Monday, November 11, 2013
November 11th, 2013 - Another "Epic" Interview With (Quite Literally) An Epic Brewer
Epic Brewing Company opened their doors only a few years ago in Salt Lake City, Utah with six fermentation tanks designed specifically for full-strength, small batch, artisanal brews. Within only a few months of opening, Epic began winning medals throughout the country and even internationally. Now, in 2013, Epic has opened a second brewery in Denver, Colorado and "gastro-pub," the Annex in the Sugarhouse neighborhood of Salt Lake City. They brew 36 wonderful beers... with 31 currently in their cold case for sale. (They're kinda like the Baskin Robbins of high-quality, artisan brew!)
I recently sat down with Matthew Allred, Communications Director for Epic Brewing Company and talked with him about their recent expansion and their focus on creating "epic" beers!
B&T: Can you tell me a little bit about how the evolution of Epic happened in terms of going to Denver and opening the Annex?
MA: Let's start with Denver. So basically this [Salt Lake location] brewery was designed to be a small batch, local only type of brewery, and we were basically overwhelmed by the demand. The last 3 years we've been expanding our fermentation space. We built the warehouse at the end of the building over here. And as far as this building goes, we are at capacity. We've opened out-of-state markets and even international markets. You can get our beers in Brazil and Japan. I think a little bit in Germany. And we are also in 14 states. It was clear that it made more sense to open a second brewery than move to a larger facility.
B&T: Why Denver?
MA: Colorado is a really beer-friendly state and Denver is an especially beer-friendly city... not only for legal and tax reasons, but the people their really enjoy craft beer. And what's nice about craft beer drinkers is the more variety the better. So having another brewery come in who has 40 different brands is something they really get excited about. There's also talk about Southern California as a possibility in the future.
B&T: So the Annex?
MA: When Dave and Peter wanted to open this brewery they wanted to open in Sugarhouse, but the way the zoning is written in Sugarhouse is that it has to be a brew pub and they wanted to do a different model, a true brewery. So as development continued in Sugarhouse they were approached by one of the building owners about putting in a brew pub. This was their chance to get into Sugarhouse and do something that was done in Utah and do it in an "epic" way. The idea is that we will have a 7-barrel brew house, which is 30% smaller than the brew house in here. And the beer that they are going to produce in there is going to be all draft, 3.2 beer, but the idea is to do something exciting with it and have interesting table beers that pair with the menu, a lot of seasonal beers, and even one-offs so there's always a new variety.
B&T: So tell me about your variety.
MA: We will do releases of a brand of beer with a different hop schedule or trip the grain bills a little bit. Hopuluent Lemondrop really shows off that hop [Lemondrop], which is a nice change up.
B&T: One thing I love about your marketing, your website is the fact that you have your release dates, your release numbers, with all the ingredients and all the different nuances between those releases, which you cannot see with other breweries.
MA: Yeah, that transparency is really important and we've continued to do with Denver so now you can see on our bottles whether it comes from Salt Lake City or Denver. That's on our website as well.
B&T: What new brews do you have in the works?
MA: We are planning on releasing our Elder Brett in December as usual, but along with that this year we have a very limited release of what we are calling Old Sage Brett. This is our Utah Sage Saison that is aged in oak barrels with Brettanomyces. So this will be a really dry and nuanced beer that has a lot of sage spiciness to it, but also the Brettanomyce so it will have some light hay and barnyard funk to it as well.
B&T: It will be out in December?
MA: That will be out right after the Elder Brett.
B&T: I look forward to that!
MA: If you see it, you've got to come and get it... it will go quickly.
B&T: As you know, I pair craft beer with music. What do you like to drink when you get home and what tunes do you like with that beer?
MA: Right now I'm drinking a lot of our Double Skull Dopplebock Lager, the Smoked Porter, and the Smoked and Oaked. The Dopplebock is a real nurturing, fortifying beer that is sweet and big... good for the cold. I like a lot of jazz and think John Coltrane would really fit these beers. I think their are different beers for different moments as well.. not just for music.
Epic Brewing Company is one of my favorite breweries. They are innovative, daring, and professional, and always with their customers' taste in mind. Learn more about both Epic breweries at http://www.epicbrewing.com/the-beers and learn more about their gastro-pub, the Annex at http://theannexbyepicbrewing.com/!! And if you happen to stop in at one of their 3 locations, tell 'em Brews and Tunes sent ya!