Archives for November 2009

Settling Into the Season

Baking pies tonight. The coolness of late Fall in Colorado has settled in and reminds me of the colder days to come. But that’s OK. The beauty of Colorado is that every season brings on the next series of imminent possibilities. This next chapter is composed of . . . layers . . . boots instead of shoes . . . skinning up trails instead of biking up trails . . . hunkering down . . . darkness. As the seasons change, so does the style of beer that I desire. Lagers and pilsners have no place for me now. Show me the porters, your browns and stouts. Give me rich, deep, dark maltiness. Give me high ABV and easy on the hops.

After the first year of challenges, and stress, and unknowns, and wins, and endless possibilities, I hesitate to say that we have almost developed a somewhat efficient brewing and packaging schedule. Head Brewer, Dany Pages runs the show, develops the weekly schedule, and for the most part it is executed as planned. This is not to say that curve balls never come our way. Take, for instance, the desire for a Christmas Ale. This has always been a strong desire since the inception of the brewery. For me, it was something that I could homebrew, bring to a friend’s holiday party with a big green sharpie “C” marked on the bottle cap, and offer to anyone who was interested. The Christmas Ale, in my mind, is a combination between dark, sweet maltiness, fruit and spice. Many of the flavors would come from the right combination of orange peel, ginger, allspice, and in this case, juniper berries. For many years I have been searching for the redeeming qualities of the high alpine, stiff and gnarly juniper tree. It produces a berry that screams “Christmas Ale”. It’s time to bring that spice to center stage and its true fate as part of a wintry beer.

As a homebrewer, I haven’t homebrewed for many years. The demands of founding a microbrewery have taken precedence. Last Friday, I got to brew again. With the patient teaching of Dany, I got my feet wet on what it is like to brew on our equipment. Dany and I consulted on bringing my homebrew recipe to a production level. We started the mash in the early morn and set the schedule for lauter, hops, spices, and fermentation. We took the gravities, pitched the yeast, and let nature take its course. Juniper berries never felt such purpose.

This year, I will once again get to bring Christmas Ale to holiday parties. It’s a little different this time. I didn’t brew it on my stove, but the same rules apply. Whatever brings you comfort and warmth during the days approaching the solstice, relish in it. For it’s this time of year that dormancy brings vigor from the branches to the roots so that come springtime, we’re ready to hit it once again.

Please join us on Friday, December 4th as we tap the first keg of Upslope Colorado Christmas Ale.

Upslope Colorado Christmas Ale

Celebrating the wintry nights and lights of the season, this lightly spiced English old ale is caramel colored and malty sweet. Second generation to the traditional Winter Warmer, allspice, orange peel and ginger round out the piney aroma of crushed juniper berries.

IBU: 33

ABV: 6.7%

Body: Medium

One Year And Counting

rlevensaler-1008-061Have you ever ventured into the great unknown and wondered what your world would be like a year from now?

A year ago, our Head Brewer, Dany, spent 18 hours trying to push 3 ½ barrels of beer through our 7 barrel system.

A year ago, our Director of Sales & Marketing, Henry Wood, was getting the lay of the land, shaking a lot of hands, and waiting for product that he could sell.

A year ago, there was a worldwide hop shortage, the start of the Great Recession, and a national bank crisis.

A year ago, Upslope Brewing Company quietly opened its doors to the City of Boulder, hoping to be welcomed with open arms. Those who were curious, or perhaps just stumbled upon the place by accident, came upon a warehouse with a brewhouse. They smiled and tried our one and only Upslope Pale Ale, and nobody asked, “So what else do you have?”.

About a week ago, Henry suggested, “Why don’t you blog about what it’s like to be a year old?” Tough to say. Being a year old is like getting safely out of the harbor, but pointing the bow out into the wild sea. Your craft is solid, your crew well trained, but the open ocean is vast and rolling. At the same time, you look back at shore as it fades in the distance. “Well . . . we made it this far.”

Please come join us at the brewery this Saturday, November 7th, for our One Year Anniversary from 2:00 to 6:00. We plan to celebrate in the best way we know how; Bluegrass by Gin Wagon, great food by Dubbin’s Sandwiches, and Dany’s One Year Anniversary Ale. And for those who joined us for our grand opening, you’ll be happy to hear that you have seven more choices on tap than you had a year ago.