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Beer Guide 2015: Upright


240 N Broadway, Suite 2, 735-5337, 5-9 pm Thursday, 4:30-9 pm Friday, 1-8 pm Saturday, 1-6 pm Sunday.

[CASH ON THE BARRELHEAD] Alex Ganum's Upright Brewing rarely makes a misstep. Is it because of the restraint you find in beers like the Five saison, subtle in its hoppiness with equally subdued floral notes? Or because they're always pushing the envelope with offerings like Captain Beefheart, which took 60 pounds of charred beef heart in the boil? Maybe it's a little of both. The brewery's firm restraint shows up even at its unadorned basement tasting room in the Left Bank building. They accept only cash or check, and reserve their crisply balanced Four Play cherry sour wheat for one tap here. Their transcendent, clean, possibly perfect Engelberg Pilsner remains resolutely unbottled and therefore always fresh. Their seasonals, true to their name, often actually return, like their biggest beer by far, a spicy, fragrant 9.4 percent Spollen Angel tripel that is a tribute to longtime local brewer Chris Spollen, now of Old Ivy. Improvisation, as all the old jazz masters know, requires a firm grasp of form.

DRINK THIS: Upright's first try at a Roggenbier—basically a rye hefeweizen—crackles slightly under soothing citric hops and a hint of clove. It's a winter gem.