Epic Brewing Company, Salt Lake City, UT
Reasons Why Epic Brewing Company Rules: A Brewse Cruise Essay
- They're they proudest, most perfectly irreverent brewers of high gravity ales and lagers I've ever met.
Does Epic care that its Mormonistic (is that a word?) state strictly monitors and limits the ABV of beer sold in bars, grocery stores and even state-run liquor stores? No, Epic doesn't give a fuck. They are the first brewery since prohibition to exclusively brew beer above 4.0%. And they've been successfully handing it to the man since 2010, distributing the majority of their product out-of-state while also selling an amazing variety of cold (state-run liquor stores prohibit the sale of cold beer) bottles from their tiny brewery shop in downtown SLC.
- Their hand-crafted, inventive line is primarily sold in 22oz bottles.
Because you really ought to be serious about drinking this stuff. And you also really ought to share.
- Their brewery features a sandwich shop the size of a closet.
As soon as Utah's ATF laws changed to allow breweries to sell their own draft beer as long as food was also consumed, Epic installed a tiny sandwich shop in a narrow hallway. They list about a dozen snacks on a chalkboard and it's manned by a guy who looks eternally bored and claustrophobic. All so you can now enjoy a post-tour sample.
- They age their Brainless® on Peaches Belgian-Style Ale in imported French Chardonnay casks.
Are you impressed yet?
- Said Belgian-Style Ale is incredibly well-balanced and somehow drinkable, despite its 10.7% ABV and oak conditioning.
Yeasty, sweet fruity notes give way to a complex mixture of hay and a little sour zing at the end. I'd recommend letting it open up like wine, maybe even decanting it. It also ages well and each release it a little different (and marked by the brewery).
When I visited Epic, the tour guide was really nice and informative and gave us an in-depth behind the scenes tour of the single building brewery. Apparently, it used to be even smaller before they bought out the Thai place next door to install their warehouse. Unbelievable. By far the best brewery experience in the great Salt Lake and worth a visit. Fingers crossed for New York distribution.