I have to stand up and applaud microbreweries that really want you to enjoy your beer. Upstream Brewery in Omaha, NE has twelve taps behind the bar and their "Taster's Row" includes all 12 beers for $11.95 in convenient 2.3 ounce taster shot glasses. Most flights give you 5-8 beers of the best stuff, but Upstream has no problem throwing all 12 your way even if they are horrible beers. Granted the brewers of Upstream probably enjoy every beer they make.
Without further ado, from left to right in a clockwise fashion:
O! Gold Light - American style light lager with balls. Bold, smooth taste but surprisingly less alcohol than Miller Lite at 3.8%.
Honey Raspberry Ale - Ever have berry flavored vitamin water? I bet it tests better than this sorry excuse for a beer. Find Leinenkuegel's Berry Weiss and enjoy it more.
GramGram's Munich Helles - Upstream's seasonal lager is watered down and doesn't even pack the same umph as the light.
American Wheat - Upstream's seasonal wheat is watered down fruity wheat beer. The lighter beers were so effortless to drink I just tilted back the shooter and took down the rest of the beer with one gulp. Probably shouldn't judge these beers on the samples but if you aren't willing to order a pint after a taste, why bother?
Capitol Premium Pale Ale - Hoppy. This is a pale ale but Upstream classifies it as an amber beer. The amber hue is in the beer and the hops are really intense. Even my traveling companion found it to be unbelievably hop intensive.
Firehouse Red - Finally! A sample that was worth drinking. Not as deep a red as some other ambers and with a good hop balance, this red lends a smooth taste with a nice carmel undertone.
Flagship India Pale Ale - Hell Yeah! Upstream is not lying when they dole out this IPA. The hops are overwhelming. If you let this beer linger on your tastebuds for longer than a heartbeat you will get the Keystone Bitter Beer face. Of course, that's the real intent, right? Knowing my disdain for IPAs you will be surprised to find that the finish on this brew is much smoother than the hop content would suggest. Since this is Upstream's flagship brew, we bought a growler and I will provide a full breakdown later in the week.
Dundee Scotch Ale - Roasted malty goodness. This is the first dark beer in the sampling group and Upstream should stick to this spectrum because the darker beers were so much better than the lighter ones. This was the fan favorite.
Justa' Porter - By far the lightest porter I ever encountered. This beer was more crimson than the Firehouse Red. Coffee undertones and a smooth finish made this brew delicious.
LeeRoy Jenkins Imperial India Brown Ale - WOW. No, I don't wow the beer, but if you don't get the reference please Google. The hop content was so intensely aromatic but the brown ale tempers the bitterness. In the end, I didn't know whether the beer was bitter or smooth.
Giandwa Imperial Rye Brown Ale - This beer I will "wow." It was good. Great finish, nice dark color and aroma, my style of brew.
Cask Conditioned Ale - Darkest hop beer I ever had. Out of the 12 beer taster row, I had one beer too many and should have stopped with number 11.
If you find yourself in Omaha, venture downtown and stop by the Upstream brewpub and try yourself some beer. The seasonal selection obviously varies and the brewery standards are worth drinking. The pints went for $4.50 and the growler was $12 so the value is there. You can also get a taster of any beer for $1 so you don't have to blow money on a beer you won't like.