Upright Brewing Company

A coupla days ago, the Mercury blog brought my attention to a most promising new brewery slated to open in the Leftbank Project, Upright Brewing Company. The Leftbank project is along North Broadway, just as it starts to bend toward the Broadway Bridge (map). The owner/brewer is Alex Ganum, who writes this about his vision:
So, what kind of beer will we be crafting? That’s a difficult question to answer, but imagine combining the spirit and methods of rustic French and Belgian style farmhouse brewing with the positive energy and downright beautiful ingredients the Pacific Northwest offers us. These are beers inspired by historical records and the dedicated few who have kept traditions alive, drawing from our city and region for resources and raw materials. In addition to the year-round brands expect to see several unusual special releases including barrel-aged beers, sour beers, fruit beers, smoked beers, and many other distinct brews. Upright Brewing Company will always be a hands-on, local producer of honest craft beer.
Patrick Coleman, who wrote the Merc post, called Ganum up and got more detail:

I recently called Ganum to get some more information. He told me he plans on crafting beer in the rustic, French and Belgian "farmhouse style." He'll be using two open fermentation tanks and a distinct house yeast. Ganum's strain of French yeast—with possible Belgian origins—is expected to produce beer with "a nice mix of spicey flavors and earthiness and mustiness."

Ganum blanches at the idea that his products will be straight-up, Belgian style brews. "The beers in the brewery are going to be atypical of Portland and America itself," he explains. He doesn't seem too concerned about the difficulty of producing beer through open fermentation (there are only a couple breweries in Oregon doing it) having learned the methods with Brewery Ommegang in Copperstown, New York.

Along with the openly fermented rustic brews, Ganum will also have a conical, closed fermentation tank for special batches of smoked and fruit beers.

I will try to grack Ganum down, too, because this isn't particularly clear. I'm not sure what he means by "straight-up Belgian style" beer. Belgians are a lot like Oregonians--they have a hard time brewing anything to style. Even breweries famous for a particular beer tend to screw around with seasonals. They're brewing very hoppy beers in Belgium now, apparently in homage to West Coast beers (borrowing styles and bending them at right angles is a specialty of Belgian brewing). It sounds like the beer will be brewed using Belgian methods and with Belgian yeasts (note that it's open fermentation, not spontaneous)--to me, this signals pretty straight-up Belgian style. All of which suggests that there's more to learn.

But in any case, this seems like Very Good news indeed.
Jeff Alworth1 Comment