Boulevard Collaboration #1: The Price is Right?!!

Don Galligan…C’mon Down!  You’re the next sucker to buy this beer!  At least that is what I felt like after I opened the Boulevard Collaboration #1 Imperial Pilsner.  You know I had heard it from others saying they wouldn’t pay that much for a Pilsner, but I thought I knew so much more than them!  I was so smart, I had inside information that this pilsner was the pilsner, and it would be a transformative experience.  I had heard from a trusted source that it was exceptionally good.  That it was expensive, but you paid for quality blah blah blah!   Turns out it is just a good pilsner, and I felt like a tourist that was mobbed by a pack of marauding 8 year olds in Sao Paolo, Brazil and when they left my wallet is gone.  So how much am I out?…

$13.00.  Now in the grand scheme of things $13.00 is not a lot of money.  But all things considered I think I could have spent it wiser.  And that is where I begin to feel a little like a fool.  When a beer makes you feel stupid (and not because you have drank too many of them) it is not a good beer.

We spend a lot of time on this blog writing about the emotions and the relative value of things based on the experience, not just the flavor.  I should have considered that when I took the advice to buy this beer.  The person that I had heard from that liked it so much, first of all didn’t pay for it.  Had he shelled out the $13.00 perhaps he would have thought differently, and second of all he shared it with a friend that had just brought it back from Colorado, because they couldn’t get it locally. (Sounding familiar Nate?) So it was my fault that I didn’t consider all these circumstances under which the glowing recommendation was made.  First it was free, second it was shared with a friend and good times, third it was rare and couldn’t be obtained locally.  All these factors played into his experience, and I had none of that.  I was drinking a beer in my kitchen that I had purchased.  My wife liked it, and she took a sip out of the bottle that was very sexy, I might add, but in the end I drank it sitting on the couch watching TV.  So it wasn’t worth it.

I recently had a pilsner I really liked.  It was at Victory Brewing, their Prima Pils.  A very good, solid and flavorful beer.  Was it as good as the Boulevard Collaboration?  Probably not, but it was close, and I can buy a 12 pack or two growlers full for what I paid for one 750 ml bottle of the Boulevard Collaboration.  That makes it better in my book.  Now some beers don’t rise up.  I’m never going to say that Miller Lite which is brewed as a pilsner is worth the money, even though I can buy a case for the same $13.00.  It’s not worth it.  So this isn’t a volume argument, but it is a value argument, and there is little value here.


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30 Comments on “Boulevard Collaboration #1: The Price is Right?!!”

  1. April 27, 2010 at 12:24 pm #

    I think $13.00 is a little dear for any pilsner, even if it’s “the” pilsner.

    I’m also a big fan of Prima Pils, and I can pick up a bomber for under $5.00. It’s an excellent beer and the price is right – there’s your value. Actually, now I’m in the mood for one and I’m out. Dammit Don!

    • Don
      April 27, 2010 at 3:57 pm #

      You’re lucky Jim that you live so close to Victory and can get the Prima Pils. A great Pilsner at a great price. I however live in the Victory Black hole in the Intermountain west. Some day perhaps they’ll take pity on us hicks from the sticks and send some our way.

  2. April 27, 2010 at 12:43 pm #

    That sux Don.

    Still, its hard to measure the other things. I mean, would the beer be a little less worse if it were on sale for $9.99? Or, what if you paid $20 for it, but had it with a neighbor or friend, would that have made it a better beer?

    I know what you’re saying (I think) when factoring in the big picture of the beer experience, but its hard to fault the beer because someone else loved it and happened to get it for free and has friends (not that you don’t). 🙂

    People have different tastes. I suppose enough people are buying ‘THE Pilsner’ to warrant that price, right, otherwise it would be in the bargain bin.

    • Don
      April 27, 2010 at 3:47 pm #

      To answer your questions Scott, I would have felt a little better about this pilsner if I had paid $9.99 for it, but not a lot, because for what I got it would have still been too high. I think Boulevard was banking on the fact that is was their first ever collaboration, it was a limited release so it was a little rare, and that it was a collaboration with a Belgian brewery which gives it a little bit of an international mystique. For the price they must have started the ting in Denver, then put it on a ship across the Atlantic to Belgium, Orval blessed it with yeast then shipped it back to the US for fermentation and bottling. To me there is no other way to justify the price of this brew. Was it good? Yes. I might even say it was the best pilsner I have ever had flavor wise, because it was, but I totally get hung up on the cost, and I can’t get past it from a value to product standpoint.

  3. April 27, 2010 at 8:40 pm #

    Gotcha. I’m not a huge Pilsner fan either, and I probably wouldn’t have bought it even if it were a collaboration with the Vatican and was selling for $1.99! But, that’s just me and I should probably try some more of them actually. I did think Prima Pils was pretty good but nothing that knocked my socks off.

