I joke that there's a "Blood Line" around Philadelphia. Outside the Blood Line in Pennsylvania, people hunt and fish as a matter of course; it's a sport, it's cultural, it's fun. Inside the Blood Line, people are appalled at the thought of hunting, Bambi killers and such, and fishing is borderline (probably because Hemingway did it, or something).
I think there must be a Wheat Line in America, and I blame Widmer. Widmer Hefeweizen, to be exact. Way back in the mists of microbrewing, the Widmers started brewing an unfiltered wheat beer with a relatively clean altbier yeast, and they called it Hefeweizen, the German word for an unfiltered wheat beer. Not a big deal, only the German brewing tradition already had a well-established unfiltered wheat beer that was brewed with a special top-fermenting yeast that produced familiar flavors of banana, clove, plum, and smoke.
Unfortunately, Widmer's name muddied the waters in the American craft beer market. "Hefeweizen" came to be the tag for their clean-tasting (that's a euphemism for "bland") unfiltered wheat ale instead of the more robustly-flavored (that's a euphemism for "good") German-type hefes that folks like Stoudt's and Victory were making. Widmer was right in the middle of the booming PNW craft market, and soon they had competitors -- Redhook, Pyramid, and others -- all making "Hefeweizen."
Well, somewhere about the Mississippi-Missouri River line, the Wheat Line runs. West of it, it's "American Hefe," and east of it, it's "The Proper Stuff." Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat Beer is west of the line. I give them a tip of the hat, thought, for calling it "Unfiltered Wheat," so let's take it on its merits.
First, it's wicked fresh-smelling. It's like being in a brewery where the fresh beer pours right from the tap; nice job on the packaging. There's a wheaty/fruity/slightly salty tang to it, almost like apricot-scented Play-Doh. Flavor is pretty quick, but not light; there's a slip of bitterness there, and nothing cloying. This is a good cold summer beer, no doubt quite welcome in hot KC summers.
Boulevard does nice work, and I look forward to trying some of their Smokestack series later this year.