It turns out that plums are not merely the lesser-coveted gem of summertime produce stands, but also an adept secret ingredient in delicious beer. Leave it to the sour savants at Indiana’s Upland Brewing Company—makers of sought-after beers leveraging everything from persimmons to guava—to make the case for putting more plums in things with Prim, a barrel-aged fruited sour ale blended with plum and cardamom.
Appearance and Aroma
In a pint glass, Prim looks like hazy grapefruit juice—not very translucent with a deep ruby red coloring. A thick foam head lets you know you didn’t accidentally snag fruit juice out of the fridge. Upland’s reputation as an unparalleled sour producer comes through even via scent: that deep plum flavor is detectable from the first whiff and you can’t mistake the smell of the sweet and sour elements.
Upland’s sours have become something of a legend among rare beer-seekers.”
Given its subtle nature, plum may not seem like the most natural flavor for a brewer to experiment with, but something about the combination of sweet fruit and sour ale really works. Initial sips deliver more plum sweetness than bitter sourness, and a spice-driven aftertaste adds to the more mellow nature of this beer (the cardamon notes at the end remind me of a spicier snickerdoodle). Prim’s a sour that builds slowly over time. You likely won’t smack your lips on your first glass, though it’s a possibility on the inevitable second.
Upland’s sours have become something of a legend among rare beer-seekers. The brewery now holds a lottery yearly for the right to buy whatever odd creation it’s rolling out. Of the ones I’ve tasted, Prim remains a favorite. Maybe it’s the time in wine barrels deepening its already dark fruit core. Or maybe it’s the addition of cardamom triggering some memories of grandma’s baked goods. Wherever the secret, Prim drinks like the most proper of sours.