Upland Brewing Co.

Oct 25, 2017

Upland Brewing Co.

Our Heritage

It all started with a glacier that stopped.

Stopped moving south some 20,000 years ago during the last ice age. Stopped after it has already flattened most of the midwest, but before it reached Monroe County. Stopped just in time to preserve the rolling hills of the southern part of the state. The Uplands.

The glacier shaped the land, and the land shaped the people.

The rugged terrain of the Uplands attracted a unique breed of settlers. They were pioneering, independent, connected to the land and committed to their local communities. They worked hard and took pride in their craft, because that was the only way they knew.

None of these traits went away when the university came. But a few new ones were added to the fold: progressive. Tolerant. Intellectual. Put it all together and you’ve got a heady mix of cultures and contradictions. A place where everyone can feel at home. A place that is equally respectful of tradition and open to change.

This is where we’re from. It’s what inspired us to open our doors (and our taps) in 1998, and it’s what continues to guide us moving forward.

And, fittingly you might say, it all goes back to a glacier that knew when to say when.

Q and A with Steve Rupp
Sour Ale Marketing and Retail Coordinator, Upland Brewing Co

What inspired Upland to develop a sour beer program?

Inspiration for the beginnings of the Upland sour beer program came from our creative brew staff. At a time of Managerial shifting, the entire Upland staff was encouraged to generate wish lists of projects or operations. Lucky us, the desire to pursue a Lambic inspired wood aged sour was chosen as an experimentation to pursue.

We utilized a relationship with a local winery, Oliver Winery, and made a simple trade. Eight cases of our flagship IPA, Dragonfly, for four old American white oak barrels. The trifecta of preparation, skill, and luck produced our first success, a wild sour American blonde ale worth recreating.

Where does your label art come from?

We searched tirelessly for a label design that spoke to our product. Our search eventually led us to a fellow by the name of Michael Cina. Michael Cina is renowned for the development of multiple design studios and currently stands as the creative director for a multi-disciplinary design studio, Michael Cina Associates.

A series of his works that utilize swirling blended paints truly spoke to our sour program. As our sours are blended works of art, Cina’s paintings mirror the concept perfectly. In process bright accents and highlights are brought to balance through blending different barrels or vintages; that procedure is brought to life through the graphic of each bottle.

How do you decide the next fruit in your fruited sour series?

In the earlier days of the Upland sour program a recreation of a more traditional fruit used in sour beer was a safer bet. As the program has developed we have pushed the boundaries out further to include fruits native to the Midwest, utilizing local farmers and foragers. Evolutions continue into the more recent history where we have been experimenting with more exotic and unusual fruits.  Last year’s expansion with the Wood Shop has really allowed for the elbow room needed to experiment. As the research and development continues we learn that some fruits just don’t seem to take well to our sour beer, while others create an unbelievable unity.

What do you drink when you’re not drinking Upland beer?

If we’re strictly talking beer, I spend a fair amount of time pondering my options. Things to consider are; time of day, desired ability to persevere, pairing or standalone sipping, time of year and so on. There are a couple Indiana breweries in particular that I do enjoy, Black Acre and Taxman both specialize in Belgian style ales. There’s something fantastic about the subtle complexities that make up a well done Belgian blonde.

If we’re talking anything under the sun, there’s a special place in my heart for the creation of this refined old family recipe egg nog. A spiced creamy boozy cloud that has the nutritional value of an entire meal with each ladle. This stuff keeps family and friends warm and fuzzy throughout our favorite winter gatherings.  

Tell us about the name, Upland Brewing.

In honor of our history as it is tied to our geography Upland. Bloomington Indiana sits up on top of the most northern edge of the rolling hills of southern Indiana. If by chance you wonder why there would be a hard between hills and flatlands in Indiana, think back to the ice ages. The last massive glacial shelf pressed everything in the upper two thirds of the state flat and stopped just shy of what is now our home.

It’s pretty great being part of Upland Brewing and living in the Indiana uplands.

What are your favorite Upland sour food and beer pairings?

This question always makes my head spin, too many possibilities too many options. Not that that’s a bad thing.

I initially think of some of our bright forwardly fruited sours along with reach creamy cheese. It’s hard to go wrong with bright light acidity and rich creamy cheese. Drop a few slices of toasted baguette, a couple berries or apples, and a smear or your favorite jam on the board it will be fantastic.

On the other end of the spectrum our Ode Bruid, Darken or Flanders Red, Crimson pair very differently. These beers enhance rich savory flavors, roasted duck, slow cooked lamb, braised beef all with satisfactory comforting sauces can make you feel like royalty. Imagine Crimson with a pan seared duck breast, a sweet potato puree, all topped with a balsamic cherry reduction.      

What are your favorite hot yoga poses?

That’s a question for Dusty, although you can catch me practicing my warrior two from time to time. It truly helps center my mental and physical state.

Tell us about the beer mile

If you haven’t heard haven’t heard of a beer mile, look into it. The Upland crew organized its first beer mile event this last February. The parking lot around or brewery is exactly a quarter mile with a leg of the race running straight through the grain room.

The race entails chugging a 12oz beer then running a quarter mile four times over. Not falling in the category of a runner I impressed myself with a gold winning victory. Three Champagne Velvet  pilsners, one Teddy Bear Kisses Russian imperial stout, eight minutes and thirty one seconds later, and I was a champion.

What’s the greatest “Indiana food”?

There should be absolutely no argument in the matter. The Hoosier classic pork tenderloin is Indiana’s own creation. Breaded, fried, and the size of your dinner plate what really makes it special is the bun fits it like a baby’s hat on someone’s big head.

Quotes from Key Players

“The sour program began in 2006, with our first experiment with four barrels, and at that time we were trying to replicate one of our favorite beers. From there we went into starting to use similar methods but then using slightly non-traditional ingredients. So as we built the program up, then it started to veer into these non-traditional fruits.” Doug Dayhoff, President

“The biggest thing to me in how we are innovating is the use of unique ingredients we are using locally sourced indigenous fruits, pawpaws for example, it’s part of the land it’s part of where we come from so you can’t find necessarily in other places. And we’re using combinations of fruits and spices that you may not see. Pineapple and chamomile is a great example of that or goji and hibiscus, just being able to find complex combinations of fruits and spices that really compliment the base beer.” Pete Batule, VP of Brewing Operations

“In the future, expect the unexpected with Upland sours. There is going to be a plethora of new beers and new flavors that you’ve never had ever before, and that’s what we’re going for.  Is something that is something that make you keep coming back to us because you’re really intrigued in what we are going to come up with next.” Dusty Howe, Sour Beer Brand Manager.

Next round of their sour releases will be in stock mid-Nov

For more info: https://www.uplandbeer.com/

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