REVIEW: Boulevard Funky Pumpkin Ale
Boulevard Brewing Company! They’re one of my favorite breweries around. Lately they’re getting more and more into the sour game, and I’ve really been impressed by their offerings. Tell-Tale Tart, Tank 7, and Love Child are all excellent beers that deserve some sort of award from their Kansas City hometown. (I was just about to make a Missouri joke, but I don’t want to become your typical one-note blogger who just rips apart states sometimes.) And with the exception of Love Child, which costs roughly the same as my monthly rent, their sours are very affordable. This encourages experimentation for drinkers who are just dipping their toe into the murky, Brett-laced pond of sour beers.
Boulevard Funky Pumpkin is the newest addition to their sour lineup. It’s billed as a “spiced sour ale.” If you ask me, this is a pretty ballsy description. A bunch of people like pumpkin beer, but only a small and rabid group enjoy sour beers, and Boulevard is appealing to the tiny group in the middle that happen to enjoy both. Seeing “sour” on the label will cause a lot of people to skip over it without a second thought. (My aunt says all sour beers taste like a foot that just burped.) Even if they do find an audience, Boulevard has to actually make it good enough for more than just a one-off novelty purchase. In a sea of fall beers that all want to be 100% pumpkin or bust, Boulevard doesn’t mind alienating a fair amount of the pumpkin beer consumer base. I respect that decision, because similar to Boulevard, I enjoy making questionable decisions that are ultimately a huge waste of time.
I brought a six pack of Funky Pumpkin to a friend’s house and, by luck, had a few other pumpkin beers around as well. This worked out well because I was able to really figure out what I liked and what was lacking. And to be clear, most of it I really, really liked.
The sour is definitely there: it’s on the subtle end of the spectrum, but it’s noticeable and pleasant and works surprisingly well with the sweet, rich pumpkin flavors. Pumpkin in this beer is also subtle. Honestly, it’s closer to the “spiced” category in general rather than specifically “pumpkin spiced.” You could bust this out during Christmas and call it “Funky Snowman” and it would feel just as appropriate.* As it warms up, you lose some of the spices and the sour gets a bit more pronounced. That part wasn’t enjoyable (warm sour beers are basically barf), but that’s more an issue with this style of beer rather than the beer itself. Fair warning, though: drink this baby cold.
There’s a lot of interesting tastes in this beer, and you can tell that a lot of thought went into crafting it. I think its main downfall is that it’s on the lighter side, both in color and spices, and my personal favorite pumpkin beers have a bit more heft to them. Also, the sour factor means it’s not an “easy drinking” beer. (After I was done with a couple Funky Pumpkins, I switched to New Belgium’s Pumpkick and drank it like water. Like WATER, bro.) Again, not really a good or bad thing, just something to keep in mind. Boulevard wanted to add something unique into this sick sad pumpkin game that we all play, and I think they achieved their goal.
Beers in a Six Pack Rating: 6 out of 10
Enjoyability of Warm Sour Beer: 2 out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 out of 10
*Boulevard Brewing, please be aware that I now own all rights and licenses to the name “Funky Snowman.” I can be paid off in Love Child’s. (Seriously, that beer is expensive.)