Admittedly, I am no expert when it comes to reviewing beers. Though I certainly have tried my fair share of different brews, I often leave it up to the experts to talk about the different nuances of various beers. That said, I could not help but share a recent find with the rest of my readers.
The primary reason I was so excited to try Upland Brewery’s new Champagne Velvet is that the original recipe hails from the stomping grounds of my youth, Terre Haute, Indiana. Those of you who recognize Upland as a Bloomington, Indiana brewery need not worry, the rapidly growing brewery has not relocated, but instead has re-released (or perhaps resuscitated) a popular brew that was originally released by the Terre Haute Brewing Company back in 1906 and has not been seen for over 50 years. Champagne Velvet, “The beer with the million dollar taste” was originally a popular local beer during the pre-prohibition era that also had a strong run after World War Two before THBC’s ultimate demise in 1958. Recently, a local family found a portion of the original recipe for Champagne Velvet dated 1901 and Upland has taken on the challenge of reinventing the beer and distributing it throughout the US.
As a beer, Champagne Velvet can be categorized among the many mid to upper shelf lagers currently on the market. In comparison to commonly known brews, Champagne Velvet possesses a flavor somewhere between a Stella Artois and a Warsteiner. The Upland offering lacks the strong barley finish that is typical of a Heineken, but offers a stronger hopped flavor than would be expected from a Dos Equis or Asahi Super Dry. The beer is light in color as is typical for a lager and presents a faint, but pleasant aroma with enough carbonation to feel refreshing in any weather.
Overall, Upland has done a nice job of rescuing THBC’s flagship beer from historical oblivion. Though most younger beer enthusiasts have never enjoyed the chance to try THBC’s original recipe, Upland has faithfully recreated Champagne Velvet from what little was left of the recipe while also introducing an accessible and versatile lager just in time for summer cookouts. Those of you looking for an excellent beer for this summer and beyond would be wise to give Champagne Velvet a try.