If you want enjoy some Upper Hand Beer, you will have to travel to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (U.P.) to do it.
Upper Hand Brewery, a division of Bell’s Beer, opened on Nov. 10 last year in Escanaba, which is about 140 miles west of the Mackinac Bridge. The bridge connects the upper and lower peninsulas of the state, and owner Larry Bell says he has no plans of selling Upper Hand beer south of the bridge.
Larry told Marquette ABC channel 10’s Mark Terpstra, “This brewery is being built to celebrate the U.P. We’re not going to sell the beer in the Lower Peninsula, so those folks from down below that want to have this good beer are going to have to come up here to get it.”
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The opening of this brewery fulfills a lifelong dream for Larry to open a brewery in the U.P.
To this point, Upper Hand has focused on its three flagship beers: Upper Hand Lager (5 percent ABV), UPA (Upper Peninsula Ale, pale ale, 5.5 percent ABV), and Escanaba Black Beer (4.5 percent ABV).
Two new beers have recently joined Upper Hand’s portfolio, and for now will be available on draft only. UPX (7.5 percent ABV) is a distinctly hopped strong pale ale – a hoppier version of UPA that was developed to focus on an explosive hop profile with a headier backbone.
This new beer is similar to an India Pale Ale in aroma and flavor, but with lower bitterness.
Brewed with ingredients grown in the Upper Peninsula (hops and oats), Yooper Ale (4 percent ABV) is actually a northern adaptation of a beer originally brewed at Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo.
This new version was developed with a mindset to promote sessionability. Yooper is low in bitterness, has excellent balance and is brewed with the softest, juiciest of hops. A light, bright, toasted oat ale, Yooper has a silky texture and a full body. A judicious dry-hop addition gives it bright, punchy and fresh citrus aromatics.
“We have had tremendous success with our three core brands since we launched last fall and those will continue to be our focus,” said Larry Bell. “But we will always experiment and look for ways to expand our portfolio in order to bring our fans new and unique beers that will only be available here in the U.P.”