    • Don
      April 27, 2010 at 9:42 pm #

      If you like Prima Pils, you would like this too. Just make sure someone else is buying, because it isn’t worth the price of admission!

  4. April 28, 2010 at 8:57 am #

    Well shux…I thought you’d love it.

    First off, I think it’s a shame that Pilsners are denigrated to the “white trash” of beer just because of the macro lagers that abuse the term “Pilsner.”

    The night I split Collab 1 with friends, one of them made a similar statement that there’s no way they’d pay the money for it…but they’d easily shell out 15 bucks for a big old Imperial Stout. Let me tell you: an excellent imperial stout is easier to make than a mediocre Pilsner. The gross quantities of malts and and sugars hide flaws so easily. This isn’t the case in a pilsner.

    Pilsners require the most attentive skills of the brewer to achieve balance between sweet and bitter, and also perfect brewing skill to avoid flaws that are hidden in the style of the typical craft craft beer.

    In my opinion, this beer was THE most balanced pilsner out there. Perhaps it was the skill of a life long brewer for a world renowned trappist brewery that aided that. This beer was his life long dream, as the monks at Orval only manufacture ONE beer, and that being an ale. Perhaps it was his knowledge of implementing a forgotten method of brewing (hopping the mash) that aided to the perfection and balance.

    Yeah, it’s an expensive Pilsner. I think it’s the best out there. I think that warrants the price. I just bought 6 botttles of dark lord for 15 bucks a piece. I could sell each on ebay for $40 right now. They don’t TOUCH the quality of this Pilsner.

    • Don
      April 28, 2010 at 10:14 am #

      Its too expensive 🙂

    • April 28, 2010 at 10:15 am #

      I think it might be about what you get for your money, Nate. With the bigger more complex beers, you know there’s more “stuff” in there (you can see and taste it) as well as more booze (you can feel that!).

      I agree that pilsners and lagers have been dragged down by macro brewers, but they are two wonderful and traditional beer styles. My go-to session beers are Prima Pils and Victory Lager because they are so subtle, crisp and clean. As you say, they are both styles where it’s difficult to hide imperfections and it takes a good brewer to do them right.

      All that said, I think I’d still hesitate to shell out $14 for a pilsner, because even a masterful one isn’t so nuanced that I’d feel it’s worth it. I know I can appreciate such a beer, but paying for it is another matter entirely!

  5. April 28, 2010 at 9:36 am #

    Nate makes several great points that explain the price, and fellas like us who don’t have our palates refined quite enough just yet simply can’t appreciate it. Personally, its not a beer style I love so I avoid buying it. By avoiding it, I can’t tell good from not-so-good, and perhaps the same is true with you. I’m finally getting over my IPA phobia, so maybe I’ll start into some Pilsners.

    • April 28, 2010 at 9:44 am #

      Haha, trust me scott…my palate is far from refined. My wife’s is better than mind. i think the overall point I was making is that if the beer was of the same caliber of another style that is less derided by the craft community, the community would say this brew is a bargain.

      I’m with you on IPA’s too. In fact, they all taste very similar to me. But when i do taste a good one, I’m willing to spend more cash to buy it again, like the one I found from Don, the Oak Aged Un Earthly.

      • Don
        April 28, 2010 at 10:25 am #

        The Oak aged unearthly is worth the $$. This pilsner is not. Like I said Nate, this is the best pilsner I have ever had. I still feel cheated and fleeced.

    • Don
      April 28, 2010 at 10:17 am #

      It’s still too expensive 🙂

      • April 28, 2010 at 12:51 pm #

        That’s kind of the point I was making…it was too expensive for you. The guy who absolutely detests IPAs in all their forms could easily write a review hailing unearthly as overpriced swill. I think he’d be wrong, becuase the labor involved in making it justifies the price whether it is suitable to his taste or not.

        At least we can agree on Buffalo Bills blueberry stout, eh? 😉

      • April 28, 2010 at 1:34 pm #

        We’re talking about value here, and that’s always subjective. I wouldn’t pay for Tactical Nuclear Penguin but would consider ponying up for some Utopias, for example.

        They are selling these for $14 and people are buying them. That says there’s a market for expensive and exquisite pilsners. You think it’s overpriced, Don, and you wouldn’t buy it again. To each their own, but you knew it was a pilsner and you still spent the dough. D’oh!

