Boulevard Brewing Company announced today it would not produce the furiously sought-after Chocolate Ale this winter, hinting that it faced problems meeting customer demand.
In an announcement on its website, Boulevard said it isn't necessarily ending production of Chocolate Ale forever, but it won't be part of the popular Smokestack Series for 2013.
It’s no secret that Boulevard faced challenges during the two previous releases of the popular seasonal beer, not least of which was satisfying surprisingly strong consumer demand. The company is actively working on several initiatives to help overcome these challenges, for Chocolate Ale as well as its other Smokestack Series seasonal and limited release offerings.
Beer fans across the Kansas City area raced to get some of the limited-production brew this year.
“It’s just so popular and just so limited on once a year when they make it that people just go crazy for it,” On the Rocks manager Matt Green told Lawrence.com in February. “It might have gone even faster this year.”
Later that month, the brewery announced some its Chocolate Ale, which was made in collaboration with KC chocolatier Christopher Elbow, had an "unwanted flavor," and offered refunds.
So it's a bummer for beer nuts with sweet teeth. But if it's any consolation, Boulevard's just released a new addition to the Smokestack Series, called Love Child No. 2. It's features "sour characteristics that come to the fore, foreshadowed by the tart, winey aroma. Notes of cherry, oak, olive, brine and leather give way to a subtle hint of funk and a dry, earthy finish," according to the brewery's tasting notes.
But if you want it, you'd better act now. Only 16,800 bottles of Boulevard's most expensive beer to date were brewed.
If you were one of the lucky ones who scored some Boulevard Chocolate Ale earlier this month, the Kansas City brewery wants you to know that some batches may have “an unwanted flavor.”
“We do routine quality checks on all of our beers and we recently found that some of the batches of Chocolate Ale have unwanted flavors that we really did not anticipate to have in the beer,” brewmaster Steven Pauwels said in a video posted on YouTube today.
The unwanted flavor is only in some batches of the bottled beer, he said. They are 2011-01, 2011-02 and 2011-03. According to a letter posted on Boulevard’s website, beers with the flavor are not harmful to consume. The taste did not extend to other Boulevard products.
The brewery identified the “undesirable” flavor while doing laboratory and sensory analysis of the beer, said marketing communications director Julie Weeks.
“It was part of our quality assurance program. We do this with all of our beers,” she said.
The brewery is offering refunds to those folks who got the extra-flavored ale. More information on that can be found here.
“We’re a proud brewery and we want to do that right thing,” said president John McDonald in the video.