Upper Pass Beer Co is a farmhouse brewery in Tunbridge, Vermont conceived by homebrewers, Chris Perry and Andrew Puchalik, before Ivan Tomek joined the team in 2015. They released their first beer at the Tunbridge World’s Fair in September of 2015 and have a been killing the Vermont Beer scene ever since. They are currently in the process of upgrading to a 5 barrel system in Tunbridge to crank out more of their nano batches. To keep up with demand, each month they contract brew 50 bbl batches of their First Drop American Pale Ale and Cloud Drop Double IPA at the Von Trapp Brewery in Stowe, Vermont. Now that you got to know a little about the brewery's history, lets dive into their beer and drink it all in...
Full Disclosure: UPBC's beer tastes, smells and looks amazing deserving all of its praises but if you would like another review about their beer go somewhere else. You can go to any beer review site or blog to get that. We are about to drop some knowledge on Cloud Drop!
Lets geek out about their most popular beer Cloud Drop DIPA and explain why it tastes & smells so good. Cloud Drop IPA, the Suds Duds Society highlighted homebrew recipe, actually started as a 10 gallon homebrew batch when Chris & Andrew first brewed it. The recipe for the most part has stayed intact but there have been a few production changes that have set it apart from others on the market. Unlike most New England Style IPAs, Upper Pass actually uses some hop extract in addition to 60 min pellet hop additions to firm up the bitterness. They use Chinock extract to increase the bitterness by 10 IBUs. Believe it or not, an IPA actually should have some bitterness to be considered an IPA.
Upper Pass Beer didn't reinvented the wheel by using late hop additions to add flavor and dry hopping for aroma but their practices are progressive. The whirlpool/flameout addition isn't added until the wort cools to 180 degrees preventing alpha acid conversion into bitterness aiming to add mainly hop flavor. Brewers have been discussing whether to dry hop before the beer is done fermenting or dry hop once the beer is completed fermentation with the yeast dropping out of solution. Why not double dry hop they say! Cloud Drop is dry hopped 5 pounds per barrel with the total equally split between both stages. The yeast can recirculate the hops and drive off any oxygen that gets in. While the second dry hop can keep all the oils in suspension and ensure that wonderful hop aroma doesn't get driven out.
If that doesn't get you excited to drink beer and to make beer I don't know what will. Do yourself a favor when you make your way to the Green Mountain State and grab yourself some Upper Pass Beer. They are in the midst of creating a tasting room with coffee roasting in South Royalton. Hopefully you won't have to track down their beer because it will sell out once it hits shelves. Visit them at www.upperpassbeer.com and follow them @upperpassbeer on social media.
Cheers and support small beer one tee at time!