Named after the unwieldy instrument that Charles Mingus so expertly wielded, Upright Brewing is a brewery after my own heart. Alex Ganum opened the Upright in 2009 in the basement of the famous Hazelwood Building in Portland, Ore.. Yes, the very same building that housed the legendary Dude Ranch jazz club. Upright specializes in farmhouse ales that are brewed with its own twists and fermented in open vessels.

Upright Flora bottle

Today’s beer, Flora, is a traditional saison brewed with yarrow and calendula flowers which is then aged for a year in oak barrels with lactobacillus. This particular batch was brewed on May 21, 2014 and bottled on June 5, 2015. A total of 94 cases were produced.

The pour reveals an opaque and almost neon yellow bodied beer capped by a pure white lump of foam. The head didn’t stick around for long and has settled into a ring desperately clinging to the edges of the glass. First take on the aroma is a bright fresh citrus character combined with wet hay bales in a barn loft. Digging deeper reveals that citrus note to be comprised of sweet lemon lime soda, e.g. Sprite or 7 Up, and just the faintest evidence of vanilla wafers. Presumably from the extended oak barrel aging.

Upright Flora

Now for my favorite part.

My palate is in veritable bliss. The flavor profile is overflowing with lemon candies up front, wheat sourdough in the middle and a surprisingly sweet malt finish. Rounding those flavors out are undertones of cloves, tarragon, vanilla and a small amount of acidity. The mouthfeel is slick and a bit soapy with a light weight and a hard, almost chalky, minerality. Flora might just be the liquid embodiment of early jazz. It dances on the tongue and then leaves you wondering about just what the hell else in life you have been missing out on.

Upright Flora
BREWERY: Upright Brewing
LOCATION: Portland, Ore.
STYLE: Saison
ABV: 5.5 percent
IBU: n/a
PRICE: $14.39
AVAILABLE IN: 750ml bottles
Overall, Upright has produced something very special with Flora. It’s complex in aroma and flavor but retains a high measure of drinkablility. Flora is damn near flawless if but for a touch too much sweetness. Your mission, should you chose to accept it, involves finding Flora, buying Flora, drinking Flora, and possibly humblebragging on the interwebs to all of your flat-brimmed hat wearing followers about Flora.
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