Feature photo by tswicegood

The 4th of July is the perfect time for celebration. And what better way to celebrate the independence of this country than with a great American beer?  Break out that grill, grab some friends and pick up some Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat!

I’m a big fan of this brew for a few reasons. First, it has great but subtle, flavor. Second, it’s pretty modest in alcohol at only 4.4 abv. And last, it has moderately low IBUs at only seventeen. All these reasons scream one thing to me: Session Beer!

Just as it sounds, session beer is the kind of beer you can have in a large session. This wheat beer is something that can be drunk in massive quantities and still not catch too much of a buzz over. Of course, I’m not suggesting you just shotgun the beer! I’m saying you can spend all day outside grilling and tossing back a few beers and not be tanked at the end of the night. Also, the subtle wheat flavors are not going to become too much to bear by the third (or fourth, or fifth…) bottle.

The last reason I like this beer is for the low IBUs or International Bittering Units. This is literally the measure of how bitter the liquid is. Now, I do love a bitter IPA, just as I’m sure others do, but how have you felt after you spent the night drinking them? I usually always wake up with a terrible hangover, even if I only had one or two beers. After talking to others and running many completely unscientific tests on myself, I have come to the conclusion that one can become hungover from hop oils.

During the brewing process, the sweet liquid from the mash is boiled with hops. This boiling process dissolves the hop resins into the liquid, and eventually, you drink these oils. It is my theory that — at least in some people — these oils react in the stomach and seem to intensify hangovers. This seems to make sense since hop oils are actually antimicrobial.

Off my “Professor Jay” rant, this really is a great beer. It pours an opaque straw color and tops itself with a large, puffy white head. Aromas are light, but I get a sweet, nutty, wheaty character that persists into the flavor. Just like last month’s Beer of the Month (BOTM), this beer has a more robust mouthfeel than one might expect, but it never becomes cloying or too much to handle. Also, in relation to last month’s BOTM, this beer is the American counterpart to the German hefeweissen. What’s characteristic? The clean tasting yeast and a bit of citrusy hops — totally American.

So on your 4th of July celebration, enjoy the great session beer that is Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat. It’s the perfect beer for celebrating outdoors and is available in six-packs for about $9. If you’re done with wheat beers and you’re looking for something else to drink when it’s “thirsty” out, I’m a big fan of Genesse Cream Ale, Boddingtons Pub Ale or Half Acre Gossamer.

What do you drink when it’s “thirsty” out? Do you believe that heavy IBUs really amp up a bad hangover? Leave a comment below!

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