Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Upland's Secret Barrel Society

So you say you're tired of having to enter the lottery to get your lambics from Upland?
So you say, you never get as many delicious sour beers as you want?
So you say you wish there was an easier way???
There is an easier way. I am a big fan of the Upland Lambics, and Malefactor is one of my all-time favorites, so when the Secret Barrel Society (SBS) memberships came out my wonderful wife got one for me for my birthday.

I've really enjoyed everything about it, but as I was going through my last tour of the Upland sour beer program, it occurred to me that not everyone really knows how many additions have been made to the benefits of the Secret Barrel Society.

Upland has had their Secret Barrel Society going on since the end of last year. When it first came out there were a lot of people in the local beer community that were, let's just say unimpressed, but Caleb, their head brewer, has done a ton to make this a worthwhile program. I know they have some possible changes in the works for next year, but let's take a look what what members have gotten so far.

  • Each member recieved 2 members only tulip glasses
  • So far there have been two private tours of the Upland Brewery sour program with Caleb and samples of the sours coming down the pike. Members were able to bring a guest to those events.
  • There has been one sour beer release party, hosted at the Bloomington and Carmel tap houses, complete with samples of new beers, meats cheeses and talks with employees working on the sour program. Members were able to bring a guest to this as well.
  • Members got a free VIP pass to the Sour Wild Funk Fest (SWFF).
  • After SWFF we were able to go into the catacombs for a special SBS party. Again members were able to bring a guest.
  • Most importantly, members have been able to get up to 6 of each beer for the last few releases. That is a TON of delicious Upland sours.

Upland was really upfront when talking about their goals for the SBS. They wanted to grow the sour program enough that they were able to start putting some of their beers back on liquor store shelves around town. They cool thing is, they've actually started doing it. Big Red has gotten a few cases of the last couple releases.
There are tons of people who talk about "the good ol'days" when you could just go to the store and buy a lambic. Well, the extra money coming in from the SBS memberships and the additional sales of the beer is making the sour program strong. If this had been a kickstarter it probably would have been supported better, but kickstarter takes money away from the program. 

As a community we can be unforgiving when we feel like we've been slighted or taken advantage of. I know SBS didn't impress everyone when it first came out, but they've done a great job making it a great value for beer geeks around town. If you love their sours and haven't been getting as many in the lottery as you want, you should really check out the Secret Barrel Society.

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