Dear Charlie – Incredible news! I found Boulevard beer in Washington – finally! Are you shocked? Earlier this month I walked into the Malt & Vine in Redmond to check out their selection of beer and wine. Starting at one end of one bank of commercial refrigerators I methodically walked the row. Halfway I screamed. Yes, I screamed. I am not sure who was more startled me or the person working in the shop that day who rushed over to help. There it was – beer from Boulevard Brewing Co in Kansas City. I have waited so long!
How did it get to this coast? Every time I asked you the answer was the same – Boulevard could not distribute this far out but may some day. In the meantime, whenever you or any other friend from Kansas City came to visit I would ask, nay, beg, you to pack some Boulevard into your suitcase. I stopped asking after a bottle broke in Kris’ luggage. She was not very happy about washing all her clothes the first thing after she arrived. Luckily, the ribs from Gates BBQ nestled in next to the beer were unharmed.
Well, Charlie, someday has arrived. Boulevard is here and it is a recent phenomenon. I found Boulevard Wheat, the seasonal Irish Ale and the Smokestack series. The Wheat is tucked away in my refrigerator awaiting the right moment to share with friends who have not had the pleasure. Every once in a while I open the frig door and check to make sure I am not imagining its existence. On the bottom shelf is the familiar red, green and blue label.
Soon I will return to Malt & Vine and choose one of the Smokestack Series, probably the Long Strange Tripel because it is a nod to Trip, Harold Hogue III, the Master Volvo mechanic who traveled to Germany to help find the brewing equipment to start the brewery, and then resurrected the system as only a genius mechanic and beer aficionado can. I got to taste Boulevard from the beginning in 1989 because my housemate at the time, Hannah, is Trip’s sister. How did you discover Boulevard? Was it through Hannah? I know that once you did, you began volunteering as a tour guide on weekends. How many years is it now? 20?
Here in the Pacific Northwest I have access to so many interesting, different styles of beers that I enjoy discovering and sampling. If it were not for Boulevard beer, my first microbrew, I would have by-passed the world of artisinal beers. Boulevard is the beer that introduced me to the glory of microbrews. If it were not for Boulevard, I would not be enjoying the microbrews here in Washington.
So, Charlie, next time you and Betty visit we must go down to the Malt & Vine. Not only does Washington make interesting beers but the beer audience expects great beer such that beer stores seek out and stock interesting microbrews from all over – breweries just down the street, around the world and now, the best microbrewery in Kansas City. The Malt & Vine has numerous different bottled beers, sixteen rotating taps, wine by the glass, and a $5 corkage fee for any wine they do not carry. We can make it a sunny day and sit out on the patio.
Tell the crew at Boulevard ‘thank you’ for making distribution to Washington state finally happen.
Charlie, one last thing, next time you see Kris tell her that it is now safe for her and her clothes to travel this direction.
Come visit! —Vivian