Upright Brewing, located in Portland, Oregon, is without a doubt an unconventional brewery. It specializes in farmhouse beers that it bottles in 750 ml wine-style bottles, uses simple numerical names for its products, and employs techniques such as open fermentation in making its beer.
Five, Upright's hoppy beer, is no exception to this spirit of uniqueness. It is a farmhouse beer that uses a French saison yeast and features heavy additions of three hop varieties, creating a product almost like a saison IPA. Adding to its unique nature it also contains added xanthohumol, a compound found in hops, that studies suggest may prevent certain forms of cancer. As hoppy beers and saisons are two of my favourite types of beer I was very excited to give this a try.
This beer is the orangey-gold colour that is typical of many farmhouse beers and is ridiculously carbonated, it took ages just to settle down enough to drink. Its head is extremely thick and long-lasting and has an unusual aroma, almost sweet and yeast-like in character. Five enters with a light sweet fruitiness that perversely moves into an almost champagne-like bone dryness. A saison is typically a highly carbonated beer but this was absurd, it was so bubbly that much of the flavour was covered up. One flavour that came through was the taste of unusually potent floral hops that carried through into a strong and long lasting bitter finish that was the most enjoyable aspect of this beer.
I was really excited by this beer, a fact that made the dissapointment that much worse. I respect the creativity and spirit of adventure that led to its creation but I felt it just didn't work, it was just a bit too unusual to be pleasant to drink. However, I do look forward to trying other beers from Upright Brewing as they are likely one of the most experimental breweries out there today.