Boulevard Beer remains local favorite

Michael Bushnell
Publisher


No Historic Postcard series on the Kansas City beer scene, past or present, would be complete without a profile of our present day hometown beer, Boulevard Brewing Company.


The mantra, “to brew the best glass of beer it can and offer it to local and regional beer drinkers,” still holds true today, over 33 years after its founding in 1989.


Boulevard founder John McDonald could be considered a true renaissance man in terms of his path to Kansas City’s brewing history books. In an age where the beer industry was, and really still is, 80% controlled by the big-box brewers such as Anheuser-Busch or Miller-Coors, McDonald was literally building his future as a carpenter and visiting Europe in the mid 1980’s to learn the old-school craft of brewing fine Belgian-style ales.


On November 17, 1989, Boulevard Brewing Company rolled its first keg off the line. Urban legend has it that keg was carted straight to Ponak’s Mexican Restaurant just down the street, where Boulevard’s first commercial account was located. Boulevard’s first year of production was a little over 1,800 barrels, all of it the brewery’s flagship brand, Pale Ale.


Over the next three years the brewery grew exponentially, increasing sales to 4,500 barrels in its second year of operation. By mid-1991, Boulevard was available in over 100 bars and restaurants in Kansas City and staff at the brewery had grown from three people to 12. Equipment upgrades included a new mash tun, two 30,000 pound grain silos and automatic bulk grain system.


Additionally, three new brands joined the original Pale Ale; Unfiltered Wheat, Bully! Porter, and the now classic Irish Ale, the latter being a must-have for any self respecting St. Patrick’s Day reveler. Just sayin’.


In 1993, another brand was added, Bob’s ’47, Boulevard’s first entry into the Lager category. Named for former Muehlebach Brewery Brewmaster Bob Werkowitch, who gave McDonald the recipe for his beer he brewed for the US Brewmaster’s Academy in 1947, hence the name Bob’s ’47.


The brewery has enjoyed consistent growth over the years, expanding and adding more brands such as Nutcracker, a traditional Winter Warmer, and Ten Penny Ale, a traditional pub-style ale, to its growing family of craft beers.


After 15 years, McDonald was approached by Michel Moortgat, principal of the Duvel Moortgat Brewery in Belgium about a possible merger. Shortly thereafter, Boulevard became the first US brewery to become part of the Duvel brand since its inception in 1871.


Boulevard continues to be Kansas City’s hometown brewery and has continued to modify its family of brands through the years. While some may have disappeared, such as Ten Penny Ale, new introductions such as Space Camper Cosmic IPA or the new Quirk Hard Seltzer are gaining favor to a new generation of Boulevard drinkers. To that, we proudly say, “Cheers!”

Want Northeast News articles sent straight to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
Enter your email address and click on the Get Instant Access button.
We respect your privacy

Comments are closed.

  • Drive to your gate at the new KCI

    November 23rd, 2022
    by

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News Fifty years ago this month, on November 11, 1972, Kansas City International Airport opened for the […]


    Remember This?

    November 23rd, 2022
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor To light or not to light? Whether displayed on the mantle or the Thanksgiving dinner table, these […]


    Remember This?

    November 16th, 2022
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor A handy book that fits in your hand, this student handbook from the archives of the Northeast […]


    Missouri Pacific: Route of the Eagles

    November 16th, 2022
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher Published for the Missouri Pacific–Iron Mountain & Southern Railway, this promotional postcard shows a picturesque view as […]


    Sheffield Car Works, part of the thriving Blue Valley Industrial District

    November 9th, 2022
    by

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News This week’s historic postcard is once again a companion to our Independence Avenue Community Improvement District […]


    Remember This?

    November 9th, 2022
    by

    Dorri Partain Northeast News Monuments and memorial plaques honoring those who served or gave their life defending our country are […]


    Time to get out the vote!

    November 2nd, 2022
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher The November midterm election is next Tuesday and right along with that we’ve got two vintage political […]


    Remember This?

    November 2nd, 2022
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor While autographs from celebrities may be the most requested, inscribed notes from family and friends can become […]


    Remember This?

    October 26th, 2022
    by

    Dorri Partain Northeast News Casting a warm glow on a Halloween night, illuminated blow-molded figurines once decorated numerous homes after […]


  • Amusement park, beer garden once stood on the Avenue

    October 26th, 2022
    by

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News Traveling east on Independence Avenue approaching Hardesty today, it is difficult to comprehend that, at one […]


    REMEMBER THIS?

    October 19th, 2022
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor A new type of candy named “Butter Cream Corn” contained no butter, cream nor corn, but could […]


    A Royal treat since 1899

    October 19th, 2022
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher The roots of today’s American Royal can be traced to 1899 when the fledgling event was referred […]


    Remember This?

    October 12th, 2022
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor “Every bit of Bit-O-Honey goes a long way” Introduced in 1924 by the Schutter-Johnson Company of Chicago, […]


    Priests of Pallas, Kansas City’s original harvest festival

    October 12th, 2022
    by

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News In the late 1880s, Kansas City was awash with excitement that it too would soon have […]


    Remember this?

    October 5th, 2022
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor Whether you only use a few drops or a tablespoon or two, Tabasco pepper sauce will add […]


    Electric Park’s favorite band

    October 5th, 2022
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher This week we celebrate October as Italian Heritage Month by featuring this Electric Park postcard published by […]


    Remembering The Bales Family

    September 28th, 2022
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor Northeast neighbors during life may also end up being neighbors during their eternal rest. In the next […]


    Elmwood Cemetery’s Historic Armour Chapel

    September 28th, 2022
    by

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News The year was 1871 when Phillip Danforth Armour, in partnership with John Plankington, opened a small […]


  • Northeast Newscast

    264: KC Tenants Power

    November 20th, 2022
    by

  • Remember This?


  • Want articles sent directly to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
    We respect your privacy and will not distribute your information.