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The Limited Release Series Continues . . .

April 27, 2012

Foreign Style Stout is Upslope Brewing’s First Limited Release

February 9, 2012

We’re excited to announce the first in a series of very limited release beers.

Just as upslope storms summon snow to the Front Range, so does the craft beer enthusiast’s desire for a dark and wintry brew. It’s stout time in Colorado!

Matt Cutter, Founder of Upslope Brewing Company, tells the story behind this new release:

“We’ve always wanted to can one of the specialty beers that we brew as a limited release, and finally have built the capacity to do so. Our Foreign Style Stout has been a tap room favorite since it was originally brewed as our first anniversary beer two years ago. With only 200 barrels of this beer being brewed in January and February, it truly deserves its ‘limited release’ status“.

Sometimes called an export stout, our take on a traditional Irish style is roasty but corduroy smooth and well-balanced both in malt character and hop bitterness.

Upslope Brewing Company, a microbrewery located in Boulder, Colorado, taps into the beer enthusiast’s active lifestyle by offering superior quality hand-crafted ales in cans. The teaming of fine ales in cans allows Upslope’s products to be fresh, portable, and delicious.

Shirt Off My Back: Black Shirt Brewing Company

October 19, 2011

The 15 Barrel "Loaner" at Upslope Brewing Company

The highest highs and the lowest lows . . . it’s what makes life worth living.

The industry continues to blow me away with good souls, believing in their craft, a craft that lost its way in this country a century ago. However, all is not lost. The good news is that there are passionate people out there recovering the course. So sit down, grab a pint, and I’ll tell you a tale.

It’s July 2011. The beer gods had smiled down upon us and the expansion we put in place last March proves to be inadequate. More capacity is once again needed and the next fermenter is 3 months out. I’m in a sales meeting and Luke casually mentions, “I talked to Chad at Black Shirt, and he said that we could borrow one of his tanks if we want.” I had briefly met Branden from Black Shirt, but never Chad, so I called him up. Chad says, “Yeah, we’re still renovating our space and our tanks have already arrived. You’re welcome to them.” On Saturday morning I hooked up the trailer that we borrow from Phil, the welder in #14,  to my 2001 Jeep Cherokee and headed down to 38th and Downing in Denver. As I rolled down I-25, the Jeep gnashed out a sound under the hood that resembled a metallic maraca. The smell wasn’t too bad, so I tried to ignore it.

Chad and Branden Miller and some very good friends emerged with white faces powdered with concrete dust. They were cutting trench drains in the 4000 square foot former tavern and brothel (can you say, good karma?) that will one day soon emerge as Black Shirt Brewing Company. Passion for what they are creating seeps from their pores, and long hard days are fueled by it.

The 15 barrel fermenter was already sitting on the forklift, ready to go . . . as if these guys had nothing better to do. I described the Jeep’s mechanical challenges. Chad informed me that the clutch from the A/C was “grenaded” and that really bad things could happen if I continued. Without a second thought, he hooked up his pickup truck to the trailer as my Jeep was hauled off to the shop. Truly realizing the situation as I was driving north to Boulder, I called my wife. “Would you believe that I am driving a borrowed pickup truck, towing a borrowed trailer that is loaded with a borrowed 15 barrel fermenter to the brewery right now?”

I asked Chad if I could pay him rent and he declined. We have been continuously brewing into the fermenter since the day it arrived.

Down this crooked path of life, if you pay attention, doors open and people surprise you. Black Shirt Brewing Company is carving out a space to bring artisan craft beer to Coloradans seeking what beer has the capacity to be. The Red Ale Project is truly unique in its scope and purpose. Support these guys, because they represent all that craft beer used to, and what it has the potential to be.

Upslope Pumpkin Ale: Good as Gold

October 8, 2011

Upslope Craft Lager Honors It’s Upstream Roots

June 22, 2011

Introducing No. 3: Upslope Brown Ale

November 22, 2010

From homebrew adventure to third can, here is the story of how Upslope Brewing’s newcomer evolved from concept to reality.

It’s September 2009. Tap Room Manager and avid homebrewer, Chad Pieper, brought in a bottle of one of his latest concoctions. It was his first attempt at a brown ale. He wanted something a little non-traditional.

Sure the British introduced the Brown Ale way back in 17th century. It was light brown and sweet, and brewed exclusively with brown malt. Chad decided that this was a good foundation, but as Americans do, the style needed to be Americanized. It needed to be roasted, and malty, and it needed to be a little more bitter than the style that was an English second cousin to the mild ale.

As the bottle of homebrew was emptied into small glasses, the brewers took notice. Chad brewed another batch. The sampling continued. The brewers scaled the recipe up to a 4 barrel batch. The tap room starts to serve it. More brown is brewed and it starts to generate interest at local restaurants and taverns. It goes on tap for the ski season at Eldora Mountain Resort. Over several months, the brown becomes a mainstay in the tap room. 

