Per Scott’s suggestion, I paired this Belgian quad with a medium steak (and potato for good measure). I wasn’t let down on this combo or the beer. It’s got a 90 on Beer Advocate.
I found this brew to not necessarily be one of the more tame American-made Belgian beers, but offering so many quality-but-not-overbearing characteristics it was hard to get bored while drinking it. It poured a great amber color with an awesome head that produced big bubbles lacing the glass as the beer disappeared. Wonderful smells lifted out of the snifter I was using.
It was easy to find a couple of the prominent aspects of the beer you might expect, including fruity esters offering an earthy raisin characteristic and fig. Also spices – cloves, perhaps? There’s just a touch of sour funk, but nothing truly discernible because Belgian candi sugars knock that out pretty quick. There’s also a great amount of malt sweetness to it as well, rounding it all out.
The flavor or the beer was a real show-stopper, starting with that Belgian candi sugar flavor right up front, but transitioning into caramel sweetness from the Munich malt used in the beer. I made a note that I sensed brown sugar and lo-and-behold, it’s one of several sugars Boulevard throws in this beer. This part of the brew actually tasted wonderful with the potato I had made – a natural pair. Not to be outdone, the beer showcased pepper, toffee and toasted malt flavors. To me, any hop bitterness is non-existent.
What surprised me most was how hard it was for me to notice alcohol in this beer. At 10.5 percent ABV, it can give you a kick in the pants, but I feel like you’d be hard-pressed to really find it. Even still, it paired wonderfully with the steak – the richness of the meat and fat melted into the carbonated sweetness of the beer. It was even better as the beer got warm.
Hit the jump for my “Rate That Beer” sheet.