Upslope Brewing is going big this spring. The five-year-old Boulder company just opened its second brewery and taproom in a 17,000-square-foot space with a thirty-barrel brewhouse, to complement its original location at 1501 Lee Hill Drive in Boulder.
And now, it's getting ready to brew one of its biggest beers, a 10 percent ABV double IPA, that it will put in 19.2-ounce imperial pint cans. The beer, Imperial India Pale Ale, is Upslope's fifth year-round offering and should be available in May.
Upslope becomes only the second brewery in the country to use that size can, which Oskar Blues debuted last October during the Great American Beer Festival.
Oskar Blues now cans two of its beers, Dale's Pale Ale and Mama's Little Yella Pils, in imperial or "royal" pints, as the size is known in England.
"We're moving into the bomber door, where we've never been before," says Upslope spokesman Henry Wood. What that means is that cans of the Imperial India Pale Ale will be sold as singles priced around $8 each on liquor store shelves and in coolers that are typically reserved for 22-ounce and 750 ml bottles. Upslope's other beers are sold in six-packs of twelve-ounce cans and in four-packs of sixteen-ounce cans.
"This is a great beer for people to share. With imperial pints, you get two ten-ounce pours, which is the appropriate serving for this beer, which is at 10-plus percent ABV," he adds.
The cans are made by Broomfield's Ball Corporation, which is the only manufacturer in the U.S. to make that size can.
"Many brewers are calling and asking for ways to differentiate their products with their packaging," says Ball spokesman Scott McCarty. "There is a lot of interest in having products stand out on the shelves. How a product is perceived can define a brand."
So far, Oskar Blues and Upslope are the only two brewers to use the can, but McCarty says there is interest from other breweries, especially as summer approaches.
The name of Upslope's new beer, Imperial India Pale Ale, mirrors the name of the can, which is appropriate and a slight change from its previous, draft-only moniker, "double IPA." And although Upslope didn't want to give away the specific kinds of hops it uses, Wood says it's a blend of four varieties from North America and New Zealand.
And it uses a lot of them: about six pounds per barrel, 43 percent of which are used after the beer is brewed for dry hopping.
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