19 December 2007

Providing some Insight into Upland Brewery

For you college football fans out there, a public service announcement: the first of the 31 bowl games (and one BCS Championship game) starts tomorrow, Thursday, December 20th. Utah will take on Navy at the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl. No, it won't be the biggest thriller in history, but it is college football dammit! What's not to love?

This year, three colleges from the 19th state of the union will be travelling to bowl games. Purdue will head to Detroit for the Motor City Bowl on December 26th. Ball State will travel to the International Bowl in Toronto on January 5th. And Indiana will travel to Arizona for the Insight Bowl on New Year's Eve.

I'd like to point out that fellow KOTBR Chris and I were at "The Rock" on November 3rd when the Hoosiers defeated the Ball State Cardinals to become bowl eligible, a big step in accomplishing the late Coach Hep's dream of going to 13 (more info about that story here).

But what's a trip to Bloomington without a stop at Upland? As you can see, they had a nice lineup for us, including the Ard Ri, a tasty Imperial Red Ale. But I will talk more about later.

We met up with Caleb Staton, who is the head brewer, and took us on a tour of their fine facility. He showed us their equipment and talked about the finer points of his business.

I stood there, listened, and consumed his beer.

In the last container on the right, he had a Pilsner finishing up. At the time, as I recall, when we tasted a little bit of it, it had a peculiar, yet familiar flavor. I won't go into it too much, other than to say that if you have ever awoken in Jamaica after a long night of partying...

If you have ever spent any time at Haight and Ashbury...

If you ever spent any time following the Grateful Dead or Phish around...

You will know what flavor I am talking about. Which isn't totally surprising when you considering that hops are part of the Cannabaceae family of flowering plants. No lie.

Anyway, the Preservation Pilsner was released about two weeks ago. I'll be curious to see how it tastes after maturing.

Upland has five regulars, most of which you can find in bottles and at other bars around the state. They are their Wheat, Pale Ale, Dragonfly IPA, Bad Elmer's Porter, and Amber Ale. They have several seasonals, which are listed here.

One of their seasonals is the aforementioned Ard Ri, which is their traditional seasonal for Saint Patrick's day. KOTBR Chris had reviewed this beer back in March and gave it an incredible review, including a 5 mug rating. Everyone knows that Chris is a little crazy sometimes, but he isn't wrong about this beer. It is an incredibly tasty beer.

It had been described by my fellow knight as being very hoppy. Well, six months later, he agreed that the hop bite had mellowed, creating a very nice, little creamy, but still spicey, Irish red ale. I'm going to give it a 4.375 rating and say that this upcoming St. Patrick's Day will be a rocking good time with Ard Ri and Warbird's Shanty Irish Red battling for control over my tastebuds and liver.

Caleb was also kind enough to give us some Strawberry Lambic to sample. This beer is the real champagne of beers with an added tartness from the strawberries. A true sipping beer that I can really appreciate but could never drink in large quantities. I'll leave the rating of this fine brew to KOTBR Jim, who wants to have a lambic showdown.

So as the Hoosiers prepare for their Insight Bowl showdown against Oklahoma State on New Year's Eve, might I recommend consuming some Upland, whether it be a six pack, or at your favorite bar, or at Upland's Tap Room itself. Drink your favorite Upland brew while cheering Big Red on to victory. And follow it up by toasting the new year with an Upland Lambic, should that be your thing.

Thank you Caleb for showing Chris and I around. I apologize for not posting about our trip earlier, but better late than never! Cheers!

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