It didn’t stop there. We continued to tweak the recipe; switch up the specialty malts, bring out new flavors and finishes with different yeast strains, and combine American hops with the English hops. In time, we gathered feedback from our customers in the tap room and wherever it gathered a following in local restaurants and taverns.

As the brewery expanded in March, the potential for a third can gained interest. Summer came to the Front Range and the new fermenters were brimming with ale intended for rusty red and indigo blue cans. The idea is shelved.

With yet another expansion in the works, ideas bubbled up again. Is it finally time? Which style would it be? Looking toward the history we had with our beloved brown ale, and our customer’s call of “Do you have anything darker in cans?”, the wheels are set in motion.

What color should the can be for a brown ale? Well . . . green, of course.

Design, label approvals with the TTB, coordinating with our can supplier for dies and plates and production slots, and the inevitable pilgrimage to Worland, Wyoming by Henry Wood to approve the perfect production details, the cans are manufactured and roll their way seven hours south to Boulder. In anticipation, a few days earlier the final recipe of  the brown ale is brewed into the 30 barrel fermenters for the first time. Packaging is planned.

Not because of carefully planned schedules and marketing hype, Upslope Brown Ale is loaded onto our vans and pickup trucks and delivered to our retailers . . . two years to the day that our first two cans were first delivered from a little known brewery in North Boulder. The Monday before Thanksgiving just seems to be a good day for us.

From the adapted kegs of a homebrew system that’s still missing one of it’s wheels, and the creativity and ingenuity of a certain homebrewer, Upslope celebrates it’s homebrewing roots with this third offering. We humbly ask you to give it a try, celebrate it’s malt character and roasted flavor, and raise a can to Chad!

Two Years and Counting

November 4, 2010

It’s been quite a year.

On November 6th, we mark our second year. Let’s recap some of the highlights:

December 2009: One of Matt’s first homebrew recipes makes it to the production system. The kettle boils orange peel and juniper berries for the first time. Upslope Christmas Ale is born.

January: Killer cold snap. Luke is delivering beer in Denver and it freezes in the back of the van while he’s delivering! Protecting our fans, the beer comes back and is “liberated”. At their request, we ship a case of beer to Maxim Magazine. They think our Pale Ale is the bomb and deems it “Best Pale Ale”.  We buy a bunch of issues . . . for the articles, of course.

February: Our first profitable month ever, by a few hundred bucks. Matt starts sleeping again. Brewer Alex talks Matt into brewing a Belgian Quadrupel Ale which finally mellows out in August.

March: Our first 30 barrel fermeters and brite tank arrive, doubling our capacity. By some twist of fate, we end up not dropping them as we attempt to get them vertical with a forklift and straps.  There is much rejoicing. It becomes difficult/impossible to move full fermeters out of the way for the new arrivals. Production takes a hit while the brewery is “rearranged”.

April: Picking up the pieces from March. Director of Sales Henry and Sales Associate Luke sell so much beer that the van is sent to the shop limping.

May: With the plan for the third can in the works, Head Brewer Dany says, “Maybe we should see how the summer goes with the Pale and IPA first.” Henry and Matt contain their excitement and go with the flow. Summer unfolds and Dany is proven correct.

June: Beer festivals, beer festivals, beer festivals. We buy a second jockey box to handle the conflict with 2 festivals/one day. Top Rope Mexican Style Craft Lager, brewed by Upslope, debuts at Big Red F restaurants. People seem to like it.

July: The ill-fated voyage of the Upslope crew on bikes to several breweries in town is attempted. We’ll call it “team building”. Fellow brewers take very good care of us and Tap Room Manager Chad proves that sitting in a lawnchair on a bike trailer is not necessarily a safe mode of transportation. 

August: We roll out new 12-pack boxes and trays from North Star Packaging that are Sustainable Forest Initiative certified and made of 100% recycled content. The planet gives us a wink.

September: Baby bear pumpkins from Munson Farms make their way to the employee’s ovens. Alex brews 7 barrels of a killer pumpkin ale. Chad and Henry roshambo over who gets the majority of kegs. Henry wins, but Chad gets to shine with 9News during the GABF.

October: The new canning line brought to us from our next door neighbors, Alexis and Jeff at Wild Good Engineering, starts to do what we had always hoped it would do. We are mesmerized at the idea of something actually being semi-automated in our brewery.

November 6th: Upslope Brewing Company celebrates two years of officially being on the planet with bands, and BBQ, and 17 (that’s right . . . 17!) different Upslope brews that Chad has been hoarding for this very event. He likes to put on a good show.

The road has been hard, but true. We are wiser, but also just a few steps from the trailhead. Your belief and support has brought us this far. Your reaffirming comments and stories feed us as we continue to strive to brew the best beer that we know how. We’d be honored for you to celebrate with us. Join us, if you can, to raise a pint.