“Making great example beers” was a quote from Doug Dayhoff of Upland Brewing Co. that both stuck and was entirely accurate. Good Spirits News was fortunate enough to speak with both Doug, the owner, and the head brewer Caleb Staton of Upland Brewing Co. based in Bloomington, Indiana on a recent stop in Syracuse, NY.
Upland’s beer selection includes a portfolio of beers that may seem contemporary to a lot of craft breweries such as pale ales, IPA’s, wheat ales, and many others that flush out a breweries selection. Where they truly shine however is their attentiveness and ingenuity when it comes to sours. Both Doug and Caleb were generous enough to allow Good Spirits News to sample some of their wares that they are introducing to NY in a widespread tour to establish themselves in a new market.
We tried three unique beers ranging from a relatively young 4 month sour to an 8-12 month Oud Bruin style ale. The first of the three was titled “Iridescent” and although the color was a hazy golden apricot, the title works well for the nature of the flavors that the glass carried. The blend of apricot and ginger come through easily and balance each other well. There is a slight dry wood character from the barrel aging that follows through on the back palate to compliment the initial tart acidity. As a young sour on draft it was very carbonated and had a great sharp mouthfeel. A relatively low ABV beer at about 5% this would pair very well with something fresh like sushi where the ginger in the brew could really enhance the pairing. A fantastic young sour and one that Caleb would recommend for those looking into the ever-growing sours market as a possible first attempt at something unique and delicious. Final Rating 4.25/5
The second sour we tried was titled “Aronia” and is an 8-month aged sour imbued with the relatively uncommon American berry titled the “Chokeberry”, although this beer will do the opposite of what the berry might suggest. With a deep ruby like color and relative clearness, the aroma matches it perfectly. A tart almost wine like character carries softly with each sip. It is a fairly dry ale due to the aging, and the oak barrel does the acidity justice once more. It plays well with the tart berry and balances the beer as a whole. A smoothly balanced flavor profile does this beer justice and for an experienced sour drinker it should be a treat. With the ABV content around 6.5-7% it’s definitely palatable and most enjoyed when sipping. Final Rating 4.25/5
The final beer we were lucky enough to sample is titled “Darken” a spiced sour brown ale very much influenced by the Oud Bruin category of beer, but with enough to separate it from others. A different malt bill gives a slight rich sweetness that gives a cohesive undertone to the souring agents that make this beer truly delicious. Brewed with a wide variety of spices including grains of paradise, anise, ginger, coriander, black pepper, as well as a host of others the flavor is amazingly balanced with no spice standing out too far above the rest. The sour character works incredibly well with the malt and wood character that gives a triad of equally enjoyable parts. This beer is aged anywhere from 8-12 months and has a strong ABV of 8.5-9% although it doesn’t carry any “booze like qualities”. This beer is excellently crafted and is a fantastic sour to try for anyone who enjoys sours, browns, or wood aged beers. Final Rating 4.75/5
Through each of their friendly personalities, both Doug and Caleb’s passion for sours stood out from the beginning of our interview, and shone brightest through the product they distribute. Upland Brewing Co sources local ingredients and stays organic whenever possible, and this only enhances the quality they bring to the beer market. Welcome to New York, we hope you stay.
For more information go to: Upland Beer
Review by Kieran Jerome Matthew for Good Spirits News