champagnevelvet

First off, goddamn that’s a fine logo:

CV-small-image-1024x855

Champagne Velvet used to be Indiana’s Grain Belt, an independently brewed American adjunct that dominated its region for ages. It was huge, a genuine cultural touchstone. You can’t go into an antique store in this state without coming across some CV schwagg.

But apparently CV went the way of so many other regionals: in the 70s it got sold to Heilman and was reformulated. Then it entered into a terror-maze mindfuck of untraceable brewery consolidation, where it was eventually made by Pabst (who still own like 500 brands which are now all the exact same shit beer served in different cool-looking cans). The brand was then discontinued in the 80s, nominally brought back by a Terre Haute businessman in the early aughts, discontinued again, and then bought by Upland.

Upland went to fucking work. Like, good lord, they went to work. Indiana should give them some kind of award for preserving the state’s cultural heritage. Whatever award they give to Larry Bird for making the Pacers decent, they should also give to Upland. They did the Gusto Schlitz thing where they tracked down the beer’s original recipe, before the de-hoppification macro trend took place, and then tried their best to replicate it.

Of course, I got no fucking idea what this beer used to taste like. And I do know that the back of contemporary CV has the same yeast finish as all of Upland’s other non-sour beers. They also mention that the original CV recipe called for the use of flaked corn as an adjunct, and they mention it as if it’s some goofy bit of impossible-to-replicate trivia, like the beer used to contain radium or some shit.

So the recipe is different. But it’s really, really good. You almost think that Upland is using just using CV as a marketing gimmick, or as an excuse to make an excellently brewed adjunct that plays to their strengths without inciting the ire of illiterate hopheads.

It’s pale and medium hopped for the style, with a grain profile that is out of sight delicious. The grain burst is reminiscent of the way your kitchen smells when you’re doing a homebrew, bready like a storybook, and sweet and wholesome as an aged, sepia-toned photograph of a bakery. Ends with nodes of grain and lightly spicy yeast.

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