Boulevard Brewing Co.’s beers used to be distributed in San Diego until a year two ago when they pulled out of the market here. I’ve had a few of their beers, mostly those in the Smokestack Series (like this Tank 7 is one of the four year-round Smokestack Series beers). I’ve heard good things about both Tank 7 and Boulevard’s other Farmhouse beer, Saison-Brett, so when I had the opportunity to pick up a bottle of Tank 7 a few months ago while visiting Colorado I grabbed it and brought it home with me. I purchased this bottle in Durango, CO in early February and kept it refrigerated until I drank it a few weeks ago in early April. I may have sat on it longer than I should have, but the best by date on the bottle is listed as 05/2011. This was batch number 710141D.
I’ll start off by saying I wasn’t blown away by this beer. It wasn’t bad, certainly wasn’t a drain pour, I willingly drank it, but I couldn’t imagine this being a beer I would drink regularly if it were easily available. I guess Tank 7 could be considered an “Imperial Saison” based on it’s alcohol content. I’m all for “imperial-izing” beers but really felt the alcohol in this overpowered and distracted from everything else in the beer.
Tank 7 poured a fairly clear yellow/gold with a big white head that settled down to just a dusting across the top. The smell was slightly tart, maybe apple or pear, somewhat sweet and spicy, pretty much what I think of as typical saison yeast smell. The taste on the other hand was anything but typical. It had quite a bit of alcohol heat right up front which was not what I was expecting and pretty distracting. Tank 7 is 8% ABV, but I typically don’t expect a strong alcohol taste in Saisons, even those with higher alcohol content. There was a slightly fruity and bitter hoppy grapefruit taste and then a sweet bready malt flavor. The familiar earthy and spicy saison yeast flavor, maybe a bit more clove/phenolic than usual was there was well but the whole time the alcohol heat distracted the rest of the flavors. The finish was peppery, clean and dry with a not unpleasant long lasting bitter aftertaste.
Overall not a bad beer, but not one I’ll search out again. I don’t mind higher alcohol content in beers, but the alcohol in this beer detracted from all the other flavors that should have stood out more. I do look forward to trying Boulevard’s Saison-Brett soon, even though it’s 8.5% ABV, I’m hoping the Brettanomyces adds something to keep the alcohol in check.