Pushing the Boundaries – That is Just Epic
Wednesday, 28 November 2018 15:33

The dictionary definition of Epic is:

“Noting or pertaining to a long poetic composition, usually centred upon a hero, in which a series of great achievements or events is narrated in elevated style: or

Heroic, majestic, impressively great: or

Slang: Spectacular, very impressive, awesome.”

My definition of Epic is:

“My favourite brewery in New Zealand,”

This is a big call as the country has dozens of spectacular, very impressive and awesome beer makers. However, for another article for another publication I was recently tasked with naming my three desert island beers. This is a seemingly simple question that I have asked a number of hospitality people over the years during interviews.

Only when it was turned back on me did I realise how hard the task actually was. After much agonising I proffered up the following trio:

  1. Epic Armageddon IPA
  2. Russian River Pliny the Elder IPA
  3. Epic Hop Zombie IPA

That list made it kind of obvious that I am, and always have been, a majestic fan of Epic Brewery, helmed as it is by the Impish Brewer Luke Nicholas. Heck, I was on board way back when Luke was worrying that Epic Pale Ale was “too hoppy” for the local market. [1] That was a quite while ago it should be noted.

On Friday 7 December 2018 Malthouse will be hosting the final Project Silver beer launch and tap takeover. With an estimated 25 beers on tap, this one is truly going to be Epic. The Project Silver – Operation Epic will feature the following beers:

Epic Heavy Hop IPA (6.3%) – This is a Scottish IPA brewed specially to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Malthouse.  The brewers say it is “a bit of hat tip” to the “courageous leader and our good friend Colin Mallon.”

They add that Epic “used a special Scottish Ale yeast which is believed to have come from the historic McEwen’s Brewery in Fountainbridge, Edinburgh. We have had some fun with some of the most recent releases of US hops, including Loral, Mosaic and Ekuanot (previously Equinox), a great beer to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Malthouse.“

Epic Thirteen IIIPA (15%) – Malthouse is not the only one celebrating a milestone. Epic is turning 13 and to celebrate has made a 15% Quadruple Brut IPA which they claim is the “World’s First Quadruple Brut IPA” (likely) and the “Biggest IPA Epic has ever made” (true). However, making a 15% beer for a 13th birthday seemed odd to this beer writer and the brewery agreed saying:

“How did it come out 15%? We put in so much effort to make sure the beer was high alcohol as well as a super dry brut style, we overshot the mark. As it turned out the beer is actually pretty good at 15%.”

It is also double dry hopped – because you're worth it.

Epic Lupulingus DIPA (8.8%) – I adore this beer. It debuted at the Malthouse West Coast IPA Challenge and took home a medal, it boasts being 101 IBUs (International Bitterness Units), and has 40% more hops than Epic Hop Zombie.

Shut up and take my money.

Epic Coffee & Fig Stout 2018 (8%) – The Impish Brewer has brought back the beer I swear he makes simply so I cannot say that I adore ever brew he makes. This imperial oatmeal stout has Brazilian Toffee Coffee Beans from L’Affare, there are also notes of coconut and berries.

Epic Hop Shine (5.5%) – The first beer I recall being described as a “sunny IPA”. This one has notes of mango, passionfruit and citrus.

Epic Shotgun XPA (4.8%) This is a lighter, fruity, extra pale ale which is named after yet another Def Leppard song.

Epic Animal IPA (6.2%) – A version of Epic Armageddon using an implausible amount of Simcoe hops, this delicious beer is also named after a Def Leppard song. It is a far more catchy and groovy song than Shotgun in my humble opinion. [2] In unrelated news, I will be playing it for the rest of the time it takes to write this blog.

Epic Dankomatic IPA (7.6%) - “So dank it should have alligators in it.” A tagline attributed to me but actually uttered first by my lovely partner. Not entirely sure what it means, but do know this is a sticky, resinous IPA with notes of pine, citrus and caramel.

The other beers are:

Epic Lager (5%) – Luke actually makes good lagers despite being known as a hoppy pale ale guy.

