It’s no secret our Sour Ales are tough to get ahold of. But what you didn’t know is we’ve been moonlighting as excavators, digging a proverbial tunnel to the front of the line. We’ve developed a way for the biggest sour freaks to bypass the lottery, step quietly around the guy with the million fake emails, and announce with conviction, “I’m here to pick up my bottle.” This hidden passageway is the Secret Barrel Society.
Upland’s sour program began in 2006, when we rearranged our schedules, cleared a tiny corner in the already overcrowded brewery, and found four locally sourced white oak barrels. These meager provisions were just enough for Upland to set about making this long-time dream a reality. Or, rather, a wildly successful venture (pun intended).
“As puritanically as possible, the goal was to replicate a traditional Lambic-style beer, allowing other microorganisms to participate in a fermentation to create a tart, sour ale,” says Head Brewer Caleb Staton. “That initial batch easily could have been a futile experiment.”
Thankfully, the Upland team turned out to have an uncanny knack for brewing sour ales, and although our setup was minimal, the acclaim these beers received was huge. The sour heads, the traders, the hoarders, the mules who dutifully spend hours organizing photocopied IDs and dispersing the right bottles to the right people in their nation-wide beer networks, even the culprit who stole our Cherry samples at SAVOR last year, have made this journey deeply gratifying and led us to the conclusion that we just need to brew more barrels of the award-winning lineup to keep our customers happy.
The benefits of the Secret Barrel Society are twofold. Members are guaranteed a reservation from eight individual sour releases throughout the year, meaning no more waiting and wondering about the lottery, and every dollar generated through membership will bypass pockets and paychecks and go directly to growing our Sour Ale Program. Provided we hit membership capacity, this will be enough to fund 95% of an expansion that will put us well on our way to building a great American sours brewery, meaning increased Upland Sour Ale availability for all!
We’re opening Secret Barrel Society membership for 2014 today, October 16th. Full details can be found at secretbarrelsociety.com. From the start, this has been nothing but a journey into the unknown for Upland. We invite you to help us pave the road for the next leg. The best is still yet to come.