Jan 15, 2016

Boulevard Brewing The Calling

I hate “best buy” dates on bottles. Now, don’t get me wrong, it obviously gives an idea of when a brewer thinks the beer has passed its prime, but with a hopped-up beer like Boulevard’s The Calling, I’d rather know how long it’s been sitting on shelves — how long it’s been since the beer’s “born on” or bottled date. I think that’s a better indicator of freshness, especially for a 8.5% ABV (75 IBU) imperial IPA. Knowing when the brewery thinks it’s too old just doesn’t work.

At any rate, this particular bottle of The Calling has a “best by” date of 12/21/2015. I drank it for this review on November 18th of last year; a full month prior to its expiration. How long had it been sitting in a store room or warehouse prior to reaching the shelves? I have no idea. All I can account for is the rather muted flavor profile of a beer the company describes as “bursting forth with unmistakable tropical fruit and pine hop aromas and flavor” on their website. That’s not what I’m picking up.

This isn’t a knock against the brewery per say. This situation is indicative of a trend I’ve been noticing for some time now as more and more breweries are getting product to retailers. There’s only so much shelf space available for all of the bottles available to the market.

What I can probably pin on the brewery, however, is a lightly off-putting, sulfur trait late in each swallow of The Calling. That could be a result of something gone awry in the brewing process or, perhaps, it’s due to the beer sitting in the bottle for too long. Without a “born on” date, we’ll never really know. And, unfortunately, that doesn’t help remedy a poor drinking experience.