Welcome back craft beer advocates and aspirants. I thought it would be fun to step a bit out of my comfort zone this week and try something truly unique and new. There is such a variety of beer available, that I sometimes have to try something crazy. Epic Ales, located in Seattle, just north of the Industrial District, and just east of Harbor Island. Epic is a small, eclectic, and eccentric little spot. Specializing in small batch, and limited one-off beers, you never truly know what to expect, just know that it will be made well, and it will be a truly unique experience. Just how small you ask? The Brew house resides in a mere 180 square feet, which INCLUDES the tap room. Also, the largest batch they will ever brew, is limited to one barrel, that is just 31 gallons, or two half-barrel kegs, or 156 750ml bottles, assuming a 100% yield. When we say tiny, small, miniscule, we mean it, and Epic Ales embraces it. Every step of the process is done by hand, that includes the brewing, bottling, and labeling. Just awesome.
To really drive this point home, take it from head brewer Cody Morris who, “was immediately spellbound by the limitless possibilities that beer could be. He spent over two years working at a homebrew shop, learning, practicing and obsessing over the magic of brewing. While he was perfecting his craft, Cody became somewhat of a foodie, and currently works with specialty foods, always thinking of new flavor combinations to brew up.” This foodie aspect is important to note, Epic has released beers featuring many savory ingredients, like Miso Paste, and this one, which features beets, yes beets. Will this be a savory sour conundrum? Let’s find out.
Brewery: Epic Ales — Seattle, WA (Not to be confused with Epic Brewing — Salt Lake City, UT and Denver, CO)
Beer: Beet Down — Sour Ale With Beets Added and Aged in Wine Barrels
ABV / IBU — 5.0% / ???
Cost: $12.99 / 750ml
Appearance – (4.5/5) Just starting with the bottle, this looks great, there is a fluorescent red label that adorns the red wax capped bottle. As it pours, it is a bright red color into the glass, there is a white head that tries to form, but it fades and leaves no lace.
Aroma – (3.5/5) Smells of sour lactobacillus and is quite tart up front, not much else is detectable on the nose, though it is a little bit vegetal and herbaceous. Lots of pickling spices and character here, quite a bit of vinegar and spice, while still being earthy and fresh.
Taste – (3.0/5) Taste is nice and sour to begin with, but as it warms and towards the finish it really gets super vegetal and earthy. Lots of pickled vegetable notes here, beets come to the front and it’s almost a bit dirty, it tastes like dirt smells, which is OK, it is a beet beer after all.
Mouthfeel – (4.0/5) Light-Medium bodied, lingering and earthy finish, high carbonation.
Overall – (3.0/5) Good overall, a really earthy and vegetal beer with some sour tones. Quite a conundrum and truly unique.
Food Pairings – Vegetable kebobs, stuffed bell peppers, cous cous, something fresh and earthy.