06 December 2010

Hoosier Beer Geek Indiana Brewing Guide: Upland Brewing Company, Bloomington, IN

We had so much fun putting together our Metromix brewing guide that we thought we should extend the idea throughout the whole state. This article is the first in that continuing Hoosier Beer Geek series.

Upland Brewing Company | Established 1998
350 West 11th Street, Bloomington, IN
Website: www.uplandbeer.com
Phone: (812) 336-2337

For many of Upland Brewing Company's 13 years, Bloomington has played a vital role in the brewery's success. "With the university being in Bloomington, knowing the type of town it is - they support things, they really give back," said Upland head brewer Caleb Staton. "Sustainability is part of that - knowing that it was produced less than ten feet away from where you're sitting in the restaurant. For many years we could see the biggest part of our market from our rooftop. Now Indianapolis is rapidly growing as well."

Like many professional brewers, Staton's pursuit of a professional career started in homebrewing, but it was in the University of California Davis' five-month five-day-a-week masters brewing program where he honed his skills. "That gave me the knowledge I needed, and then I come here and put boots on and get soakin' wet everyday - that's the hard work aspect to it," he said.

A thirteen year history meant that many of the recipes that Staton brews today are close to those established before he became head brewer but continued growth has meant room for new styles. "Our black IPA - Komodo - was a collaboration of small pilots between all the brewers," he said, "Rad Red was totally my recipe off the fly. Teddy Bear Kisses, Nut Hugger - we just do so many beers now."

Upland has recently made waves in the beer community outside of Indiana for their sour beer project. "Our sour ale project is kind of completely separate from everything else we do," said Staton, "They involve other microorganisms that we really try to keep away - they can't be involved in our other fermentation. We kinda got bored - not with our beers but with the regular routine that was going on - so we decided to try something that we felt was more challenging. They sort of opened this new niche for us. All of a sudden we added this segment of beer followers that we've never really had before."

Currently the brewery is focusing on brewing more beer, supporting growing from sales of 5,600 barrels in 2009 to somewhere near 8,200 barrels in 2010. A new tank was recently added to support growth to 11,000 barrels, and a building addition in 2011 means that the brewery will have even more room to grow. "We're very committed to staying right here in downtown Bloomington," said Staton, "and growing this brewery here on site."

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