21st Anniversary Fresh Hop Pale Ale | Boulevard Brewing Co.

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21st Anniversary Fresh Hop Pale Ale21st Anniversary Fresh Hop Pale Ale
113 Ratings
21st Anniversary Fresh Hop Pale Ale21st Anniversary Fresh Hop Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Boulevard Brewing Co.
Missouri, United States

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.40%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
In November of 1989, John McDonald loaded his pickup and drove three blocks down the street to deliver the very first keg of Boulevard beer. Though significantly more assertive, Boulevard 21st Anniversary Fresh Hop Pale Ale is brewed in loving tribute to that original Pale Ale. English pale malt gives the brew a rich, nutty malt flavor. Munich and Caramel malts add color and body, while a blend of Cascade, Hallertau, Magnum, Styrian Golding, and Centennial hops contribute scintillating citrus aromas and complex, peppery notes.

40 IBU

Added by BedetheVenerable on 10-29-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 113 |  Reviews: 71
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Blazing bonfire orange with bright tangerine borders and a massive crown of pillowy foam that is some combination of pale orange, ivory and ecru. Shallow divots form in the upper surface with melting and plenty of good looking lace makes it to the glass.

The hop bill is an United Nations affair and includes varieties from this country, England and Germany. The Americans (grapefruit and orange) still rule the roost, but aren't as tremendous as they would have been if they were the only roosters in the barn... or something like that.

Every bottle of Boulevard 21st Anniversary Fresh Hop Pale Ale in your possession (or on your shopping list) should be consumed sooner rather than later. That's because this is not a devastatingly hoppy brew by any means. It's still hoppy good, it just isn't really, really hoppy good.

Part of the reason for the less than impressive hop flavor punch is a selection of malts that includes toasted-earthy-nutty Munich alongside pale and caramel. Munich almost always spoils the mouth party for me, though to be fair, there isn't a ton of it here.

As expected, the hops deliver a combination of citrus peel, herbs and grasses. It's all pretty pleasant, and the semi-biting bitterness seems to be building as the alpha acids accumulate with each mouthful. Picking a 'best by' date of 06/2011 is laughable. This offering will be a shadow of its present self by New Year's day.

Despite impressive foam creation with each pour, it doesn't feel like there are enough bubbles to go around. The beer collapses a little too quickly, but is big enough to start with that it still deserves the above score.

When it comes to hoppy APAs/IPAs/DIPAs from Boulevard Brewing, the gold medal goes to Single Wide IPA, the silver to 21st Anniversary Fresh Hop Pale Ale, and the bronze to Double Wide IPA. All are rock-solid, none are spectacular. I'm still glad that all three are available mere minutes from my front door.

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Photo of Jake1605
5/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a 12 oz. snifter that was rinsed before pouring.

Appearance: Hazy orange. Although it doesn't look very carbonated, it is & it steadily holds a thick 1 1/2 finger head longer than most beers of the same style I have tried.

Smell: Very sharp, fresh, citrusy smell. I also smell piney hops, possibly some caramel.

Taste: This is an amazing rendition of the style, it has everything I expect & want from a wet hop pale ale and then some. The hints of apples give this beer an apple cider like feel but not too sour, it's very subtle as this is a very complex brew. This beer was built very well--I wish I knew exactly what I am tasting. I hope they start brewing a fresh hop pale ale every fall, and can only imagine how much better this was when it was fresher.

Mouthfeel: Very full bodied, it feels higher carbonated but I don't see it. The beer is very hard to see through so maybe that's why--All I know is that there is a party going on right now on my palate!

Drinkability: Insanely drinkable for a 7.4% ABV beer. If this was available year around (in a perfect world), this would be one of my go to APA's.

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Photo of Bierlerner
4.16/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle poured into a straight glass.

A-a nice copper haze with a great frothy head that sticks around for a minute

S-definite piney smell dominates. But it's really not that strong.

T-Piney and hoppy with, too my surprise, not too much hop....though this is just a pale ale. Citrusy as well. Great flavor, but not too standout-ish.

M-there is great playful carbonation. Medium body and very smooth

D-again, another Boulevard beer that I could drink one after the other. Even in 750ml bottles. Lol

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Photo of Mississipping
4.26/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml corked & caged bottle poured into first edition Boulevard Smokestack Series snifter. Big thanks to Bobbydigi for sending a bottle of this down south.

