Back in November of 2013, I got my first taste of Boulevard 80-Acre Hoppy Wheat Beer at Taco Mac here in Canton. It was pint glass night and Boulevard was the featured beer of the month, hence the glass you can see in the photo. Of course, Boulevard already has another wheat beer, Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat. That beer is more of a classic American hefeweizen, however, while 80-Acre Hoppy Wheat is, well, different.
Obviously as the name implies, the difference here is that this is a hoppy wheat ale. It’s a fusion beer, really, sort of an IPA meets wheat beer type of brew. There’s a lot of that going on in today’s beer world, and I think it’s a good thing to keep pushing the envelope on style so that we might enjoy new and tasty beers.
From the bottle label:
With roots in two of today's most popular brewing styles, 80-Acre Hoppy Wheat Beer is the result of careful cultivation by our brewers and cellarmen. Their efforts to craft a hybrid yielded a bumper crop of flavor; a delightfully distinctive ale with the aroma of an IPA and the refreshing taste of a wheat beer.
Boulevard 80-Acre Wheat has an alcohol content of 5.5% with 20 IBUs. I paid $5.50 for it on tap and you can get a six-pack for $8.99 in my area, too.
Boulevard 80-Acre Wheat pours to a pale yellow color with a huge rocky head formation and a big citrusy hop nose. Taking a sip, I get some tart crackery wheat up front followed by a big citric orange blast. The hops are very bold indeed with their assertive citric quality, and the orange like character really complements the tart crackery wheat well. There’s no clove or banana here folks, this is American wheat ale all the way, but it really works and it’s very refreshing, with the hoppy citrus taking the place of a lemon wedge in your hefeweizen.
How does Boulevard pull off all that hop character and bitterness in a 20 IBU beer? It’s simple, the high proportion of tart wheat in the mash means far less barley malt sweetness to balance off. IBU counts don’t always tell the whole story of hop bitterness; the balance between malt sweetness and hop bitterness does.
All in all, this is a great refreshing beer perfect for warm weather imbibing.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.