For whatever reason, it was difficult finding a beer with the number “5” in the title. Can you think of a beer with the number “5” or word “five” in the title? I thought about traveling all the way down to “Five & 20 Spirits and Brewing” in Westfield, but I just couldn’t find the time to make the trip.
So imagine my joy when I was perusing through one of the aisles in Premiere Gourmet and I came across four beers from Upright Brewing Company, all lined up in a row, named Four, Five, Six, and Seven. The beers are named after their starting gravity in Belgian brewing degrees. This allowed me some much needed flexibility to pick different beers and fill in my list with other more easily found numbers.
“Five” was the number I needed help with to fill in my list, so I went with this beer. Aside from being excited about the name of the beer, I was actually excited to sample this beer as well. I had never heard nor tasted any of the “numbered beers” from Upright Brewing.
Upright Brewing is based in Portland, Oregon, and produces farmhouse inspired beers rooted in Belgium and France but made with a Pacific Northwest twist. The brewery name references a musician, Charles Mingus, an influential American jazz bassist. Wikipedia states that:
Mingus forged his own brand of music that fused tradition with unique and unexplored realms of jazz.
A parallel mission statement at Upright Brewing Company declares:
At Upright the recipes and processes are decidedly unbound, making for true hybrid styles that share Mingus’ spirit of exercising creativity and craft.
I even went so far as to listen to some of Charles Mingus’ music whilst drinking this beer. Seemed like the appropriate thing to do. Some songs were fast-paced with band members yelling and playing crazy riffs all over the place. In a good way. Mingus himself anchored the band with incredible momentum and drive. And then other songs were plodding and melodic with lots of swooning. Here’s a link to one of his albums (yeah, sorry for all the commercials).
Upright Brewing Company: Five
Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale
It was difficult to pour this bottle-conditioned beer into my Spiegelau “yeast glass” because of the foam. This foam that receded very slowly and left plenty of lacing. Once the foam subsided, I buried my nose in the glass and inhaled a few deep whiffs.
One of the most interesting aspects of Five is that I found the aroma and flavor to be quite different and unique. The aroma possesses deep dark “stone fruits”: most notably plum, cherry, and apricot. These deep fruits are almost candy-like with a bubble-gum smell. Five tasted very different from its aroma, with plenty of unexpected hop bitterness with a dry finish. The hops used in production of this beer were Willamette, Liberty, and Glacier. A saison yeast is used in production of this beer, definitely adding to the funk and fruit feel of Five.
Five is a unique farmhouse blend of deep aroma stone fruit and bitter hops fermented with a saison yeast strain. True to the jazz bassist this beer is named after, Five blends some traditional farmhouse notes with some clever hop riffs.