Upslope Brewing Company- Boulder, CO
What’s in a name? Orographic Lift Brewing Company doesn’t have the same ring. Upslope winds occur when air is elevated up the sides of large land masses (our Colorado mountains) via wind and then cools adiabatically and condenses, causing precipitation. Unless you’re an absolute meteorology nerd, you probably just read blah, blah, blah, but deep down everyone loves nerds and everyone loves precipitation. No matter how you slice it or dice it precipitation is the main ingredient in our coveted barley pops. Upslope Brewing adds the malts, hops and yeast, while their namesake winds provide the water.
A step in the front door is met with a quaint, community filled tap room with at most 15 bar seats and a dozen 4-top tables. The view through the large windows and garage style roll-up door behind the bar shows impressive efficiency.
Someone on their staff must have been a professional Tetris player in a previous life. The amount of production equipment in a tiny space is incredibly impressive. The taproom is accented with blue-streaked beetle kill wood and a two-board darts alley. I have never been in this taproom when it was easy to find a seat. The place is loud, bustling and filled with neighborhood locals like you’d find at your coffee shop. For solid-phase sustenance, the taproom offers a few small plates from Cured in Boulder with wonderful cured meat and cheese plates. On the busiest nights of the week, the brewery invites local food trucks to serve their fare in the parking lot allowing for a lot of delicious options.
Liquid Phase: Upslope’s flagship beers, the Pale Ale, India Pale Ale and Brown Ale are all packaged exclusively in cans and easy to find in the Front Range. The brewers recently added their Craft Lager into the mix and it is also readily available at many local liquor and beer stores. The Craft Lager is the perfect gateway craft beer and 1% of proceeds go to Colorado Trout Unlimited to protect watersheds and trout habitat. When the can reads ‘Drink Responsibly’, it really means drink for a good cause. Upslope’s cans are unique in that they are all two-toned. One major color plus the natural silver of the aluminum can shines through, making them stand out on the shelf. These beers are all solid representations of their styles, but coming by Pale Ales, IPAs, Browns and Lagers is easy, and a lot of great craft products are available. If you’re not willing to switch from your favorite 6er of cans, check out Upslopes lesser known ‘small-batch’ and seasonal beers.
You will be far from disappointed. I had first hand experience this past winter upon my first visit to the taproom when I tried their bourbon barrel stout and had a ‘Mind Status Blown’ moment. This past summer they produced (and distributed) their Belgian Pale Ale. It is bar-none one of the best Belgian Pale Ales on this side of Brussels and will leave you crying come the end of the season. My only suggested improvement would be to package them in magnetic cans so they stay on the shelves of my beer store. With changing seasons comes changing seasonals and this year’s highly anticipated fall seasonal is the Pumpkin Ale. The anticipation and hype exists for a reason. Good beers don’t win GABF gold medals; really, really ridiculously delicious beers do. A gold medal beer packaged in a gold and orange can. And a 16oz tall boy at that. Try to find them as quick as possible as this gold package at the end of the rainbow is getting picked up faster than Gangnam Style YouTube videos.
If you’re in the neighborhood, a visit to the brewery is a must. If I can’t convince you with the talk of good tap-room only and seasonal beers and atmosphere, then maybe the go-karts, driving range, batting cage, mini-golf family fun center across the street will. Or at least give you the chance to ditch underage tag-a-longs.
As these friends continue to grow their brand, they continue to perfect it and make better and better products. Want to try their stuff but can’t find it? Patience. Their currently operating in high-waters. Proper full-break hems are in the works with a large brewery expansion and new facility allowing exponential production grown. But don’t worry North Boulder-ites, the current tap room has no plans on leaving. Upslope has a home. To get an idea of their production potential, word on the street is they just got a hand-me-down canning line from big brother canner, Oskar Blues… This is definitely a brewery to follow.