Upright Brewing Co – Five

Here is another birthday beer I received through the Rare Beer Club my wife got me a two month membership of back in February.  The membership has since expired, which I can’t decide if I am pleased about or not.  Well I suppose I couldn’t say pleased, but I can’t figure out if I’m alright with not having it renewed or disappointed that I didn’t renew it.  I was pretty pleased near the end of every month getting a package with two beers in it I’ve never heard of or seen before.  But, I can’t figure out if I want to spend the extra money on it.  I already spend a lot of money every month on beer, but it is stuff that is somewhat easier to find in this area.  This at least gives me stuff to talk about that not everyone can find.  I’m still throwing some thoughts around on whether I renew or not, but does anyone have any thoughts on whether I should renew or not?

Upright Brewing is a small brewing company out of Portland, Oregon.  So, I guess some of my readers from the West Coast may be more knowledgeable on this brewing company.  Maybe some of you can let me in on a little more info on them.  They’ve only been a brewery for the past three years, so I guess they haven’t had all that much time to up their distribution just yet anyhow.  They specialize in farmhouse ales using homegrown malts and hops.  Using saison yeast and open fermenters, they produce new beer in an old style.  Their name comes from the primary instrument played by Charles Mingus.  He was a jazz musician, bandleader, and civil rights activist who specialized in the upright bass.

This beer is an interesting style over all.  It almost doesn’t really fit into one category really nicely.  It’s a pale ale meets a Saison or Farmhouse Pale Ale.  The brewery brands it as a Farmhouse Pale Ale, which they developed after having a few European beers that incorporated a heavy hand of hops.  They use malts they have specifically grown in their region of Oregon, and they also use willamette, liberty, perle hops which are also local.  Interestingly, nearly all of the beers in their year round line-up are named different numbers.  The numbers aren’t arbitrary; instead, the year-round beers are named after their starting gravity (density, or pre-fermentation sugar content) in Belgian brewing degrees.  This is to pay homage to an old Belgian way of distributing beer.  They were sent out to their local market simply with numbers on the cap to distinguish the difference in the bottles.  The name may not be exciting, but it does have some deeper meaning which I appreciate.

This beer poured a very orangey reddish color.  The most impressive aspect of the pour was the giant white fluffy head that developed on top of it.  This whole aspect has me wanting to go to a saison or something like it next for my own personal brewing.    It took a while for the head to dissipate, so I ended up drinking it through the foam most of the time.  I didn’t want to let it sit too long.  The beer has a really hazy quality to it, but you can see a ton of visible carbonation in it as well.  Interestingly, just like the head, there is tons of lacing; however, it doesn’t result in any sticky residue at all.  Overall, the beer has a great appearance to it.

The smell has a very earthy bready aroma overall.  You can pull out lots of the spicy yeast.  The yeast has a lot of the clove aroma to it for sure, which I personally enjoy quite a bit.  There is some really big citrusy notes in there as well.  The citrus combines with some of the malty sweetness to give the beer a really pleasant backbone.  There is some light hops here, but they are by no means huge.  They complement the yeast without overpowering the aroma at all.

There is a lot of big malty citrus that comes through right at the start of the flavor.  This is really well-balanced without being overpowering at all.  I was slightly worried the citrus could be too overwhelming.  The big clove flavors and active yeast come in to be the most significant aspect of the entire flavor profile.  I really love the clove aspect in these type of beers, so I’m happy to have that present here.  Some very floral hops come in with some very light pine backing them up.  The hops are really mild here, and they combine with the clove, so they seem to get slightly masked by that spicy flavor.  However, I really like the controlled use of hops here.  The taste ends with some very light pine and a lot of residual clove.

There is definitely a ton of carbonation in this beer with only a little hint of syrup on the end.  The ample amount of both carbonation and yeast keep this beer tasting really fresh through out most of it.  There is definitely a really dry finish here which isn’t off-putting, but it is definitely quite noticeable.  There flavors are all great and work really well together.

I’m not sure I’ll ever see a bottle from Upright again, but I guess you can’t say never.  Either way, if I did see one from them, I would definitely pick up another one from them in the future.  I really enjoyed the beer overall, and I looked at what else they offer year round.  There were certainly a few other brews they offer I would be interested in trying.  I have no idea if you can find something from them in your area, but if you do, I would pick it up for sure.  Another good beer from the Rare Beer Club has me wondering if I need to renew my membership!

Teacher Grade: A

Cat wanted some


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