barrel Quad, followed by Imperial Stout X Coconut and Love Child No. 6, the sixth in Boulevard’s series of barrel-aged wild ales with sour, fruity, and funky qualities.
Finally, expect classic Nutcracker Ale, a winter beer with caramel malt and a touch of sweet molasses balanced by the spicy punch of Chinook hops, and Snow & Tell, a new seasonal addition, in November.
And, there you have it! Everything you need to know about Boulevard Brewery. We hope you had fun reading this and don’t forget to share it with your friends.