Upslope Brewing Manhattan-Style Ale Review

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Upslope Brewing Manhattan-Style Ale Review

There are two kinds of people in this world: 1) People who love the Manhattan, and 2) People who haven’t had enough Manhattans to realize they love that cocktail yet. Consider the dudes at Upslope Brewing to be planted firmly in the former category. They’re such big fans, they’ve whipped up a barrel-aged ale to pay homage to this classic cocktail. The Manhattan combines rye, bitters and sweet vermouth; You can check out Happy Hour History if you want all the details. In the meantime, let me tell you about this sweet, sweet beer.

The Manhattan-Style Ale is actually the second classic cocktail-inspired beer that we’ve reviewed recently, but don’t let the name fool you—the Manhattan-Style Ale is a very well designed barrel-aged beer first, and cocktail homage second. Make that a distant second. Upslope uses caramel rye malt, ale yeast and German hops for the base beer (and Upslope’s signature snowmelt), then ages the beer in first-use Leopold Brothers rye barrels. The result is intoxicating on a variety of different levels.

You can smell the whiskey from a mile away, and it plays a strong role in the taste, as well. This beer is malty as hell, with heavy hits of caramel and vanilla and just a sliver of cherry. It’s sweet, no doubt about it, but the whiskey barrel is there for a bit of balance, bringing in a wave of rye spice and tinge of acidic wood from the barrel. The beer has a thick, slick mouthfeel and produces an incredible lacing effect on the glass. I like to look for the shapes of states in the lace on the glass after I finish the beer. But that’s probably the 10.4% ABV talking.

Did I mention this beer is boozy? Because it is. Boozy. You’ve been warned.

Manhattan-Style Ale is part of Upslope’s experimental Lee Hill series of beers, released in big, skinny cans. Consider this experiment a success.

Brewery: Upslope Brewing Company
City: Boulder, Colorado
Style: Barrel-aged ale
ABV: 10.4%
Availability: Limited