A: Pours a very hazy, brownish resinite, with a modest light khaki colored head that diminishes quickly to leave a thin ring and only small traces of lacing. Appearance is exceptional.

S: Hops and pine come to the fore, with only slight hints of anything citrusy. Yet at the same time there is a floral sweetness. The aroma is the least notable quality of this beer, but certainly not off putting.

T: Much like the smell, the hops and pine are dominant. Surprisingly sweet maltiness, and not much in the way of citrus flavors. After searching for them with each sip, MAYBE some orange and/or grapefruit can be discovered, but only as the finish dries out.

M: Medium bodied. Carbonation is very pronounced on the tongue (bubbly and lively), but not in the glass at all (hazy and dormant). Nice dry finish with earthy, piney flavors. Alcohol is hidden very, very well, allowing its other qualities an opportunity to be more appreciated.

D: While this isn't quite what I was expecting, or was led to believe it would be like, I think it's a great tribute to and adaptation of Boulevard's Pale Ale. I might had been expecting a little more, but in retrospect, this is really a great APA. Boulevard has done a great job with this, and it's one that I would go back to over and over again if it was available in my area.

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Photo of bfields4
4.23/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Copper hazy color. A nice frothy head provides a good lace down the side of the glass.

Very herbal noble hop smell with an after hint of lemon zest. Some sweet malt lingering in the back

This beer has the most complex hop taste out of any beer I have ever tried. It hits on every hop flavor I have ever tasted. It begins with a piny earthy hop fades to a light citrus and ends with the lemony twang. It's all backed by a nice malt base very similar if not the same as their regular pale ale.

A bit of a bite, but very easy to drink. The abv is a little surprising. The carbonation is very well done as with most of boulevard's beers. I'm a big fan of this one.

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Photo of Jason
4.17/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml brown magnum with a vintage date on the label.

Tiny bubbled egg shell color head leaves a think curtain of lace on the glass. Maroon-ish amber color with only a sight haze from the hops. Minty, peppery, leafy and citric peel freshness in the nose from the hops. Smooth and creamy lush malty body. The hop bitterness stay pretty mellow, just a low level of prickliness. The flavor however is layered on thick with orange peel, blond tobacco, and peppercorn. Alcohol jumps in with a splash of apple and pear fruitiness. Oh yeah, there is malt year ... a great base of it with a hint of caramel and biscuit. Leafy dryness in the end.

I really do love these fresh hop ales, BLVD does a great job here and I certainly received my hop fix here.

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Photo of gwguest
4.12/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a C&C'd 750ml bottle into a Unibroue Tulip. This beer has only been on the shelf in KC for two days. It's been available for up to two weeks in other markets.

Bottle opens easily with a nice soft pop.

A: A medium pour yields a large cream colored foam. Foam holds up nicely before giving way. Subsequent pours reproduce the same level of foam. The beer is clear - but not brilliantly so - and amber in color. It looks like a pale ale, which is to say, forgettable.

S: Grassy, herbal, spicy aroma with a tinge of floral / citrus. It's a hoppy smell, but not anything that will knock you off of your feet.

T: Light caramel malt flavor cut nicely by a firm hop presence.

A nice balance of hop flavor and bitterness. A slightly resinous flavor and feel, again with a slightly citrus twinge on top of the earthy hops. I worry that my hop sense needs to be re-calibrated after drinking too many IPAs and DIPAs. The hops are pretty subtle and blended in this beer. The bitterness is spot on and does a perfect job of cutting the initial sweetness of the beer.

M: Spot on. No alcohol burn; a sweet start with a dry finish.

D: Dangerously drinkable. This drinks like an APA, but weighs in at a slightly bigger 7.4%. I feel like I could polish off two or three of these 750s without even thinking about it.

While I wish I got more aroma out of this beer, Boulevard 21st Anniversary Ale is really subtle and a stunning example of balance in a beer. Blvd21a is excellently crafted and a shining example of what Boulevard does so well. Kudos to Boulevard for making a beer to mark a major milestone that doesn't follow the herd of Barrel aged double mocha vanilla imperial stouts, and having the guts to put out a beer that everyone can appreciate. It's crazy to make a 'special' APA these days, but they knock this out of the park.

