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Review: Boulevard Harvest Dance wheat wine

Posted by Gary Dzen, Staff  November 21, 2012 08:24 AM

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Thanksgiving is upon us, and I wanted to give you one more beer option for your holiday celebration. Last week I gave you a great cranberry beer from Harpoon, but if fruit beers aren't your thing, the annual seasonal offering from Kansas City's Boulevard Brewing may just do the trick.

Boulevard Harvest Dance wheat wine is a good beer to accompany your meal or end your night Thursday. It's a beer that fits snugly into the period between Oktoberfest and Christmas, a beer that celebrates the harvest as the end of the fall season.This Boulevard offering is strong but not heavy, smooth but not an especially easy sipper. For the time of year, it's just about right.

harvestdance.jpg A wheat wine is a style similar to a barley wine in strength but containing a large proportion of wheat malt. Boulevard uses 20 percent raw wheat and 25 percent wheat malt in this brew. Belgian ale yeast is also used, though this beer doesn't adhere to a particular Belgian style.

Poured into a snifter, Harvest Dance is light orange in color with a fluffy head. The first scent wafting up from the glass is the banana notes from the Belgian yeast. I also get brown sugar and fruit. Why fruit, you ask? Hallertau and Citra hops impart a burst of citrus, and the beer is also bottle conditioned with Muscat grape juice. To round out the flavor profile, the brew is aged on both French and American Oak.

Harvest Dance tastes as smooth as it sounds. Bananas, grapes, and a silky butterscotch dominate the flavor profile. The hops are somewhat muted (42 IBUs), but that's more a product of the presence of other ingredients than a lack of hops. There are wine notes here, which will pair nicely with your squash or pumpkin pie. The finish is dry due to the oak aging. At 9.1 percent alcohol by volume, a dry finish is welcome.

What will you be drinking on Thanksgiving? Leave a comment below and let's get some holiday beer conversation going. Cheers to you and yours.

Gary Dzen

About 99 Bottles

Gary Dzen writes about craft beer here and in the Globe when he's not covering the Celtics for He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @GaryDzen.

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