Beer Buzz: Upland's Champagne Velvet 

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Upland Brewing Company is celebrating its 15th anniversary by reviving Indiana's original top-selling beer, Champagne Velvet, created from the Terre Haute Brewing Company's 1901 handwritten recipe. Upland's official tapping of Champagne Velvet is April 6 in Terre Haute. To celebrate the occasion Upland will release Champagne Velvet by hauling kegs of what was billed as "the Beer with the million dollar flavor" by horse- drawn beer wagon through the streets of Terre Haute, "in much the same manner it was delivered one hundred years ago," according to Doug Dayhoff, Upland's owner.

Champagne Velvet was the flagship offering of the Terre Haute Brewing Company from the turn of the 20th century until the company's closing in the late 1950s. It was a German-inspired lager with a recipe adjusted to the ingredients readily available in the Wabash Valley in 1901.

Using Braun's notes, Upland brewers developed five different batches and hosted a series of blind tastings to determine what consumers right now will like, while staying as close as possible to the original flavor that made Champagne Velvet so popular nationwide. Those of us who participated will not know until April 6 which batch earned the most points for drinkability and veracity to Braun's notes. Statewide distribution of Champagne Velvet will follow after special events in Bloomington and Indianapolis.

"Today, only a few of the original THBC structures still stand - ancient bricks, blocks and beams where the strength and scale of the brewery is still apparent," observes Dayhoff, pausing to pay homage to Terre Haute preservationist Michael Rowe, who is credited with saving the historic remnants of the brewery, cited as "producing over 400,000 barrels of beer" in the Centennial History and Handbook of Indiana (1916).

B - double E - double R - U - N

On March 28 Beer Buzz did a Broad Ripple run, stopping at Broad Ripple Brewpub for Lying Ground Hog Amber. Its glowing color, sweetish-flowery aroma and slight peppery bite from Santiam hops and its buoyant combination of roasted barley and Carmel malts compensate for the ground hog's lost promise of an early Spring. New too is Java Stout, boldly black with a creamy, sweet, full-bodied cappuccino aroma and mouthfeel. John Treeter brewed it in homage to small local businesses working together.

A lunch meeting at Brugge Brasserie was enhanced with the ruby-black Gettin' Figgy With It, an Imperial Belgian Porter brewed with black mission figs, cardamon and mace producing luscious layers of fruity, ginger and nutmeg undertones. Rounding out at Thr3e Wise Men, Two Lucy's Blackberry Wheat immediately entices with its purple hue and roasty, chocolaty aromas from cluster hops. Allowed to warm up, it recalls warm summer days. The errant Groundhog is forgiven in light of having this range and quality of craft beer within easy walking distance of each other.

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