If you’re like me, you’re eager for breweries to open at full capacity — to try samplers of beers and unique taproom-only offerings; to order flights and taste the contrast between different styles and chat about your findings with friends and strangers.
While Upslope’s tap rooms (Lee Hill and Flatiron Park) are open for patio service, you may still be more inclined to imbibe from home. Luckily the folks at the Boulder brewery have assembled a Hop Mix Box that includes four different expressions of India Pale Ale, and which makes for a good at-home tasting flight.
It’s not quite the same — nothing quite has been over the last year — but it’s a good replication of the taproom experience. Find the Hop Mix Box wherever good beer is sold for a limited time; here’s what’s inside.
India Pale Ale
Upslope’s standard IPA is a pure expression of the style. It pours a deep copper, and the nose is imbued with citrus and a hint of caramel. On the tongue, it’s remarkably balanced, making it an easy sipper, even at 7.2% ABV. With a sturdy malt backbone, the hops won’t overwhelm, but a bitter bite on each sip affirms the style.
Citra Pale Ale
Move on to the Citra Pale Ale to taste the tropical flavors some hops provide. The goldenrod-colored ale packs a punch of grapefruit, apricot and other light-colored tropical fruits, courtesy of the heavy dosage of Citra hops Upslope brewers add in. Bitterness (only 37 IBUs) is subdued by a pleasant citrus and floral flavor, and a touch of malt makes it very smooth.
Hazy Pale Ale
The Hazy Pale Ale is Upslope’s latest year-long offering. After extensive experimentation, brewers came up with a hazy IPA that’s juicy and smooth, but has a hoppy crunch that keeps it from being straight juice. Pale in color, with distinct haze, you’ll get orange peel, tropical fruit and a whiff of fresh pine. As hazy IPAs have taken over taprooms across the country over the last year or two, it’s refreshing to taste one so balanced.
Spruce Tip IPA
This one’s for the bitterness junkies. Smacking of fresh pine, due to the addition of Simcoe and Cascade hops, this crunchy ale is a perfect contrast to the Hazy Pale Ale. It’s amber in color, with a healthy malt foundation, and you’ll taste pine, of course, but also melon and candied citrus.
One thing missing from the Hop Mix Box is Upslope’s experimental IPA, which is a canned, rotating offering. Pick it up as a single to complement your flight. Currently, you’ll find an IPA brewed with orange blossom honey made with Nelson Sauvin, Strata and Sabro hops — the honey sweetness balances the tropical and citrus notes from the hops for a refreshing, interesting brew.