I would feel remiss as a blogger if I didn’t relate to you people what happened with the Boulevard Chocolate Ale. Because the situation surrounding this beer qualifies as a “what happened” rather than a “standard limited edition beer release.”
Basically, the whole of Kansas City went berserk.
For those of you not familiar with the area, Boulevard is KC’s biggest and favoritest brewery, and the chocolatier they worked with, Christopher Elbow, is a local legend for making Beyond the Impossible-level awesome chocolate.* People were excited, with good reason. It’s like everything that’s awesome about Kansas City’s food scene (except the BBQ) rolled into a beer.
There was a lot of chatter before the beer’s release (which kept getting pushed back due to some kind of issue surrounding the label) – heavy anticipation, lots of beer geeks bugging each other online and calling into the store I work at wanting to know if the release date was set, that sort of thing. The longer we waited, the more we talked; the more we talked, the more excited we became.
When the Chocolate Ale finally appeared, the people that had been talking went out and bought it. Quickly. Thanks to the power of twitter and FSM knows what else, most liquor stores in the metro area sold out within hours of receiving their Tuesday-ish shipments.
The sellout happened when the only people aware of the new beer were the city beer geeks, who had been excitedly discussing this stuff for months.
But then it got worse. On the post-release, post-sellout Friday after the Tuesday beer buy-a-thon, the Kansas City Star (our local paper) stoked the fire by running a front page story about Boulevard Chocolate Ale, thus alerting the entire non-beer-snob populace to the existence of this grand and glorious collaboration of brewery and chocolatier.** Sensing something fabulous, the citizens of my fair metropolis reacted to this beer like 13 year old fangirls presented with the prospect of a concert featuring a triple header of Justin Bieber, the Jonas Brothers and Hannah Montana.
Unfortunately, the story was too much, too late. I think it mostly served to piss people off by letting them know that there had recently been awesome beer to be had, and that they had missed it. Furor ensued, filled with indignant complaints from people who hadn’t managed to find any Chocolate Ale. It went
a little overboard.***
Boulevard, caught WAY off guard, spent a few days figuring out what to do (I cannot imagine what working there must have been over the past week and a half), and ended by posting an apologetic (if taken aback) letter on its website, promising to make another batch next year. I think they’ve been pretty much 100% fantastic about all of this, given the insanity they’ve had to deal with.
At this point (9 days post-release), Chocolate Ale is going for $50 on craigslist and apparently higher on ebay, and twitter is alight with twits telling one where one can find a pint of the elixir.
Here’s my review, if you’d like to read it.
*Christopher Elbow chocolates look like this:
**To be honest, I think the Chocolate Ale got more news coverage in the paper that day than did everything going on in Egypt, but this may be faulty memory on my part. I forgot the rest of the news of the day the instant I saw the article because I was so
horrified startled to see it in print days after the beer was already gone.
13-year-old fangirls have zero sense of scale. I mean, it’s sad not to get some really cool beer, but it’s fundamentally just beer. It isn’t the last supply of oxygen left on the planet, so calm down. Please.