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Photo of bort11
4.03/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml corked and caged bottle, poured into a Smokestack chalice. A dense ivory colored head initially goes up the the rim of the glass, then slides down to the surface. A tight lace sits on the surface and then wraps around the glass with each sip. Body color is a burnt orange. Light comes through but the clarity is hazy. Lazy carbonation drifts around the glass.

Hops take center stage to the smell, but these are not the aggressive hops of an American IPA or DIPA. Tropical fruits like tangerines, mangoes and pineapple have a relaxed sweetness. The hops add a pine needle layer to the front taste. Red grapefruit finishes out the after taste. Sweet, tart and fruity.

Mouthfeel has a light, fluffy character with a slightly oily slickness. There is a juicy stickiness on the roof of my mouth. It's like ruby red grapefruit juice. I get the feeling that the full force of the hops have been balanced out by the pale malts. A great homage to the original midwest American Pale Ales.

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Photo of TexIndy
4.7/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml corked and caged bottle into a tulip glass. I thought I was never going to get that cork out. Had an issue with the last several Boulevards and corks. Getting to be a bit annoying. Best by date on 6/11 on back label. This was just released and store got it a week ago so it's fresh. Oh yeah! It was a very hazy amber color with good carb from the etching. It had a massive 2+ finger foamy head that very slowly settled into a good collar and foam cap. Good lacing with a little sticking.

The aroma was excellent with pine and citric hops blending with the English malt. Caramel. Excellent for an APA and worth lots of sniffs throughout. The taste was also excellent. Starts out with a solid caramel malt base. In the middle, the spicy hops kick in for a great flavor burst. Towards the end, the bitter pine hops start to ramp up for a good mild bitter finish that doesn't linger too long. Really liked this one especially the middle. Mouthfeel was nice and chewy with good carb levels and great aftertaste.

Overall, this was a great beer. I've been more IPA or DIPA but this one really grabbed my attention. Great balance of the sweet malt with some spicy and bitter hops. Highly recommend especially if you can get fresh. Avail here in TX. Rotation - one time anniversary release and best fresh so I'll probably grab a couple more. If regular and in 12oz bottles, this would make the rotation. [R;Y]

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Photo of Reaper16
3.88/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

750mL bottle served into a tulip glass

Pours a murky burnt orange color. You can see the carbonation stream right at the bottom of the glass -- the bottom is more translucent and vibrant -- but those bubbles rise into a cloud of darker muck. The head is insane. Two fingers worth of dense, rich buttermilk foam sit on top with no intention of leaving. The lacing is monolithic. This is a Boulevard beer -- BLVD are the undisputed masters of appearance amongst American brewers -- and it certainly shows. Few pale ales look as good as this one, and a lighter color would have earned it a 5.0 score.

This is a wet hop beer, alright. Bitter, acerbic pine needles are what I smell first. Resinous hops. Lemongrass. Some English malt shines though. Smells like Maris Otter malt. Some strange tea smell, but the tea leaves are flavored with lemon and banana. But, really, the pine needles tend to dominate, regulating all other scents to the land of subtlety.

21st Anniversary Pale Ale does not taste like I thought it would. It is quite strange, especially considering that the label description promises, among other things, "scintillating citrus notes." I do not get much in the way of citrus at all. I get some orange rind and some lemongrass (which I know isn't at all citrus, but it is emblematic of how this beer is: fruity but in a way that is subservient to herbal flavors). Ghosts of grapefruit pith at the most. Caramel malt meets the dry, tea-like Maris Otter malt. Lots of fresh pine flavor slaps around the palate on the finish. This is one of the more herbal APAs that you or anyone you know has ever had. This actually reminds me more of an Imperial English IPA than it does an APA. The balance and novelty earn this a 4.0; just don't come into it expecting a beer like Alpha King or Schlafly APA. BUT, I have to bring the score down to a 3.5 because of how it tastes after it gets warmer. The citrus really starts to come out with warmth, and that citrus completely clashes with the English flavors previously enjoyed. It's still a tasty beer, but it becomes less coherent than perhaps any other Boulevard beer ever.

