Enter Upstream Brewing Company, located in the Old Market. I always liked visiting this old-and-cool part of town. Eating at The Spaghetti Works before a concert was a tradition in high school. AC/DC, Ozzy, Aerosmith, Motley Crue. Ahh, memories. So it was great to be here again. It’s easily been a dozen years, and the Old Market looks better than ever.
Upstream’s full of exposed-brick atmosphere, and maintains an impressive eleven beers on tap. A wit beer seasonal and cask IPA joined nine beers in the regular lineup: light American lager, Blonde, honey raspberry, American wheat, English pale ale, ESB, IPA, Scotch ale and stout.
I did a pint of the Dundee Scotch Ale, which was served tongue-pricklingly cold, as well as tasters of the Blackstone Stout and cask IPA. Soft and lucious, the cask stood out. The stout was enjoyable and creamy. The Scotch ale gave me more to think about. Billed as a 90 Shilling, it was on the low end of the spectrum, weighing in at 6.5% abv. It took some time to truely enjoy, due to the temperature, but even when it warmed, it seemed a subdued offering for the style. I love Scotch ales, and want them to kick me in the stomach with pleasure. A little restrained, the aroma was of malt and a toasty graininess. The flavor was similar, with an early touch of bitterness and minty nuance, both then fading. Alcohol wafted through and held on for the finish. As it warmed, the alcohol was more pronounced, and it may have been higher than the stated abv. A more profound malt aspect, and a little more body would have been great. Still, it was a pleasurable pint.
We waited a looooong time for our server to show up. She was very friendly. Then we waited a looooong time for our beers (and rootbeers) to arrive. It was not busy when we arrived. The 30-seat U-shaped bar was nearly vacant and there was nothing more than a reasonable dinner crowd eating on a Sunday evening. I sensed that she was relatively new. To give the staff some credit, I should mention that I overheard a female bartender handily fielding questions from another patron. She described his beer, the brewing process (and Upstream’s setup), and the history of the building effectively.
As we were waiting on a flight and not filled with time, we only ordered appetizers, the fried calamari and an artichoke/asiago cheese dip. Neither were amazing, but the menu looked like it had potential, so I look forward to another trip,
I had noticed on their website that they offered a number of Belgians for sale in 750 mL bottles, but no dice today. Only a barley wine. I’d gotten myself a little thirsty for a kriek to take home. Next time.
And there will be a next time: a full meal, another cask, and a stroll around the other beers on their list. I’d recommend this place, and the Old Market, as well. Make a day of it if you’re in the area.