Boulevard Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale is humbling

By Emily Brightman

It has been a long time since a beer has caught me completely off-guard with taste, but I have recently been humbled by the Boulevard Brewing Company’s Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale.

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Serious beer drinkers are always looking for that elusive new brew that tantalizes the palette and sends our tastes buds into conniption fits of ecstasy. We regale bartenders with our limitless questions about each beer on tap until we make a satisfactory choice. We will scrutinize and scour the shelves at the liquor store until we have found a brew that tickles our fancy. The endless search for an invigorating beer can be exhausting, which makes it all the more exhilarating when a delicious new beer happens to find us instead of vice-versa.

Such was my experience with Tank 7. The Boulevard Brewing Company, based in Kansas City, Mo., has caught my eye in the past with their Double-Wide IPA and 80-Acre Hoppy Wheat Beer, but Tank 7 had somehow slipped under my radar. The sign at the bar listing all the available beers merely said “Boulevard Tank 7,” and since I am cursed with a fatal case of curiosity I decided to try it on a whim. And what a rewarding whim it was.

One glass of this golden honey was enough to turn a Saturday night out at the bar with some friends into a full-on beer geek fest as we raved and drooled over the absurdly flavorful Saison-style of Tank 7. And if a mere glass of beer can turn a pack of levelheaded barflies into a high-strung flock of yeast fiends, you know it has to be good.

Poured into a typical beer snifter, an inch-thick cream colored head sits atop the cloudy golden liquid like a crown, with just enough retention to leave a moderate but wide rim of lacing around the edge of the glass. The notable haze denotes good yeast suspension, a typical characteristic of Belgian and Saison-style brews. The aroma is unmistakably citrusy with hints of caramel and exotic fruit. Underneath the surface flavors are distinctive hints of yeast and bread, typical of ale composition.

The first sip of Tank 7 is surprisingly smooth in body but heralds a tidal wave of bitter citrus taste balanced out by earthy undertones and a dry finish. There is something to be said for the consistency of this beer, as the sensation upon drinking is that of a heartier, thicker beer like an imperial stout. Tank 7 is unmistakably in the ale family but there is a level of complexity that makes it stand out from its contemporaries. In a word Tank 7 appears to transcend the boundaries of beer classification as it has the best components of any major brew type combined in one bottle: the bitter hop taste of an IPA, the thick cream-like consistency of a stout, and the spice composition of specialty ale. This kind of delicious complexity is unusual and rarely done well, but the Boulevard Brewing Company has really outdone themselves on this one.

Amherst Brewing Company currently has Tank 7 available on tap, along with the many other on-site brews and “guest beers” they are currently hosting. It is also available from the brewery year-round, so get your hands on some Tank 7 and let the experience begin; your taste buds will surely thank you.

Emily A. Brightman can be reached at [email protected]