The 3rd leg of our booze-across-America was Kalamazoo, MI to see some great friends. If you’ve been reading for a while we were in Kalamazoo a few years back and visited Bell’s and a, then, brand new, Paw Paw Brewing. This time around we gave a couple we hadn’t heard of before a shot this time around and weren’t disappointed.
Up first: Boatyard Brewing Company. We had a flight (or a cruise?) and a pint, split a killer panini, and got a great personal tour of the brewing operation. First up was Wheelhouse Light- a refreshing amount of citrus with a clean and crisp finish. It may sound like it, but there’s nothing light about Wheelhouse’s flavor.
Next up on our nautical voyage was Kalamazoo Cream Ale. This was a bit lighter and a little less flavorful than Wheelhouse, but with a subtle sweetness that neither myself nor The Editor could pinpoint, I wouldn’t turn one down if I was slow-sippin on the dock of a bay somewhere.
Guiding us along to our next destination was Midnight Star. Midnight Star is a black cream ale that, after being left with a little to be desired from the last cream ale, left me wishing I had a few more sips at the bottom.
Following Midnight Star came Midnight Maple. Midnight Maple was a similar ale with the addition of maple. I honestly think that the addition of maple messed this one up. Smelled strongly, but lost it in the flavor department and I’d rather drink the Midnight Star.
If I may take a shot over the bow without being too disrespectful; West Michigan IPA, much like Western Michigan U sports, was a bit light and lack luster.
Ironically, End of Watch was our second to last, not our final beer. End of Watch is Boatyard’s barrel aged version of EZ Ale. I didn’t have the EZ Ale, but if I had to guess I’d say EZ Ale is a bready, unfiltered, wheat ale that’s light on the citrus. Couple that with a short stint in some barrels gave this brew an earthy and woody- almost straw flavor. Not my favorite style, but unique and well done.
Lastly, our jaunt came to an end with Siren’s Song. Much like the haunting beauty of a Siren’s song, too many pours of this bourbon barrel aged Russian imperial stout could lead a sailor to a shipwreck. The touch of coffee tasted burnt rather than roasted and it was a bit on the boozy side, other than that this stout finished with just enough sweetness and stay seriously thick and creamy through every sip. This bad boy would cellar very well. Love.
All in all, we really enjoyed our trip to the Boatyard. I know it can be expensive and barrels are hard to track down, but I’d really love to see them extend their already impressive barrel program. Maybe they could partner up with nearby Green Door Distilling? An 8.6 out of 10 for Boatyard Brewing Company!