Uppers and Downers–an annual celebration of coffee, beer, and most importantly, the pairing of the two–is back for its third year. A collaboration between Good Beer Hunting and 2008 World Barista Champion Stephen Morrissey, Uppers and Downers returns to Chicago’s Thalia Hall on Saturday, February 25th for another exploration of the weird and wonderful intersection of two of Amerca’s favorite beverages.
More than just your typical coffee stouts and porters (though they are there too), Uppers and Downers showcases more experimental coffee beer combinations, many that can only be quaffed at the festival. Last year’s roster included: Vaya con Dios, a cascara Berliner Weisse from 5 Rabbit Cerveceria using Gaslight Coffee Roasters; Melo Angst, a Belgian-style strong ale from Brewery Vivant using Madcap’s El Cairo Colombia; and Wild X w/ Coffee, Penrose Brewing’s bourbon barrel ages sour red with an Ethiopia Harrar from Freshground Coffee.
The festival is split into two sessions, 11:00-2:00pm and 3:00-6:00pm. Both sessions include 20+ experimental coffee beers, a Stumptown cold brew and bee collaborations bar, Teeling Whiskey coffee cocktails, a few noshes from local eateries, and of course La Marzocco Home’s multi-roaster espresso bar. Last year’s espresso bar included the likes of Intelligentsia Coffee, Madcap Coffee, Goshen Coffee, Sump Coffee, Blueprint Coffee, Ipsento, Counter Culture Coffee, Ruby Coffee Roasters, Gaslight Coffee Roasters, Kickapoo Coffee, and Metropolis Coffee.
The only difference between the two sessions comes via the Case Studies, multi-beer deep dives into a brewery and roaster’s collaborative efforts. This year’s two Case Studies feature Whiner Beer Co. with Four Letter Word Coffee and Solemn Oath Brewery with Intelligentsia Coffee, respectively.
And if you’re still thirsty for me, Good Beer Hunting is partnering with your favorite coffee website Sprudge to bring back the Hangover Party on Sunday, February 26th from 10:00-12:00pm. This “informal nerdery” will feature a live podcast taping with Sprudge co-founder Jordan Michelman, an audience Q and A, coffee (of course), and a bottle share from the brewers’ stashes.
Zac Cadwalader is the news editor at Sprudge Media Network.