Bloomington-based Upland Brewing Co. will finally open its first Hamilton County taproom this Friday.
The imaginatively named Carmel Tap Room will have a soft opening Friday with a standard grand opening the following day, said Andrea Lutz, Upland’s Director of Marketing. Doors open at 11 a.m. and will stay that way until 1 a.m. both days.
As part of the grand opening facilities Saturday, Upland is sponsoring a bike parade starting at its Broad Ripple tasting room at noon. Riders will travel eight miles up the Monon Trail/Greenway to the Carmel location at 116th Street and Guilford Road.
The new restaurant will be a smaller version of its Bloomington flagship brewpub, with a focus on locally sourced cuisine and, of course, freshly brewed craft beer. Lutz said a rotating list of 10 Upland beers will be on tap, including Union’s latest, Champagne Velvet, based on a pre-prohibition pilsner brewed more than 100 years ago by the defunct Terre Haute Brewing Co.
“The Carmel Tap House will not only give our northside clients a place to enjoy our well-crafted beer, but also the artisanal menu we have become so well known for,” Lutz said. “We intend to keep each location authentic, creating a connection with the community by engaging in local events and charities.”
The new 2,300-square-foot taproom seats 80, but don’t bother calling ahead for reservations – they aren’t accepted. But if you can’t find a seat at the bar, you may be able to find a spot in the outdoor seating area. A menu and entertainment calendar should be online at www.UplandBeer.com in the days before the opening.
Lutz joked the atmosphere was designed to be exceptionally cozy, encouraging patrons to linger over pitchers of beer instead of pints.
Carmel resident and beer aficionado Fred Iverson worried Upland’s new taproom was a little too far from the Arts & Design District and other, seemingly more popular areas of Carmel, but was confident it would be a success with bikers and walkers based on its proximity to the Monon.
Upland is the second craft brewer to open its doors in Carmel in recent months. Union Brewing Co. in the nearby Mohawk Plaza opened to local acclaim late last year.
The craft beer world is surprisingly friendly and open; Union co-owner and chief brewer Cameron Fila downplayed any suggestion of a potential rivalry when interviewed earlier this year.
“The more variety people have, the better it is for us,” Fila said. “If they bring more recognition to craft beer in Carmel, it can’t help but be beneficial to us. You want everyone to do well; it’s definitely not a cutthroat business.”