Review: Boulevard Love Child No. 5

Review of Boulevard Love Child No. 5 from Boulevard Brewing Co. in Kansas City, MO.

Beer Type: Sour Ale  ABV: 8.2%  IBUs: 8  Tried from bottle.

Their Description: “Boulevard’s Love Child Series of “wild” ales are barrel-aged with such boisterous cultures as Lactobaccillus and Brettanomyces. These wayward offspring can prove so complex that we employ gauges on the label to convey the intensity of three key personality traits, Funk, Sour, and Fruit, presenting a picture of the ale at the time it was released. It will change as it ages, but don’t we all? A blend of wood and stainless aged sour beer, Love Child No. 5 is composed of multiple vintages of a Flanders style sour red ale that has been resting in whiskey and wine barrels, stainless vessels and a foeder that held red wine in a former life. This release features soft lactic acidity punctuated with very slight acetic notes and a tart, fruity flavor.”

The Reality: This beer starts with a dark orange/light amber color and a strong funk scent with subtle oakiness. It has a predominant sour funk flavor rounded out with oak notes and tastes of vanilla/caramel and fruit if you removed the sweetness from those things. Finishes with a tart bite that leaves your mouth wet from watering. This beer is wonderfully complex, and the aftertaste brings the woody oak barrel flavors more forward, which really completes the experience.

Final Verdict: I’m just going to come out and tell you that this is one of the best American sour beers I’ve had, period. The fact that it is blended with whiskey and wine barrel-aged varieties, among others, makes this beer not only complex but a much fuller experience than many other sour beers because of the depth of flavor that is present. “Love Child” is an appropriate name, as it is obvious that this beer was a labor of love for Boulevard and the child of some serious creativity, which is good, because not all “love children” are such positive creations. Have we already forgotten Zooey Deschanel and Dave Chappelle’s forbidden offspring, often referred to by the media as “Zooey DeChappelle”?