BOULEVARD BREWING LOVE CHILD No. 3 REVIEW
WHAT IS A WILD ALE?
Sour beer, as a broad category, is one of the most helpfully descriptive of all beers terms. Brewed with the introduction of wild yeasts such as brettanomyces and lactobacillius, sour beers are a complex bunch. Bringing funky, sour, even tart notes to the usual malt/hop flavor profile, the umbrella term ‘sours’ encompasses traditional Belgian lambics such as kreik, gueuze, and others including Flanders red and those that are, while equally sour, defy taxonomy. In essence, a sour beer is just that, sour.
Adding to the tartness, wild ales can pair subtle yeast esters, barrel infused oak, or the sweet/tart complexity of fruit. Simple pairings with the right yeast can make magical concoctions. On the other hand, a simplicity of flavors does not mean easy. Many talented brewers who attempt this style fail dramatically. Flavors of acetone, stomach acid, or backed up garbage disposals come to mind when things go awry with sour beers. For this reason, the best sour beers are prized like fine wine; because they are at least as tough to produce.
Packaging description: Oak barrels were used to age the majority of beer used for Love Child No. 3—with beer aged from 16 months to nearly six years. Another portion of the beer spent 11 months in stainless tanks, souring on Lactobacillus. While very tart, the sourness is short-lived and the beer finishes dry with a trace of oak.
Popping the cork on Boulevard Brewing Love Child No. 3, the audible pop signals this will be a well carbonated brew, surprising from a blend or barrel aged beers. Often, sitting in barrels for so long will render a beer flat. Already, this is a good sign. The rusty orange liquid gives up a small, pink head. The nose is a bit funky, with oak, wine, and whiskey. Taste starts our sour, which fades to fruity notes, tannic, and a dry, vanilla hinting oak finish. Sour notes remind me a bit of Russian River sours. Very light in body, super bubbly, and refreshing.
As we have noted, sour beers are a tough style to brew, and the ones that miss, are disasters. Boulevard Brewing Love Child No. 3 thankfully is not one of those. Less tart than some wild ales, No. 3 brings tart up front, but balances out with the bourbon barrels, creating a surprisingly light, but pleasing sour beer. Although less layered in flavor notes than some Belgian or California offerings, Boulevard shows that Missouri, too, has mastered the dark art of the wild ale. Seek out this beer where you can find.