Upland's World-Class Sours

April 22 2014 - 5:04 PM

Maybe there’s something about Indiana but they are home to some world class breweries. You’ll be hearing plenty about the upcoming Dark Lord Day at Three Floyds in Munster. We found ourselves there in 2010 and while barrel aged stouts are certainly in vogue sour beers are the next big thing, especially come Spring and Summer. 200 miles south of Munster in Bloomington you’ll find Upland. Now that they have IL distribution, you can finally catch beers like Teddy Bear Kisses and Dragonfly at the store but their large bottles of sour goodness are brewery-only and in addition to that you need some lottery-luck to score one– or ask reallllly nicely! So after an earnest request I found myself in Brooklyn with few bottles of Upland lambics and a Sour Reserve. At the table for the sake of level-setting was a bottle of Cantillon Fou Foune, one of the legendary Belgian apricot sours.

Sours and lambics go down the long funky path of yeasts and fruits with a solid measure of wood. The Sour Reserve puts the emphasis soundly on aged funky sour with touches of citrus. It’s extreme and extremely enjoyable. The profile approaches wine and I would easily trade a cool climate (e.g. Alsatian) white for one of these. They are bigger, puckering and not only a palate cleanser but a wholesale repainting. The lambic fruit variations temper this with defined fruit. Comparing the Upland Blackberry Lambic to the apricot on the Fou Foune shows a marked difference. The blackberries are a sweet touch to the nose and taste of the Upland but the apricots linger at aromatics far more than on the palate. The sour level is kicked up on the Cantillon and there is very little respite from it. Having them both at the same time was great for comparison and they are both in the same league and at the same time characteristically different.

Upland not only produces blackberry lambic but persimmons, cherry, kiwi and raspberry.