Upham Brewery may have found one of the Holy Grail’s of brewing — a beer that can combine the depth of flavour of an ale with the freshness of a lager.
Hampshire-based Upham set out in 2017 to come up with a beer recipe that challenged the status quo and brought something new to an already crowded craft beer market.
Over the course of six months, head brewer, Rob Dupre, experimented with various ingredients and techniques to bring to life his vision of a beer that merged the flavour and depth of body of cask ale with the low carbonation and chilled temperature of lager.
The result is UB5, a beer made using five malts and five hops, with an ABV of 5%, which has been matured for five weeks.
Beer sommelier Annabel Smith, who was commissioned to produce an independent report on UB5, has praised it as “a well thought out, appetising beer” that combines the best characteristics of ale and lager.
She said: “UB5 takes the invigorating tongue-tingling freshness of lager, united with the seams of flavour supplied by an ale. It keeps the cherished cold temperature which lager-heads demand, but allows the ebullient ale yeast and hops to rise through the chill.
“In the increasingly complicated world of beer we don’t need another style description confusing and alienating drinkers. We just need a good beer. Who cares if UB5 is a lager or an ale?”
Chris Phillips, chief executive of the Upham Group, said: “We have been thrilled by UB5’s reception. Many of our pubs have commented on how they have seen a number of real ale, lager and cider drinkers switch to UB5, which is fantastic to hear.
“It is rare that a beer appeals to such a cross-section of people and this is exactly what we were aiming for. My thanks go to our head brewer, Rob, for his tireless efforts to produce something truly unique. As Annabel says, it really is a combination of art and science.”
UB5 is now stocked on draught in 21 pubs across Berkshire, Devon, Dorset, Hampshire, Surrey, West Sussex and Wiltshire. It is stocked in around 20 of Co-op’s southern stores, and will be on the shelves in selected Tesco stores from April onwards.
Despite being in its infancy, UB5 is also one of only ten craft beers selected by Ei Group (formerly Enterprise Inns) for a national listing trial.