02 Oct This Week On Tap: Upland Wheat, And An End To Pretension
Being a craft beer fan can be exhaustive. It can be a pain in the ass constantly searching for the next big thing, or spending Thanksgiving camping out in front of a liquor store waiting for an annual bottle release, or scouring the internet looking for someone who can rush ship you a can of an IPA released once every blood moon in the unmapped woods of Vermont. Personally, it often weighs on me that I can’t just drink a beer without first having to inspect its aroma, inquire about its hop profile, and chew it around in my mouth. It’s so stressful being a snob!
Take this week, for example. Against The Grain (Louisville, KY) held a 200 ticket presale on Wednesday for their annual Bo & Luke release, scheduled for Saturday, October 24th. $5 a ticket basically guarantees you the opportunity to buy the Russian Imperial Stout (my favorite style of dark beer) and a few of its variants – a small price to pay for some great beer and the chance to visit friends across the border.
As presales go, tickets went fast. The sale began at 10:00 AM and was sold out by 10:04. And, as presales go, sometimes you just have to be lucky and have a fast computer, a trusty network, and your credit card number memorized. Otherwise you’re on the outside looking in. It’s unfortunate, sure, but not the end of the world. I got my ticket, and I’m happy, but at the end of the day it’s only beer. Just by virtue of being a member of the craft beer community, you’re bound to run into people all the time with awesome and rare beers that are more than happy to share. That should leave you satisfied enough, right?
Stressing about beer is ridiculous. Yes, beer rules. Yes, it’s fun trying new exciting things. But at the end of the day, it’s beer. We don’t need to constantly fuss over the little things I mentioned above that get in the way of enjoying a beer. Beer gets you drunk! That should be enough most of the time!
Which leads me to Upland Brewing Co., and their flagship, Upland Wheat. Do you know how long it’s been since I’d had one before this past weekend at their Indy Oktoberfest? You don’t? Good, because me neither. I had almost swore off the beer, saying things like, “it doesn’t excite me,” or, “I’ve had a wheat beer before, I know how it’ll taste.” Do not think I don’t know how big of an asshole that makes me sound. What stupid opinions to have about what is genuinely a very good beer!
It’s true that I fell into the Hophead trap for many years. Most everyone that comes into craft beer does, and truth be told a big boozy IPA is still my favorite thing to drink. But it sucks that one would completely discount one beer for another on the stupid and ill-conceived grounds that a beer “isn’t exciting.”
A beer doesn’t have to be “exciting” or “new” to be good. Sometimes a beer that’s been made and sold for a long time is because it’s simply delicious, like Upland Wheat. When the first drops hit my lips out of mass at Oktoberfest, I remembered everything I had been missing out on. Orange, a little coriander, and some nice pepper notes make for a really refreshing taste, and the suspended yeast gives Upland Wheat a great mouthfeel that doesn’t leave this hophead wanting more. I have yet to try this beer out of a can (I know, I know) so I’ll have to pick some up during my next run to the store and see how it compares to draught version.
Upland Wheat is the best selling craft beer in Indiana, and for good reason: it is delicious, and comes without pretension. You don’t need to fuss over it to enjoy it, and you certainly don’t need to get lucky with PayPal to find it.