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Famous for beer: Bloomington, Indiana

Where It Is

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Where It Is

First of all, I am not writing about Bloomindale’s! My attention for this story is on Bloomington, Indiana. Located in the Midwest region of the USA, it is approximately 50 miles from Indianapolis and within 100 miles of Cincinnati, Ohio and Louisville, Kentucky. Over half of the population of the United States lives within a day’s drive of Bloomington. Frequently called the Gateway to Scenic Southern Indiana, the city was established in 1818 by a group of settlers from Kentucky, Tennessee, the Carolinas and Virginia; because it was a “haven of blooms” they called it Bloomington. As of the 2010 census, the population was 80,405.

Indiana University (IU) Bloomington forms the core of the city and since 1820 it has been the largest campus of IU and one of the five most beautiful colleges in the world (Thomas Gaines).

Tourism Important Economic Engine

I am not the only visitor who has found Bloomington a delight. Tourism is the third largest industry in the area and over $258 million is attributed to the travel and tourism industry each year. In 2000 visitor expenditures in the area led to the receipt of $19.5 million in state government revenues and $10.5 million in local government income. The city hosts approximately 3 million people each year. While the city may not have the largest marketing budget on the planet it is the artisanal beer bar that attracts so many visitors to the destination.

100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall

Indiana has a significant beer industry. As of 2012 there were 68 breweries and brewpubs and more than 23,000 people worked in the industry and generated $456 million in business and personal tax revenue with consumer purchases generating $192 million in tax revenue. Indiana ranked 22nd in the number of craft breweries per capita with 54 (2012).

The industry is likely to grow even bigger for as of July 1, 2015 new legislation permits craft breweries to produce up to 90,000 barrels of beer each year while continuing to operate restaurants and tasting rooms.

Upland Success

In 1997, Marc Sattinger, Russ Levitt and Dean LaPlante started the Upland brewery with the name Inspired by the rolling hills of southern Indiana. Since 2006, Doug Dayhoff has been the President of the Upland Brewing Company. He graduated with a degree in philosophy from Indiana University and an MBA from the Tuck School at Dartmouth College.

In addition to a very successful brew/pub operations, Dayhoff has developed entrepreneurial high-growth businesses, raising over $35 million in venture capital and completing transactions in excess of $150 million. A Director of the Sycamore Land Trust and Bloomington Parks Foundation, he is also the president of the IU’s Hutton Honors College Alumni Board.

Recognizing the importance of Upland to the economy of the community, the city of Bloomington’s Redevelopment Commission recently invested approximately $50,000 to install larger water lines to its new brewing location.

Artisanal Beer @ Upland

It is a natural link – college students and beer, so it is no surprise that one of the best beer pubs on the planet is located in Bloomington. Upland is considered to offer the best Indiana beer and produces 5-7 varieties of beer on tap plus seasonal selections – leaving visitors to have the best beer experience – ever! No need to make a single decision, customers are able to order a sampler and experience a 5-ounce glass from each of 7 taps. In addition to Upland beers, the pub offers a wide selection of local and international wines that are selected to pair well with their menu.

The Pour

1. DragonFly.

We can thank the British Empire for India Pale Ale for it has a shelf life longer than regular ales. The beer-loving Brits needed their brew on long journeys and found that by adding excessive amounts of hops to the beer (as a preservative), the shelf-life was extended. Today some beer connoisseurs consider IPA to be the signature of American craft beer.

The Upland DragonFly features 7 hop additions that leads to a POW. The brew starts with a floral note to the nose and ends with a malty well-balanced crispy finish to the palate. Pair with nutty flavors such as pistachio dusted trout; also pairs well with grilled steak/burgers – the caramelized crust pulls out the caramel malt in the beer and the hop flavor and bitterness offers a slight (but delicious) hit of bitterness.

2. Oktoberfest.

A Marzen-style lager – it is frequently referenced as Oktoberfest. This beer originated in Bavaria and a local brewing ordinance decreed (1553) that beer could be brewed only between September 29 and April 23. The Marzen (March) brew was based on a special recipe that allowed the beer to last during the warm spring and summer months. Because there was no refrigeration the beer was stored in cellars until late summer and the remaining bottles were served at Oktoberfest.

Marzenbier is full-bodied, rich, toasty, malt-forward brew with caramel-like flavors; frequently deep copper in color with medium – high alcohol content. The caramel malt pairs well with spicy flavors including homemade bratwurst, crispy well-seared pork chops and BBQ or tomato-sauce topped pizza.

3. Wheat.

This Upland Wheat Ale is the flagship beer for this brewery and the best selling beer in Indiana. The style is thought to have originated in Belgian Monasteries and reached its peak in popularity during the 18th -19th centuries in the towns east of Brussels.

Wheat beer is brewed with a large percentage of wheat to malted barley and is usually top fermented. The Upland Wheat Ale is derived from the Belgian Witbier (white beer). It is brewed with organic coriander, chamomile and orange peel creating a light tart zing to the palate. The ale is unfiltered and permits the suspended yeast to create a cloudy, golden appearance. It is light to medium in body with a slight sweetness from a hint of orange. It is clean and crisp with only a slight hop bitterness; it offers high carbonation and a large white head. Pair with Mac and Cheese, fried fish and chips (i.e., calamari) or smoked salmon or smoked trout.

4. Beard of Paradise.

American Pale Ale is more assertive and aggressive than English Pale Ale thanks to the American hops. There is flexibility to a lighter hop content. This American Pale Ale is a mix of coconut, pineapple and citrus (from mosaic hops). The sweetness from the crystal malt is balanced by a mild acidity from the pineapple. Pair with Tofu corn dog bites with a jalapeno corn dog style crust served with chipotle tomato ketchup or apple and arugula salad.

Upland offers a vast and delicious menu, an extensive beverage list, and is a popular dining/entertainment option for locals and visitors. One visit will be insufficient. I tried (unsuccessfully) to get them to open a restaurant in my Manhattan neighborhood. I am left only with pleasant memories and a really good reason to revisit Bloomington.

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About the author


Linda Hohnholz

Editor in chief for eTurboNews based in the eTN HQ.

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