Upright Brewing is marking its first year in business with the special release of two beers and an anniversary party featuring sweets from Kir Jensen, owner of one of Portland's best dessert carts, The Sugar Cube, and model for Upright's Four Play seasonal beer.
I had the opportunity to get a sneak peek and taste these two new beers and was absolutely blown away by them.
One of the things you notice right away about Upright Brewing is how fanatical they are about detail. While typical Belgian farm-style beers are made in 1-2 weeks, Upright spends 2-3 months on their beers before they go out the door. A lot of this is attributed to a slow fermenting yeast that helps give their beers a unique flavor profile.
A big part of Upright's success is their constant experimentation. Around the brewery are small carboys filled with things the brewmasters "just wanted to try out and see what would happen". One of these experimentations lead to a program they are calling "The Sixth Barrel Series" which includes the Four Play seasonal beer.
Four Play is unlike any cherry beer I've ever tried. While it does have a nice cherry undertone, the beer has an amazing complexity of flavors including flavors from the pino barrels it was aged in, funky yeasty flavors from the strains of bacteria introduced while in barrel, and a tropical current which includes coconut and banana flavors. Four Play was done on a very limited run with only 80 Cases and 4 1/2 kegs produced. It's a unique beer that will probably get snatched up extremely fast. The label of Four Play will certainly turn some heads as it features a bare-breasted Kir Jensen, a bold move for the beer and certainly something that will generate a lot of attention.
The other beer I tried was their new Apricot Anniversary Beer, a wheat beer with added apricot puree. It is by far my favorite fruit beer I've had yet. The beer captures the essence of apricot without being either too sweet or too tart, and it's accompanied by a delicious bready yeast flavor. The beer has an amazing mouth feel which finishes dry and clean with a slight edge. It's a remarkable beer and one that I plan on picking up before it runs out.
Upright Brewing draws most of their ingredients from hyper-local sources including Great Northern Grain malt from Vancouver, Mt. Angel hops, and local wine barrels from Oregon wineries (to finish some of their beers). This follows in line with their farmhouse style beer philosophy and it permeates throughout their entire business.
There are a lot of micro-breweries in Portland but none which produces as consistently delicious and exciting beers. Upright may not be on your radar screen, but they should be and their anniversary party is something to not to be missed.
Upright Brewing's One Year anniversary party and beer release event happens Friday, April 9, 2010 from 4:30pm – 9:00pm at the Upright Brewing Tasting Room located at 240 N. Broadway, suite 2. It's in the Leftbank Project building downstairs in the basement.