Epic Awakening Pilsner (5.2%) – Luke is also a Star Wars fan and this dry crisp pils was launched at the same time as “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”.

Epic Pale Ale (5.4%) – Classic for a reason. Tasty malt base, with just the right balance of Cascade to bang it home.

Epic Thunder APA (5.8%) – Drop the hammer. Truely a beer of the Gods.

Epic Armageddon IPA (6.66%) – If I could only ever have one beer in the world, it would be Armageddon.

Epic Hop Zombie DIPA (8.5%) – If I could only have three beers in the world, this would be one of them.

Epic NZ Pilsner (5%) - A showcase of EnZed. Riwaka hops and NZ grown Pilsner malt.

Epic DDH Dust IPA (6.5%) - A Loopy India Pale Ale. Double Dry Hopped with Citra and Simcoe lupulin powder. Hop aroma and flavour much? Oh Yes.

Epic Magic Dust IPA (6.9%) – Another Lupulin Powder packed IPA - Who knew cryogenics wasn't just for Walt Disney and Simon Cowell...

Epic GINIPA (6.9%) – Luke and the Epic team have been making gin for some time now so it seems logical to mix the two together. It is a match made in heaven – much to my surprise. GINIPA is one of my favourites.

Epic Hop Party NZIPA (6.4%) - Fresh tropical and grassy notes on the aroma point to our little country. Hints of malt sweetness and passionfruit showcase the Riwaka, Nelson Sauvin and Kohatu hops from the top 'o the South Island.

Epic Miami Rice IPA (6.5%) - Taking a leaf (or rice grain) from the brewing books of the world's biggest brewery, Miami Rice replaces a portion of the malted barley with rice - hey why not, a fermentable is a fermentable as far as yeast is concerned! The result is a light, clean and crisp body that is backed up with a big flamboyant 80's shoulder-padded expression of Citra, Simcoe and Mosaic. A fruity aroma and tropical, juicy flavour makes you feel like Sonny Crockett and Ricardo Tubbs, all rolled into one, with your linen jacket sleeves already rolled up and ready for business.

Epic Love & Affection IPA (6.5%) - Embrace your inner hippy with this IPA brewed with a giant Amethyst geode in the kettle! The Mosaic hops have been turned up to 11 in this one. Now where did I leave my air guitar?

Epic Triple Alpha IIPA (11.1%) – This one is top of my tasting list even though 111 is considered an unlucky number in cricket. It is the dreaded “Nelson”. [3]

Epic Run Riot IPA (6.7%) – Pretty sure this is another Def Leppard reference.. The 2018 entry into The Malthouse West Coast IPA Challenge, based on the hop profile of Armageddon, Run Riot introduces a new yeast strain into the Epic fold.

Epic Big Hop Double IPA (8.8%) - The big bro to Lil' Hop - Big hop is double the ABV and a ramp up of the hop flavours brought to you by Cascade, Simcoe, Amarillo and Equinox. Big. Bold. Dank.

Epic Beer Blanket Stout (6%) - Brewed especially for the 2018 edition of GABS, BB is a big comfort Stout. Hints of smoke and a creamy mouthfeel from the oats and a wee hint of rye spice. One to curl up to the heatpump to during Wellington's "Summer".

Epic Gin and Tonic (14%) – Start or end with this floral wonder piece from the taps. Epic has made a gin believer of me.

Next time we drink to Phil Hughes, an Australian cricketer who passed away four years ago after being struck on the head by a bouncer. My cricket bat still rests in the corner to honour his memory.

[1] Epic Pale Ale is a fine beer – I am drinking one right now. However, these days it is hardly scary on the hop front. It is a juicy sessionable American-style pale ale which really introduced New Zealand to the joys of US hops.

[2] I have a mullet. My opinions on Def Leppard are therefore definitive.

[3] Not to be confused with the Lord Nelson pub and hotel in Sydney which is awesome. Have a Three Sheets IPA and a pork pie. Perfect.

Cheers

Neil Miller

Beer Writer

Cuisine Magazine

TheShout Magazine

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