        • Don
          April 28, 2010 at 1:47 pm #

          OK, no one is listening to me so let me be perfectly clear, “THIS WAS THE BEST PILSNER I HAVE EVER HAD!!!. So I do get it. It was great. It wasn’t worth the price I paid. Say they started selling Dragon’s Milk at the Nicks games for $16 a glass. You know one of those big red plastic jobs. You like the brew, hell you might even buy one, but would you feel like it was a fair price? I don’t think so. That is how I feel. And despite the fact that it is harder to make a good pilsner, lots of breweries make some pretty good ones and don’t charge near the price.

      • April 28, 2010 at 2:00 pm #

        I hear what you’re saying, Don.

        What I’m saying is that it shows how much of an Idiot (with a capital “I”) you are because you knew it was a pilsner and you still paid $14 for it. It’s the best pilsner you’ve had, so the beer did its job, but you feel $14 is too much to spend on a pilsner, even a wonderful one. Then why the hell did you buy it?!! You knew what it was when you picked it up.

        • Don
          April 28, 2010 at 2:09 pm #

          Oh, but I did not know what it was when I picked it up! You forget I am new to the beer game. Aside from Pilsner Urkell and Stella Artuois (I’m sure those are both spelled incorrectly) I really haven’t had another pilsner, unless you count the Miller Lite crap. So I was expecting to be whisked away to happy beer land upon my first sip, and happy beer land couldn’t even budge my fat ass. What I got was a big bottle of pilsner beer that cost a lot of money, and wasn’t worth it. You are right about one thing Jim, I am an Idiot (with a capital I) because I didn’t know enough to realize what it was I was actually buying. Now I know. I’m not buying it again. If the price drops to $6.99 I’ll probably pick it up again, but I doubt I’ll see that pricepoint in my lifetime.

      • April 28, 2010 at 2:11 pm #

        Funny thing is, now I really want to try this beer – Nate makes it sound terrific!

        • Don
          April 28, 2010 at 2:18 pm #

          Oh, its really good for a freakin’ pilsner.

  6. April 29, 2010 at 11:38 am #

    HAHA…love reading the interaction. It’s all in fun. I think the Sip with us Saturday beer should be a Pilsner.

    • Don
      April 29, 2010 at 11:40 am #

      Absolutely, I couldn’t agree more!

    • April 29, 2010 at 11:41 am #

      I’m in – need to pick up some Victory Prima Pils anyway, Nate!

  7. April 29, 2010 at 11:44 am #

    Sounds good…on my lunch bread I’ll eat my yogurt and throw up a post. wanna make it broad, like any american pilsner?

    • Don
      April 29, 2010 at 11:45 am #

      Yeah, we might get an interesting cross section that way.

  8. June 6, 2010 at 10:25 pm #

    Don, I think I was both the one that sold you the bottle and the one that told you it was overpriced for what it was. If it makes you feel any better I feel the exact same way about Rogue’s Imperial Pilsner which I was told over and over again was incredible. As for my nominee for American made great pilsners I would nominate Trumer Pils from Berkeley, CA.

    • Don
      June 7, 2010 at 1:31 pm #

      So Rick, Do you carry the Trumer Pils? I’d like to give it a try. And yes you did warn me about the cost of the Pilsner, but I didn’t listen and bought it anyway. I can’t say I’d ever buy a Pilsner from Rogue, they are way too Ham Handed with the hops for my liking. Some things its great to be hops forward on, but when you are hops forward on all your brews it becomes a bit of a turnoff. I’ll be in soon. It is a little tougher to get to the new location, but I’ll make a point to stop by this week.

  9. brandon
    December 13, 2010 at 10:14 pm #

    Wow, talk about talking in circles. I have no qualms with shelling out a little extra dough to try a great beer from time to time. I’m a KC boy, so obviously a Boulevard fan, and I was able to find a Collaborator #1 in a hole in the wall liquor store for $9.99. Would that appease you? Oh yeah, not sure if you guys are up on the recent limited release — Bourbon Barrel Quadruple. Just scored 3 bottles of it at $14 a pop, so it’d better be good. That beer has sold like hotcakes–released last week, and extremely hard to find, as several liquor stores received 15 cases last week and sold out in 1 day!!

    • Don
      December 14, 2010 at 10:28 am #

      Welcome Brandon. I to have no qualms about shelling out a little more coin for a great beer, for example the BBQ would be a great one to try, and at $14 a pop that is reasonable, I probably would go as high as $18 or $20 for such a beer. My problem was that it was expensive and a pilsner. Pilsners just have a very similar character, and the difference between and outstanding one and a Miller lite is really marginal. So that was my problem with it. Its a me thing not a they thing.


  1. Avery Joe’s Pilsner: Value You Can Taste…Finally! | Beer & Whiskey Brothers Blog - June 28, 2011

    […] had with Pilsners in the past, specifically Boulivard Brewing’s Collaboration Number 1.  You can read about it here, oh and read the comments too, because I got into a good debate with Nate from Thank Heaven for […]

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