Thursday, August 1, 2013

Look! In the glass! It's a Wheat! It's a Saison! It's...

Three of us decided to hit the Steel the Glass Night featuring Boulevard Brewing this week at Capital Ale House. Two Boulevard beers were featured, 80 Acre Hoppy Wheat and Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale. I was surprised that two similar beers would be the only two options. However, we're always up for trying something new, and discovering a new good Saison-style beer would be a good thing.

When we arrived the bar seats were filled, so we grabbed a table by the window. We ordered three glasses of the Tank 7, and couple Bavarian Pretzels to start our tasting.

The three glasses of unfiltered beer arrived and where poised for the requisite photo. That blogging task completed (Thanks Colleen!) I took a sniff of the aroma and a sip. Well, that's not very "saison-y" I remarked. There was none of the expected yeast funkiness. The flavor was a mild, slightly citrus wheat flavor. We all agreed that this was a pretty weak Farmhouse Ale. We also remarked that it didn't seem like an 8.5% ABV beer. In fact, it seemed very much like, ahem, a hoppy wheat beer! We called the waiter over, assuming he served us the wrong beer. However, he insisted that this was indeed the Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale. (Although he had previously admitted that he had never heard of Saison before this evening.)

We knew we weren't drinking the Farmhouse Ale, and eventually ordered round two. I told the server we wanted "the other beer that was not this one." A few minutes later he returned with three glasses. Setting them down, even he noted "That looks like the same beer." I tasted, and sure enough it was the 80 Acre Hoppy Wheat, again. He took them back and soon returned with three glasses of the actual Tank 7 brew. Smelling and sipping, this was obviously, finally, a Saison. The waiter informed us that the tap handles had been switched earlier!

Boulevard Saison, er, no. Hoppy Wheat

The interesting thing is that we ordered our first beers well after the 4:00PM event start time. That means the wrong beers were being served for over an hour. As noted, the long bar at Capital Ale House was filled to capacity when we arrived, and most folks had Boulevard logo glasses sitting in front of them.

Now that we finally had the correct beers, we were quite impressed with the Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale. The aroma was yeasty and bready with a citrus hint. The taste was rich in the (long-awaited) funky farmhouse yeast. A solid backbone of biscuity malt was accompanied with a touch of citrus, along with a nice white pepper spiciness. The alcohol level is noticeable in the flavor but still muted. The beer has a thick mouthfeel and drying finish. It's a delicious beer, and one that was worth the wait to finally arrive at our table. It's too bad some folks apparently missed out on actually tasting it.

End note: It should go without saying, I am a fan and frequent customer of Capital Alehouse. Generally, the beer, the food and the service are quite acceptable. Given the variety of beer offered, and the problems inherent in any business, I accept things can sometimes go wrong. At least it makes a funny story. And there's beer!

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