Friday, December 15, 2017

Swans pays delicious tribute to beer legend Thomas Uphill with new amber ale

October 30, 2017 by Patrick Newman, contributing writer

Thomas Uphill is a legend.

The fact that we can enjoy delicious craft brew at home and in establishments all over BC today is due in large part to Uphill’s tenacity in changing government policy.

Remembered by some but unknown to many, Uphill was an MLA representing the district of Fernie from 1920 to 1960. Aside from being the longest-serving MLA in BC history, he was heavily involved in the battle against prohibition. Uphill wanted the working people of BC to be able to enjoy a beer after a long day’s work.

Swans unveiled their new Thomas Uphill Amber Ale on October 26 (photo by Patrick Newman/Nexus).

“Beer is as necessary to the worker as milk to the baby,” he, famously, shouted in legislature one day while brandishing a bottle of brew. “Hands off the workers’ beer!”

His story is the inspiration behind Swans’ latest offering, Thomas Uphill Amber Ale, which launched at the historic Swans building on Thursday, October 26. Brewmaster Chris Lukie and members of the Uphill family attended the launch to tell stories of their ancestor’s fight to bring beer to the people of BC, while beer enthusiasts, MLAs, and members of the public sampled the new brew.

The beer is a lovely deep amber with a thin but creamy head. It has a strong toffee smell; imagine a Skor bar without the chocolate. This is a well-balanced ale—smooth, lightly carbonated, malty, and just bitter enough to make you need another sip. It has an incredible velvety mouthfeel and a hint of copper on the backend. It’s a very English-style beer but it feels right at home with Swans’ various offerings.

In short, this is a perfect fall brew.

Lukie told the crowd that beer should complement a moment. A good brew pairs well not just with food but with good company. It should be a spark for memories of good times with family and friends.

I think Swans’ warm and welcoming environment, their new Thomas Uphill Amber Ale, and the people in attendance made the night memorable.

I also think Uphill, champion of the people and of their beer, would have approved.

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