Bloomington, IN: Upland Brewery - Production Brewery Tour

This past Saturday afternoon was perfect for a brewery tour. We headed out to the west side of town to check out Upland Brewery's production brewery for a free tour and tasting!

Eric and I like to go to local breweries. Not only is it fun to try new craft beers, but with small(er) breweries, you can really get a personalized tour -- it's very different from the big beer companies' tours, like the 50+ people you share the tour with at places like Anheuser-Busch (although if you are in St Louis I definitely recommend going on that tour). We have been on a lot of tours at this point, and none of them have ever been the same. One thing I've noticed is that the smaller the brewery, the more casual the tour will be.

We were the only people on our tour, led by one of the guys who was manning the tap in the tasting room (I didn't catch his name, unfortunately, but he's from Wisconsin and has worked at two other breweries we've visited, Titletown in Green Bay and Dogfish Head in Delaware, which was really funny).The tour started off by meeting in the tasting room, which is actually the only room at the production brewery. (Upland also has a brewpub in town, which has delicious food, but is always crowded. This is where they brew their "sour" beers, and they sometimes offer tours of those as well; for information on that I recommend following them on Twitter). There were a whole bunch of people in the tasting room, which we later found out was a Mom's Weekend event for one of the fraternities, and it took a little while to figure out who was working who we should ask about the tour.

It seems like all small(er) breweries have a wacky sense of humor. We see funny signs like the one above fairly often when taking tours.

Our tour guide was good and explained what the equipment was used for, what happened in each process, the difference between ales and lagers, and answered any questions any of us had. I think this was Eric's mom's and sister's first time going on a brewery tour, so they had a lot of questions and really benefited from the explanations. For Eric and me, it was fun to be going through the brewery when something was actually being brewed! Normally Upland doesn't brew on Saturdays, but for some reason they were today, so we actually got to see some things we hadn't before (check out the bucket below; that's carbon dioxide being released from the yeast chowing down on sugars).

Upland has a bottling line from the '70's that three guys work by hand, loading glasses from the pallet to the machine, making sure caps and labels are getting on properly, and packing up six packs. It sounded exhausting. The bottling line wasn't running while we were there (it's incredibly loud) but we got to see everything up close, which was cool.

Upland was preparing for a huge sale by one of the liquor stores in town and their entire cooler room was full to the brim.

Upland also does some experimental beers. It seems a lot of breweries these days are playing with bourbon barrels (and other kinds of barrels), which I am totally okay with because I tend to like the products that come from these experiments. It's always interesting to see how all the different breweries do their own thing while at the same time doing what tons of others are doing (and it's not a geographical thing -- we've doing brew tours from San Diego to Delaware and everywhere in between).

Our tour guide played it cool for his pose when I asked to take a photo of him.

There's a lot on tap in the tasting room. The tour comes with free samples (try whatever you'd like; we tried about 4 beers we hadn't had before), plus you can buy full-size pints, 20oz, or bottles if you want. They also do growler fills here (even on Sundays). Check the website for details on specials.

Inside the tasting room is plenty of seating, but if the weather is nice also check out their outside seating. There was a firepit fire going while we were there!

Do you go on food or drink tours? We like to hit up breweries on vacation, and we have even been to a couple of wineries, although I definitely enjoy those more than Eric does ;)
Bloomington, IN: Upland Brewery - Production Brewery Tour Bloomington, IN: Upland Brewery - Production Brewery Tour Reviewed by Maria on 3:00:00 PM Rating: 5

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