Lucky me! I’m one of the select few out there that gets to sample Uplsope Wild Saison, selection 2 in this Boulder, Colorado brewer’s Lee Hill series of beers. The beers are only released quarterly and come in neat and nifty 19.2 ounce aluminum cans with labels affixed bottle-style. Uplsope says this about the series on their website:
Named after our original North Boulder brewery, the Lee Hill Series is our tribute and continued commitment to experimenting and crafting small batches of beer for YOU, our awesome, beer loving fans.
So, now that we know the origins of the series, how about the beer? Here’s what they say about that:
Volume 2, Wild Saison, delivers bright notes of ripe fruit imparted by the Saison yeast and is nicely balanced by the tartness of the Lactobacillus and Brettanomyces. The farmhouse inspired….sour ale was aged for seven months in select red wine barrels…..
So, it was fairly easy to infer from the name of the beer this would be a saison, though not your average saison as we shall soon see.
Upslope Wild Saison has an alcohol content of 6.8% by volume with 24 IBUs. From the brewery blog, it seems that the beer is only sold at the brewery taproom for $10 a can. That may seem a bit high if you think of this as a beer that might be sold in 4 or 6 packs. You shouldn’t. This is a rare specialty beer and the 19.6 ounce can is really closer to a bomber bottle. These specially brews will always command a higher price, and I think that is justified here. I didn’t travel to the brewery of course, but received a can in a trade from the always beer savvy Dale Roberts.
Uplsope Wild Saison pours to a pale golden color with a slightly vinous tart funky nose and a very minimal head formation. Taking a sip, the beer is very tart and sour up front with apple fruit and a very dry cider-like quality for me. Carbonation is also very light. I do pick up an ever so slight yeasty funk from the Brettanomyces. There’s a subtle vinous quality too from the wine barrels, and they impart a hint of wood as well. I get McIntosh apple fruit just before the most prominent part of the beer: a huge puckering sourness in the finish.
That very acidic sourness makes the beer extremely quenching indeed. Added to the soft fruity wine notes, oak and Brett funk I’d say this is the perfect beer to pair with the Thanksgiving bird. Dale says he enjoyed a can in just that fashion, and the release date was perfectly tied to do so. My sample was canned on November 5th of 2014, and I enjoyed it on April 24th of 2015 making it a little over 5 months old. Don’t panic! Saison is also known as Bier de Garde, or beer to keep (store). It certainly made for a wonderfully refreshing pause on a warm spring evening here in Georgia.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.