Friday, September 18, 2009

Sloppy Seconds - The Seeyoulator Doppelbock

Waiting, waiting, waiting. Like a kid on Christmas or the guy next in line at an AVN-sanctioned gangbang, I found myself becoming increasingly impatient. The St. Louis folks said the new Smokestack doppelbock was on their shelves and had been for a while, yet it was no where to be found in Boulevard's own city. To further stomp out any sense of hometown pride, no one on the other side of the counters had even heard of this so-called 'Seeyoulator', let alone had even the slightest idea of when we could expect it on their shelves. Sigh. How does such an industry still live in such dark times? Why is it that I can pinpoint to the hour when the next Michael Bay flick is to be released on DVD, yet the street date of something even as profound as the next of the beloved and much talked about Smokestack release from Boulevard is treated with such obscurity as to make the MiB's proud?

Admittedly, at this point I'd about lost interest. Being something of an old-school (at heart) advocate of fine (and not so fine) brews, I have long preferred to actually drive to my favorite getting spots to secure whatever was on my mind at the time. Being the case, many a mile has been put on my car and many a disappointed return trip from the old Gomer's has been had lately looking for this reclusive release. I assume most can imagine my surprise then, to find dozens of bottles of the Seeyoulator in a chance encounter with a Berbiglia's this evening. Wasting no time, the once elusive bottle was immediately refrigerated to await my judgement.

Doppelbock. Although it's not a style I'm extremely familiar with, I have indeed done my research. One thing I went into this encounter with was the expectation of a loaf of bread in a bottle, and I'm somewhat happy to report that this ended up being fairly accurate. The first thing I noticed upon pouring was the astonishing presentation. Boulevard has once again outdone themselves in this category. The color was an enthralling shade of the deepest crimson with perhaps the most lovely off-white head I've seen yet, the density of which is unmatched in my, admittedly shallow, experience. Ironically, no camera was present at the time of pouring so you'll just have to see it for yourself, or fancy on over to the KC Beer Blog for some choice shots from the wonderful new Smokestack goblet. Jealous indeed.

Honestly, I didn't get much by way of smell on this one: bread and wood seemed to rule the day here. Whether it's the style or the limitations of my own nasal cavity is something I'll leave up to the winds, but I suspect most imbibers will spend less time sniffing and more time sipping. The mouthfeel isn't so thick that you'll likely feel the need to chew, but it is a bit more substantial than the usual fare around the self-professed Bad Beer Blog. Taste is a tad more difficult to describe. The Seeyoulator kind of forces my hand here, leaving me to declare that this is undoubtedly the single most complex beer I've ever tasted. There, I said it and I won't take it back. Good or bad, it really depends on what you like, but I think few will argue that there is an awful lot to experience in this bottle. Up front is an incredibly sweet, malty bread flavor, which I found quite endearing, surprising given my tendency toward the distinctly west coast American "hop bomb". The next thing you'll likely notice is a rather wowing amount of cedar woodiness that will carry you on to a very mild hoppy, astringent alcohol finish. To sum it up, if you've ever wondered what a cedar chip sandwich would taste like, this is your meal in a bottle. In terms of complexity, I'm slightly disappointed in my palate for missing a few of the notes that other reviews seemed to have picked up on, but that's something that I'm certain future bottles will help with.

That being said, this is actually one of the only Boulevevard Smokestack bottles that I do fully intend to purchase again. So far I've found each entry into the Smokestack series* to be a delightful representative of it's style, yet for one reason or another, one bottle of each is all that I've purchased. Overall, I find this a difficult beer to rate based on the fact that there is an awful lot going on inside this bottle, and depending on your palate and taste, you may or may not exactly care for it. I found the cedar flavor particularly overwhelming, however it was also an endearing characteristic that personifies the same individuality that I've come to love and expect from Boulevard's Smokestack Series. One thing is for certain: love it or hate it, the Seeyoulator doppelbock is unique, and in the copycat beer world of Imperial this and Double that, tasteful uniqueness is a quality that I can certainly stand behind. Now, let's see to it that our faithful KC natives get the next one first, eh guys?

* Bourbon Barrel Quad and Saison Brett are excluded from this conversation, as a bottle of each rest peacefully in my basement waiting for just the right time to open, i.e. when more is released, nudge nudge.

Friday, September 4, 2009

What the French, Toast?

Anybody that's not in the St. Louis area able to find Boulevard's new Seeyoulator Dopplebock on shelves yet? Several posts on BeerAdvocate suggest that it's been available in STL for some time. Every place I go here in KC either hasn't heard of it, or has no idea when it's coming. They all have one thing in common, however: shock that our fine relatives across the state are enjoying this brew before us locals. Thoughts? Can it be?