From the land of beer—Belgium— to the heart of America—Missouri—Steven Pauwels embarked on an epic journey nine years ago. With a mission to create innovative craft beers while honoring traditional European brewing methods, Pauwels's determined passion has resulted in the emergence of Boulevard Brewing Company as the largest independent brewery in the Midwest. Find out how Pauwels's experience, craftsmanship and drive for experimentation have fueled this remarkable success story.
Steven Pauwels of Boulevard Brewing Company: A Reflection on Craftsmanship, Tradition, and Experimentation
Steven Pauwels left Belgium for Missouri nine years ago, bringing with him a set of values and ideals that would ultimately shape the future of craft beer in the Midwest and beyond. In an age where brewing institutions are number of generic beer offerings, Boulevard Brewing Company exists as a brilliant example of a brewery that focuses on craftsmanship, tradition, and a relentless drive to experiment. Here’s how Boulevard became the Midwest’s largest independent brewer—and its most eclectic.
The story of Boulevard Brewing Company can be traced back to 1988 when Steven Pauwels started as a bartender at his brother's struggling brewing company. With determination and a willingness to break the rules of traditional brewing, Pauwels rapidly became the master brewer and eventually the founder of Boulevard Brewing Company in 1989. Under Pauwel's leadership, the brewery focused on craftsmanship, traditions, and experimentation to revolutionize the beer brewing industry.
By 1996, Boulevard Brewing Company was the largest independent brewer in caLifornia, and Pauwels was becoming an esteemed leader in the craft beer industry. The advances Pauwels made in beer brewing, such as utilizing ingredients that are local sourced and experimenting with popular beer styles, quickly grew in popularity and put the brewery on a trajectory to becoming a major player in the Midwest.
Today, Boulevard Brewing Company is the Midwest’s largest independent brewer, with more than a dozen award-winning beers that are distributed in more than 30 states. Their most popular beers include the Pale Ale, Dunkleweizen, and the Smokestack Series, which features several Belgian-style ales, wheat beers, and lagers. This diverse list of craft beers showcases Boulevard’s commitment to craftsmanship, tradition, and experimentation.
Pauwels has been a pioneer in the craft beer movement, utilizing local ingredients and traditional brewing techniques to create unique and flavorful beer styles. For example, Pauwels is well-known for introducing Belgian-style beers to the American market, such as the Smokestack Series. This series is composed of complex and flavorful beers that are bottle-conditioned and feature a variety of Belgian yeast strains, including saison, witbier, and brown ales.
In addition to Pauwel’s commitment to craftsmanship, he is also an innovator who relentlessly experiments with new ideas. This drive to experiment is perhaps most evident in the brewery’s yearly collaborations with other breweries. The brewery has collaborated with breweries around the world on beers such as the Mexican-style lager “Quad-Ale,” brewed in collaboration with Four Peaks Brewing in Arizona. Boulevard also recently collaborated with Ayinger Brewery in Germany on a weissbier called “The Wit of Steven Pauwels.” These innovative brews demonstrate Boulevard’s commitment to experimentation.
While Boulevard Brewing Co.’s present and future look bright, there is much more on the horizon for the brewery. They are constantly experimenting with new styles, collaborating with breweries around the world, and pushing the boundaries of traditional brewing methods. As Pauwels himself has said, “We are constantly looking for ways to challenge ourselves and our customers to think outside the box when it comes to beer.” This drive to “think outside the box” is what makes Boulevard Brewing Co. stand out in the craft beer industry.
Boulevard Brewing Company is also set to open a new brewery and tasting room in Kansas City next year, which will serve as the brewery’s headquarters and innovative hub. The new facility will allow Boulevard to take the craft beer experience to the next level with the help of local artists and educators. With the addition of this facility, Boulevard can reach more brewers and tap into a larger network of beer lovers who share their values and passion for craft beer.
Steven Pauwels, the founder of Boulevard Brewing Company, brought craftsmanship and a love for experimentation to the Midwest when he left Belgium nine years ago. His commitment to craftsmanship, tradition, and experimentation has allowed Boulevard Brewing Company to become the Midwest’s largest independent brewer. Boulevard will continue to experiment and push the boundaries of traditional brewing methods, all while remaining true to