Epic Brewing: Elder Brett, How to Get a Wino to Love Beer

Elder Brett 570x446Wow!  There are benefits to owning a beer store, and one that I found last Friday was that beer Reps from the various breweries will just show up with beer and want to drink it with you.  That is exactly what happened last Friday when Eric from Epic brewing showed up and wanted to discuss his brewery with me.  So we discussed a little about the brewery, and some about the store I’m opening, then he asked if I wanted to try some samples.  My response “Of course!”

We tried about 8 different beers, and he left me with one, their Spiral Jetty IPA which I haven’t tried yet, but it is soon on my list.  I’m told it is an English style IPA at about 6.6% ABV.  Looking forward to that easy drinker.  We tried a lot of good solid beers, but there were a couple that stood out. First was their Brainless on Raspberries.  That is their Belgian ale that was fermented with Raspberries as an adjunct.  It was good, but their Brainless on Peaches that is Barrel aged is stellar so it was very good, but not my favorite of their Brainless beers.

No the one that stood head and shoulders above the rest was their Elder Brett.  This is a Saison golden ale that is brewed with Brettanomyces and then aged in wine barrels.  This was a beautiful beer.  Delicate and refreshing with a dry, oaky finish that was very reminiscent of a high end Chardonnay,  but so much better, because it was beer and still retained that hop presence and sweet malt backbone.  This is THE BEER to choose when trying to convince a wino that beer is worth a second look.

Its character is a very delicate mix of beer and wine.  I’ve had some that are pretty ham handed, but this one is very well done.  It starts sweet and very refreshing, with good carbonation, you know the tickle your nose kind of carbonation.  Flavor was grapey and citrusy with a nice sparkle and a really nice dry and oaky finish.  I loved this beer, and I think it is one that would make any white wine drinker sit up and take notice to the possibilities that are available in the beer universe.

It also has a very nice surprise, it is 9.8% ABV, it really packs a whollup. And it is perfectly disguised, I had no idea I was drinking something that could be considered “Imperial” based on ABV.  I would have guessed around 5%ABV based on flavor.  If you find this gem pick it up and enjoy some warm summer evening, or better yet pair it with a white fish or chicken dish.  You won’t be disappointed.

-Don

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9 Comments on “Epic Brewing: Elder Brett, How to Get a Wino to Love Beer”

  1. April 4, 2013 at 4:16 pm #

    How does it stack up against Noble Rot or the Duchesse, Don?

    • Don
      April 4, 2013 at 4:31 pm #

      Well it isn’t a sour Wayne, so there is really no comparison to the Duchesse. I’ve never had the Noble Rot, so it would be difficult to say, but I liked it a lot. I love it when brewers really push the edge, and they certainly have done that with this brew.

      • April 5, 2013 at 8:43 am #

        DFH used Botrytis cinerea to make Noble Rot. Some folks raved about it, some, like Jim, liked it. I hated it–tasted like they’d been soaking the malt in an acidic mushroom broth to me. Since Duchesse is the closest I’ve tasted to a wine (champagne actually), I thought it might be in that ball park. Guess I’ll have to taste it for myself.

  2. April 4, 2013 at 4:27 pm #

    I’m a big fan of Epic’s beers and I’m really excited for their new production facility in Denver. Elder Brett was a collaboration with Crooked Stave’s Chad Yakobson, who is widely regarded as a Brettanomyces expert. Hopefully some of his excellent beer makes its way up to your shop when Crooked Stave gets its own brewery later this year (right now the base beer is contract brewed at Prost Brewing).

    • Don
      April 4, 2013 at 4:33 pm #

      The ting I liked about this beer was that they used Brett in a very controlled way. I remember a couple years ago when Brett was all the rage and there was a lot of slop out there. This was masterful.

    • April 4, 2013 at 5:12 pm #

      I’m looking forward to Epic coming here also. I had their Imperial IPA and was very impressed! We’re going to have an embarrassment of riches after all of the new breweries open and Crazy Mountain moves production to Denver, not to mention, like you said, Crooked Stave.

      • Don
        April 4, 2013 at 5:20 pm #

        Will, part of the tasting was their Hopulant IPA, which was ok. I’ve had better, and I’ve certainly had worse. I hope to try their Imperial IPA soon. That was a Bronze Medal winner at GABF in 2011. They seem like a pretty solid brewery, and have a huge spectrum of beers they offer.

  3. April 4, 2013 at 7:06 pm #

    This beer is great! I love the exponential series from Epic.

    • Don
      April 5, 2013 at 11:09 am #

      Yeah, and I love the play on the Mormon cyclist on the label and the name. Those of us in the intermountain west can really appreciate the humor.

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