Upright Brewing’s “Special” New Releases
Upright Brewing has quietly snuck out some exciting new beers, including the highly rated Flora Rustica and its new cousin, Barrel-Aged Flora Rustica, a lactobacillus-infected and oaky version of the tasty original. Hip-hop fans won’t want to miss the release of “Special Herbs” this weekend at the brewery. The artwork is an only somewhat subtle throwback to MF Doom‘s album that was itself a not-so-subtle rip-off of 40′s era Fantastic Four comics and the featured baddie Dr. Doom. Yes, I am intrinsically intertwined into these beers as a part-time Upright employee and the designer of the aforementioned labels but my enthusiasm goes beyond the art for these delicious funky brews.
Flora Rustica is Upright’s most rustic, old world-style saison, brewed with calendula and yarrow flowers and a bouquet of hops. It’s not bitter, but floral and slightly spicy from the complex blend of flowers and hops (which are also flowers). It’s one of my favorite Upright seasonals. This new Barrel-Aged Flora is even better–it’s aged in multiple-use barrels with Lactobacillus bacteria culture for a year, and it has a nice tartness like a Berliner-weisse with some oaky wood in the back end before finishing with that floral spicy hop quality.
Special Herbs is another beer that was originally a one-off experiment in a barrel that was so tasty it was brewed again in a larger quantity to become a new special bottle release. The base of this beer is Upright’s annual summer draft-only release, “Reggae Junkie Gruit,” which is a hopless beer spiced with lemongrass, hyssop, Sichuan peppercorns, and both bitter and sweet orange peels. That beer was then aged in Old Tom Gin barrels, where it picked up some brettanamyoces acidity and even more botanical character. The finished product tasted like a tart blend of cider and kombucha and was unlike anything I have had before. This year’s new bottled version is the same as that first one-off with the addition of wine barrel aging from barrels that previously fermented Fantasia, a peach beer and thus contributes even more layers and depth to the beer.
You can also find bottles of the Upright/Bushwhacker blend from this year’s Portland Fruit Beer Festival at both taprooms. It’s a blend of a barrel-aged version of Upright’s Six Dark Rye with raspberries and a spiced Bushwhacker cider, which were then blended and aged together again in a Big Bottom whiskey barrel. Those are super limited bottles sold at their respective breweries only.
New on draft at the Upright Tasting Room this weekend a keg of sour Lambicus Six, a brand new American-style Pale Ale, German-style Schwarzbier, and Yarrow Rose Four.