Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Boulevard Hop Day gets 9 out of 9

Today was 9/9/09. A very, very rainy day in Kansas City, but a very fun day for myself. It all started a few days back when KC Worthog met Steven Pauwels (brewmaster) at a Boulevard dinner. He invited her to a special day at Boulevard for wet-hopping the Nutcracker Ale. She was gracious enough to invite me (hophead) along. The Chinook hops were picked just yesterday in the Yakima Valley in Washington. They were overnight shipped (as they have been for years) to Kansas City where Steven and crew quickly get them into the secondary fermentation tanks to dry hop (or wet hop in this case). We showed up promptly at 8 a.m. to meet Steven. He showed us around the brewery from place to place but I think he was just pacing in anticipation for the hops to arrive. 8:30 and still no hops. We made our way to the microbiology lab where we learned about how tasting panels work and the quality control checks in place to test for off-flavors. There was another lab where new equipment is used to measure alcohol content and other consistency issues.

Once we made it to Steven's office he plucked up a couple of extremely rare bottles for us to try. A Rye aged in Templeton Rye Whiskey barrels. I thought it was a nice tribute to our neighboring state, Iowa. This is unblended so should be pretty raw with oak. Also donated was a bottle of trial Wheatwine that was aged with Pinot and Chardonnay. Now this brew also came from a barrel and was primed with grape juice. More on these bottles after the tasting...

Because the hops did not arrive on time, we headed back to our places of work in waiting for a call from Steven. The hops arrived and I darted back over to the brewery during lunch only to find a large crew of beer-loving fellows beginning to bag the hops. Once the door opened up you could smell the lupulin right away. Steven found me a pair of gloves and with my nice work clothes on, I dove right in with my free labor. I found myself stuffing hop bags full of these 2 inch cones and prepping them for the fermentation tanks. This lunch hour was far from some reheated leftovers at my desk.

As time was running out for me, I collected some left over hops from the ground to smell back at work. After it was all over I met up with Jeremy from Boulevard who came to our 3rd Big Brew Day to get a hardy send off back to work. It was a great day that even all the rain could not get me down.

4 comments:

KC Wort Hog said...

no mention of the nutsack? :-D

Muddy Mo said...

Boulevard has a great racket going with the free labor. Did you get to keep the gloves? Can I sniff them?

KC Hop Head said...

kc wort hog, maybe you can explain it better than I but as I understand it they keg up the hoppy overflow from the nutcracker from hop sacks and call it Nutsack Ale. Then they put it in their tasting room.

Mo, I tossed the gloves but I kept a bag of hops. Maybe you'll see them at the next brew day.

Bull E. Vard said...

I did that last year. It was a great day. I'm glad you guys got to do it this year.