This beer is a bit thin as far as mouthfeel goes. Just a bit; enough for it to miss the "good" mark. The carbonation isn't too terribly active either, despite the giant, consistent head on this thing. It is super-drinkable, though. You don't get any alcohol, and the herbal, earthy flavors are unique enough and presented with such balance that you take sip after sip after sip until the beer is gone.

This is by no means a groundbreaking APA. It is however a fitting tribute to Boulevard's first beer: Pale Ale. That pale ale recipe is 21 years old now. It practically taught entire states (Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Oklahoma) what beer could be. That beer, while a long-time entry point into craft beer, is STILL a solid B-to-B+ range American Pale Ale today. 21st Anniversary Fresh Hop Pale Ale takes a uniquely English spin on things and makes for a fine drinking session. This beer is only underwhelming if you let it be. Look at this beer for its English influence and you'll find that this beer is successful.

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Photo of zeff80
3.71/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear, copper color with a three-finger, khaki colored head of thick foam. It was long-lasting and left sticky, thin rings of lace.

S - It smelled of tropical fruits, citrus and caramel.

T - It had some spicy hops with a citrus kick and some sweet caramel malt.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a dry finish.

D - This is good but not great. It had a hoppy aroma that didn't deliver much of a bitter bite. And it had a muted caramel aroma but the caramel flavor dominated the taste.

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Photo of katan
3.54/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml into a pint

A - Pours a solid brown color, opaque but not hazy. Not much suspended yeast. Head formation is light, breaks down to a film. Not much apparent carbonation.

S - Very light orange, citrus like hop scent. Some piney notes are present. Overall it is very unassertive.

T - Starts off with some light caramel, smooth sweet malts. Mid-stream you get that very earthy, resinous fresh hop scent. Finishes with a strong bitterness, tongue grabbing bitterness. Some lingering hop piney notes are retained.

M - Moderate body - at times seems a little thin. Carbonation is very noticeable on the palette. Finishes clean.

D - Moderate drinkability. ABV is high for an APA, but not extreme - so not a great session beer. Not excessively filling. The fresh hop flavors can make you a little palette weary.

A nice offering from the company that started me on craft beer.

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Photo of BedetheVenerable
3.45/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Presentation: Corked and caged brown 750; nice, simple, classy label

Appearance: Dark burnt orange beer, crowned by an impressive dark ivory cap which fades slowly to a thick sticky film.

Smell: Tons of fruity hoppiness up front; it's not the typical citrus notes; I can't pick out any particular fruits, but this is sticky, sweet, and really vibrant. This is all about the hops, with no real malt presence in the aroma.

Taste: Semisweet tropical fruity flavors, balanced out by bitter, slightly astringent, leafy herbal bitterness. A bit of an odd mix, really. There's a real surprising lack of malt here as well; I figured the hops would completely overtake the malts in the aroma, but I expected a bit more balance in the flavor department. I honestly don't get hardly any malt here (w/the exception of some caramel sweetness), and I'm looking pretty hard. In my opinion, the hop aroma is a bit nicer than the flavor. The mix of hops (Cascade, Hallertau, Styrian Golding, Magnum, and Centennial, I believe) seems a bit odd, and while it smells like sweet, sticky Hawaiian fruit, the mix of sweet fruit and bitter, herbal leafy notes doesn't quite come together for me.

Mouthfeel: Fairly light for the abv, but not too light by any means.

Drinkability: Medium

Conclusion: I was expecting to love this. I don't love it. It's a nice looking beer, the aromas are sticky-sweet and deliciously fruity, the weight is just right to make this plenty drinkable. I loved the brewers' idea for this beer: it was basically meant to recreate the impression of their regular Pale Ale (which I like) when it first came out in a world full of fizzy yellow lagers. Kudos to Boulevard for not doing a triple barrel-aged, Brett-infused, aged on monkey-poo 21st anniversary beer. They stuck to their roots, and had a cool concept to do it. In the end, I'd just like the malt/hop balance of their original Pale Ale, and the hop mix here doesn't quite work for me. That being said, I can't think of a single brewery that I love all their beers. Thanks for all you've brought us Boulevard, and here's to another 21 years!

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21st Anniversary Fresh Hop Pale Ale from Boulevard Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.05 out of 5 with 113 ratings