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Top 100 Rated Beers of 2017



by Sean Coughlin
Cursed Kettles
Upland Brewing Co. & Prairie Artisan Ales

View Beer
Read Review
Brewer Q & A


Brewery Impressions
by Upland's Pete Batule, head of brewery operations.

Who was responsible for this beer's recipe?
This collaboration beer was a team effort with our friends at Prairie Artisan Ales. Matt Wisley and I (from Upland), along with Michael Lalli and Todd Holder from Prairie, developed the process and recipe.

What sets this beer apart from other examples within the style?
This was our first adventure into creating a sour beer through both kettle souring and wood aging. These processes, combined with a primary fermentation with Brettanomyces, led to a very different flavor profile than many of our other beers.  

What makes this beer truly World-Class?
For us, being very curious, constantly experimenting with ingredients, and improving our process are integral pieces of our brewery's ethos. From my perspective, what makes Cursed Kettles stand out among other beers is the fact that we used an unconventional process for souring and that it creates a truly engaging tasting experience. The layered acidity, mild funk, and dark fruit character all meld together, and these flavors evolve as you experience the beer.  

What is your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, mouthfeel, etc.)?
Right away, you get aromas of dark cherries with biscuit and raisin notes that come from a spectrum of toasted malts. The acidity is also really nice and balanced, making it very drinkable. It has a refreshing tartness and mild funk of Brettanomyces, while the finish is dry and tart with lingering dark fruit.

How popular is this beer among your faithful fans?
We only made one batch of this beer and it sold out almost instantly. It’s gratifying to know that people are really enjoying the beer. 


Judge's Second Opinion
by Sean Coughlin

It should come as no surprise that Cursed Kettles was one of The Beer Connoisseur's top-reviewed beers of 2017. Upland Brewing in Bloomington, IN is one of the most highly regarded breweries in the Midwest, and is responsible for some of the most coveted fruited sours in the world as well as an excellent portfolio of year-round beers ranging from Champagne Velvet (Pre-Prohibition Lager) to Dragonfly IPA.
On top of that, this beer was brewed in collaboration with Prairie Artisan Ales (Tulsa, OK), another heavy-hitting brewery that hit the ground running in 2012 with unique barrel-aged and Brettanomyces-centric beers. This beer is a perfect example of the magic that can happen when two creative breweries collaborate. The marriage of Upland's specialty (fruited sour ales) & Prairie's (Brettanomyces) resulted in a beer to remember!  
Cursed Kettles is a barrel-aged fruited sour ale that was evaluated as a Wild Specialty Beer (2015 BJCP Category 28C) from the BJCP guidelines. Dark cherry notes are complemented by toasted malt, lactic twang and a small hint of oak. The aroma is complex to the point of making you return to it between every sip to continue exploring. The beer is light brown in color with an orange hue and some haze. A tightly packed, light khaki head holds together well for a sour.
The flavor offers great complexity as well, featuring raisin and cherry with a hint of leather and rich melanoidin malt flavors, a well-balanced tartness, and a refreshingly dry finish. The oak character is minimal in flavor and lends a light tannic presence that accentuates the beer's dryness. The body is medium and carbonation is lively.  An excellent example of a Wild Specialty Beer that puts the focus on the fruit with supporting roles from complex malt and fermentation profiles without letting the barrel character get in the way. A bit more acidity would be welcome but, overall, this is an exceptionally well thought-out and brewed beer.  
When you drink a truly remarkable beer, you may be able to recall it months later as if it were in a glass directly in front of you. Cursed Kettles is a beer I will still be thinking about for years to come.  



worthel's picture
So,I'm a member, but I must pay another two bucks to read the rest of this article? Are you kidding?
Editorial Dept.'s picture
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