Just got back from another road trip to Seattle and Portland with many tasting notes, photographs, swag and take-home beer to show for my efforts.
The first part of my trip required a stop-over in Seattle so I planned to visit Two Beers Brewing Co. and Epic Ales BUT sadly Friday afternoon I-5 traffic had other plans so I was only able to fit in one brew pub this time round : (
Usually I want to visit the breweries of beer I love, to see where magic happens, to sample the menus and to catch a glimpse of the person behind the bottle. At the same time I also have a strange predilection to visit the breweries of beer I did not like so much so I can push myself out of my comfort zone and give a brewer ample chance to win my heart.
This was the case with me and Epic Ales.
On paper, this brewery and I should have got on like a house on fire, quirky labels, odd-ball flavours, small batches (all the beer geek qualities I hold most dear); however, the first (and only) beer I tried did not show me much love –granted spearmint is not everyone’s first choice in a brew- so I was very hesitant to try another.
Despite this, Friday afternoon finds me, and my iphone, trying to figure out why the Google pin is pointing to a building with literally no signs depicting anything even remotely beer related. Walking up to the front door I see a piece of white paper telling me to head around the back of the building. My beer buddy opines that this may be an innovative mugging set-up but we go around back anyway – would they really want our Canadian money? Staring at the back of the building does not help a great deal. Two large barn doors are open a few inches so I go peer inside. Luckily I see a guy with a glass so I figure I am at the right place.
In what may be the most unassuming brewery I have ever been to -picture a freezer, some giant kettles and 10 square feet- I got to meet Epic Ales brewer Cody Morris and sample three eclectic beers Simple Ale, Beet Down Lambic and Bog a sour Brown Ale brewed with shitake mushrooms.
The Simple Ale is pretty much what its name suggests straight-up ale erring on the hoppy side but not remarkable. The beet down is an interesting brew with a beautiful pink colour, and a bit of sweetness and a bit of tartness flavour wise. It was on the warm side, which did not really do much for the overall taste. The Bog was my favourite bringing a funky barnyard element to a full-bodied sour brown; reminded me of a flemish ale. Overall I wish all the samples were served at a cooler temperature since that coolness seems to bring forth a sharpness or crispness to lambic style beers.
While me and a handful of other beer nerds stand-around an old sink and a couple of stools, Cody explains that Epic Ales is moving into the sour beer niche focusing on barrel-aging and lambics, which seems like a great direction to take. I also learn that this current space is just a temporary stop-gap locale until renovations at the front end of the building are complete and the tasting room can re-open. This relocation is most definitely good for business but in the meantime the quirky space kinda suits this quirky brewery.