Something Is Smoking at Upright Brewing


Upright Brewing founder Alex Ganum and brewers Garret iLL and Bobby Birk have been busy brewing up a whole slew of new draft and bottle releases from the small artisinal Portland farmhouse-style brewery.

Pictured above, brewers gathered last weekend to smoke the malt for Upright’s annual smoked lager. The style of lager changes each year, but the annual gathering to hand smoke the malts remains the same. This year the malt was smoked with apple wood from the Baird Family Orchards. Brewers soaked the wood in water before burning in a handmade smoking box in Alex’s backyard. The malt is smoked for at least 45 minutes and sprayed occasionally using a spray bottle filled with the same (now smokey) water that was used to soak the smoked wood. The malt is turned and tossed once during every 45 minutes, and many batches take turns as the brewers used 220 lbs of smoked malt in this year’s brew.
On Monday they brewed this year’s beer, a smoked Helles Bock. It is fermented with a blend of Imperial L10 & L20, which are the strains from Budweiser that Upright uses on the Engelberg Pils.
Below is the upcoming slate of beer releases as described in owner/brewer Alex Ganum’s words.


Sometimes the small brewery-set tasting room is out of all bottles but the main four year round offerings; that’s not the case right now, with no fewer than six rare one-offs or seasonals available.

Upright Flora label

Flora – Recently released, this will be the last for the foreseeable future as the beer will be retired or at least on hiatus. If this is the final batch, we’re sending it off in good form as this 2016 vintage is showing a wonderful botanical complexity.

Flora Rustica – This brewery favorite is still available and really hits the spot during the summer months. Virtually unchanged in formulation since the first batch back in 2009, this beer really expresses what we love about saisons and farmhouse ales.


Special Herbs – Updated with a fifth barrel that previously held brandy, this vintage shows that the Special Herbs welcomes additional layers. The extra cask lends a bit more spirit character and plays well with the Sichuan peppercorns in the recipe.

Upright August IPA

August IPA – Our latest release, this saison/IPA hybrid was made as a one off for the Rare Beer Club, but we have a bit extra to distribute here. The beer was bottle conditioned with a very aromatic brettanomyces and is drinking great right now.

Oregon Native – The inaugural vintage of our pinot noir laden beer in collaboration with Patton Valley Vineyards is tasting better than ever, reinforcing our belief that while very long contact time on whole fruit demands a lengthy conditioning time, the result is typically very well structured and just plain tasty.

Sole Composition series: Oregon Native – The still single cask version of the Oregon Native is a unique experience. If a dry dessert wine existed and combined with a barrel fermented ale, it would taste like this.

Currently conditioning are 2016 bottlings of Hearts’ Beat, Shades, Fantasia, and more, so stay tuned for release dates.


There are a lot of current one-off’s available on draft around town but the place to find a wide selection is at the brewery tasting room. Currently available:

Supercool IPA employs open fermentation with our house blend of saison yeasts at cool temperatures, allowing the profile to only hint at its Belgian-esque roots. The Supercool drinks like a classic American IPA, with hop character hitting notes of lemon & orange with wood & pine, while the unique processing and yeasts lend background flavors of apricot and white pepper. The bitterness is firm but smooth all the way to the extra dry finish. 6.5%

Oktoberfest is a nice departure from the slew of hoppy pilseners being made by many local breweries, including ourselves. This classic take emphasizes round malt flavors with a contrasting brightness rooted in the lager strain selection, capped by a soft finish that shows how well suited the Bull Run water supply is for the style. 4.8%
Dry Hopped Berliner Weisse is a straightforward open fermented brew that’s nicely balanced with only moderate acidity. The addition of opal, willamette, and an experimental hop variety lends the beer an interesting nose with apple and jackfruit showing alongside floral notes. The jackfruit character carries into the flavor which finishes with a bit of wood and pine coming from that experimental hop. 3.9%Upright America is the fourth annual release of our crisp macro-style lager. Previous batches were under the name Upright Lite, but you can still expect the same clean flavor, high drinkability, and ultimate refreshment that the Lite is known for. The America pairs well with spicy cheddar and jalapeno summer sausage, and meats like a charbroiled filet mignon. Brewed the hard way! 5%


Donuts – a collaboration with our dear friends at Oedipus brewing, this beer is meant to embody, well, donuts! First made together at their brewery in Amsterdam and now in motion here, the beer uses full flavored and biscuit type malts along with a little lactose to achieve the desired profile within an amber saison. Look for Donuts as early as mid August.

jeju gose
Jeju Gose – another collaboration beer made with our friends at Pongdang Sour Works of South Korea, this gose, which is loosely based on those we’ve made before, has two kilos of dry tangerines from Jeju Island added. This beer is shaping up to be a tasty one and ready for release at the tail end of the month.

Smoked Helles Bock – further out but worth mentioning is our annual smoked beer. Our custom smoker gets pulled out once a year to transform over 200 pounds of malt for a German styled brew. This year we’re going with a maibock base and apple wood. Look for that one around the beginning of fall.
Tasting Room Hours:
Thu 5 – 9 pm
Fri 4:30 – 9 pm
Sat 1 – 8 pm
Sun 1 – 6 pm
Samurai Artist
Samurai Artist

Founder of The New School and most frequent contributor Ezra Johnson-Greenough has worked in the craft beer industry for almost 10 years, doing everything from illustrating beer labels to bartending at renowned beer bars and breweries like Belmont Station, Apex, Laurelwood and Upright Brewing. He has also had a hand in creating events like the Portland Fruit Beer Festival, Portland Beer Week, and the Brewing up Cocktails series. He is available for freelance consultation in marketing, events, graphic design and branding. Contact: