by BtownMenus on November 2, 2010
I had tried to go to Upland two times before, but this Bloomington hot-spot tends to have a wait upwards of an hour during common meal times. I waited a little bit less than that in order to evaluate the hype. While Upland’s wait time can be subsidized by a beer or two at the bar, it is unfortunate they don’t take reservations. After being seated, I asked the waitress to wipe down the table a bit more since it still had some crumbs on it. She did so with pleasure and was very helpful in aiding us order. A recent graduate of the under 21 club, I was overwhelmed by the vast choice of beer selection. Four of the six at my table, including me, were led by our indecisiveness to order the beer sampler, fairly priced at $7.95. I had never had a beer sampler before, but was all smiles when it came: seven small (5 oz.) glasses individually labeled underneath the small circles around the edge of a large plate. In total, the seven glasses on the sampler are equivalent to approximately three cans of beer. Our waitress advised us to drink the lighter beers first. With eyes open wide, I began to drink one glass at a time. As you can tell based on my forgetfulness to take the picture until I was already four glasses deep and halfway through my meal, the beer sampler was an incredible experience. It’s the perfect amount of alcohol to complement the rest of your meal without getting you too tipsy or leaving you unable to drive home. Rather than give you my opinion on each of the seven beers, which differ depending on what’s on tap, I urge you to head to Upland and try the beer sampler yourself! I will say that my favorite was the standard Wheat Ale, which can be picked up at most local liquor stores.
While I was still downing the second glass of beer, I saw the loaded baked potato soup delivered to two of my friends. Originally I didn’t feel hungry enough for an appetizer to go along with the cheeseburger I ordered. I asked one of them if the soup was as good as it looked. A quick taste test compelled a “yes” response. Since I’m such a lightweight, I made a split decision to order the soup as well. The waitress brought it out within minutes. It was phenomenal. In fact, since being a freshman three long years ago, I would venture to say this is the best soup I’ve had in town. Some of my friends ordered sushi? I put a question mark because I am still trying to figure out what they were thinking ordering sushi at a brewery. #BadMove. I did not try it, but they didn’t seem to be fans of it. I don’t hold Upland responsible for their sushi because I am sure nobody could be as dumb as my friends to order it at their brewery, or any other for that matter.
As I was finishing the soup, the Elmers BBQ “beef” Burger topped with cheddar cheese and bacon came out along with the rest of my friends’ meals. Upland has an alternative “buffalo” option to its burgers as well. The bacon was not as well done as I had asked for it to be, but the beef was a bright and perfect juicy pink, just as I had requested. I was upset with myself for ordering fries after seeing my friend’s mashed potatoes, but the fries were crispy and delicious. Despite being a reasonably healthy eater, I be satisfying my fry craving again on my next visit to the Brewery! I asked the waitress if she could bring out some grilled onions and BBQ sauce, before realizing it was already on my burger. She delivered both quickly and even took the $.50 extra BBQ sauce charge off my bill after I told her I wouldn’t have ordered it had I realized it was on my burger in the first place!
After devouring my burger, I had to face the rest of the sampler. At this point, I was down to the the darker beers, which are definitely harder to take down. My masculinity kicked in to help me finish. With glasses empty, I felt pretty full and satisfied. There were smiles all around as everyone in my party seemed to enjoy their food. I asked who suggested we go to Upland tonight and thanked the single hand-raiser. Despite feeling far apart from the other end of the six person table because of the loud atmosphere, I felt brought together by the food and the overall experience. I even made friends with the table of two next to me who were celebrating their two year anniversary while racing me 2 on 1 to finish their sampler–they won by a slim margin! I told you. I’m a light-weight.
Other than upholding a policy refraining from combining two tables that were directly next to each other so we could be seated prior to those who came after us, Upland Brewery was extremely hospitable. Our checks were split six ways–once again, willingly. The checks were slightly pricier than we expected considering we paid individually. Upland Brewery is not the cheapest option in Bloomington, but my $23 and time was well-worth the the most complete and satisfying all-around meal I had in awhile. This is the perfect group or family restaurant destination in Bloomington. Even for those too young to enjoy a beer, the food is incredible–light-years beyond the local bars and many of the other restaurants in Bloomington. Based on the experience of the couple next to me, I would even say Upland is great date spot: Ladies, this is the perfect place to take your man to show him you can “man up”. Guys, if you wanna see if your girl is up for the challenge of a beer or two, this is the perfect place to take her. Upland Brewery is a front-runner for best restaurant experiences in Bloomington.
350 West 11th Street
Cost Friendly? You can get fed anywhere from $10-$25 depending on if you want alcohol and/or food