Friday, November 9, 2012


When towns in Colorado are mentioned for destinations to visit microbreweries there are a few towns that always come to mind. Without any doubt the town that should be mentioned first is Boulder, Colorado. After all it was in 1978 when the first microbrewery in the state was opened in this small college town. 30 years after the Boulder Beer Company opened another small microbrewery opened, and in November of 2012 they celebrated their four year anniversary. An eco friendly brewery that serves a great lineup of flagship ales, limited edition seasonal ales, and barrel aged ales out of the tap room, and a destination brewery. Located in the north part of Boulder, Colorado this is Upslope Brewing Company.  
Located in a small warehouse strip Upslope is easy to drive by without thinking twice, but it is worth the stop. Inside the tap room is small, but a very comfortable environment. The bar top is black stone that does not seat many. Above the tap handles is a chalkboard menu, but it is the scenery behind the bar that is impressive. A large window behind the tap handles shows the massive barrel system used to create all their ales, and to the left of the bar is a collection of barrels used to age some of their ales. With so many types of ales, the only question one has to ask themselves is which one to try first.  
Now Upslope does distribute canned beer throughout the state, and at most liquor stores you can find their four flagship beers: a pale ale, IPA, brown ale, and craft lager. However while all those are good the beer that is reserved for the tap room are the ones worth trying. Take their IPA for example which is already a delicious balance of hops with a malty undertone. But what happens when you take that IPA and barrel age it in cabernet barrels from two doors down for 7 months? You get an ale with a deep red color that still has a strong hop flavor but is muted through the wine notes within in the beer. Each sip brings out a different flavor but the true flavor of the IPA comes through. It is complimented with the wine taste which adds a nice acidity note and bitterness as well. While this beer is not always available at the tap room when it makes its rotation on the tap line it is a must try.
Also available is a German style beer that is still a fairly uncommon beer among microbreweries, and that is a Dunkelweizen. A rich, dark wheat ale with a very complex flavor, aroma, and aftertaste. The aroma is slightly sweet with hints of nuts, and that leads into a rich taste. The malt is the main ingredient flavor that you taste but there are undertones of caramel and chocolate. There is also a subtle spice note of nutmeg, and like with any good dunkel there is also a hint of banana flavor which ties it all together. Very light and refreshing even for a dark beer. Like with the IPA sometimes Upslope feels adventurous and barrel ages their Dunkel, but it is not in wine barrels, but instead bourbon. The result is a beer that in a way reminds you of the classical dessert banana fosters. The richness of the malts, spices, and banana flavor are all still present as is the intense flavor of bourbon. A very hearty beer with a strong flavor and aftertaste, and one that needs to be savored for all the added complexities the barrel aging brings to this beer. Very enjoyable, still refreshing, and a rare treat any beer lover would enjoy.
In a beer and brewery rich community like Boulder each business has to bring something different to the tap line. At Upslope that has happened with four high quality flagship ales, barrel aging, and seasonal ales that are so limited people will search the state just to say they tried it. In four short years this brewery has established themselves among the big breweries in Boulder and has the awards to show for it. It just makes you wonder in four more years just how much growth this brewery will experience, and where will they be then?
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