22 May 2008

Epic vs Transformers

Found this blog post today from Fiction Engine

My latest discovery is Epic Lager, brewed by the Epic Brewing Company in Auckland, NZ. This is a beautiful lager with the aroma of freshly cut grass and a full bodied hop-fuelled flavour that really lasts the distance right across the tongue. As far as lager that I’ve tried goes, it’s a stunner. My only criticism is that, for those of you who are sensitive to these things (like me), the Epic Lager may bring on a touch of the sniffles. Still, it’s well worth it. I’ve also tried the Epic Pale Ale, and it’s a damn fine one as well.

Full Post [with cool Epic and Transformers PHOTO]


Epic Discovery by Lauraine Jacobs, editor Cuisine Magazine

I realized the other day at the Wellington Food Show that I hadn't told the story about doing a beer tasting in Business Class on my flight to San Francisco, NZ8, 10th April 2008.

It starts out that a friend of mine, we'll call him Dave (cause that's his name), he's a pilot at Air New Zealand. He found out I was going to the US with a few other Kiwi beer guys (guys as in brewers, beer writer, and malt supplier), and said I should do a tasting on the flight. Well long story short, he made it happen after talking to several people over several months.

It was arranged that we would have Epic Pale Ale and Mac's Great White on the flight as Colin Paige, Mac's Head Brewer was coming with us (he didn't end up coming because he had to have back surgery, he's now OK).

On the day of the flight I was to check in and meet with head of catering(?) to be introduced to the cabin crew at 6.15pm, (Dave was going to be the pilot of the flight be got scheduled to fly the following night). When I got to the meeting point I was told the bad news, " the beer went on last nights flight by mistake":-( So in a last ditch effort to it happen we tried to get more beer to the airport. I rang the closest outlet to the airport but they only had three six packs left. Time was running out.

I thought Keith (my business partner) will have some stock at home and can throw it in a cab for the airport. As luck would have it when I called him he had just arrived home, and quickly loaded the car and hit the road. It's now 6.35pm and the flight leaves at 7.30pm, and they close the flight off at 7.15pm. I am now standing at the boarding gate waiting to hear the news that the beer had arrived at the airport (from Meadowbank, a 30 min drive). I get the call it has arrived but it has to be loaded in a catering cart, with dry ice, get through security and get loaded in the plane in 10 mins.

So by now I have had to board the plane and turned off my mobile. It is in the hands of the Gods of Kobol. I get introduced to the head steward and cabin crew in business class just in case the beer makes it on the plane.

The plane takes off.

10 minutes into the flight the head steward comes to the back of the plane to seat 65A (yes there are 67 rows in the AirNZ 777, I was at the back) to say to me "would you like to come forward to do the beer tasting"

Yes I would.

So I get to business class, and all the seats are the follow out bed seats, very nice. The beer is on board. But it isn't very cold so I have to break open the boxes and put the dry ice packs on the bottles direct.

I started in row one with an American guy who seems interested in beer. While I was siting talking and drinking the beers with him the woman across the partition from him said please come around here next as we are interested in seeing what you have to offer, and she handed me her business card. It was Lauraine Jacobs, editor of Cuisine magazine.

So after tasting the beers with another American guy in business class, who was not likely to visit New Zealand again for some time and even less likely to ever buy these beers, I headed back to the front of business class to meet Lauraine.

Lauraine had never heard of Epic Pale Ale before and was very intrigued and interested, first at the fact that I was doing personal tastings in business class, and secondly with a product from New Zealand she had never heard of.

So after maybe 30-40 mins of some intense questioning, and genuine enthusiasm, when the meals were coming around, I left her to her meal and set off for the next victim.

After nearly 3 hours in business class it was time to head to the back of the plane. Before that I did have to have dinner in business class as they had finished dinner down the back and turned the lights out.

So off back to row 65 with a six pack of Epic Pale Ale I went, as the boys had thought I had abandoned them, and were excited to drink something other than Export Gold or Steinlager from a can.

Before the flight came to land the cabin crew said "what should we do with the left over beer". I said share it amongst the crew, as long as Lauraine Jacobs gets some. They were all very grateful.

So that was mid April - 10 days in California, 2 days judging at the World Beer Cup, 11 breweries visits and 317 beers tasted later I returned to NZ.

As I promised, I sent Lauraine some samples of Epic Pale Ale and Epic Lager to taste, on my return.

Fast forward to this last weekend at the Wellington Food Show, guess who stops by the Epic stand? (well that was hard wasn't it.) Lauraine stopped by to say "hi", have a taste of the Epic Lager, and ask how things were going. I suggested that she have a bottle of Epic on display for her cooking presentation. (she didn't take one, I guess no harm in asking)

It can't have been more than half an hour later, she stopped by again on her way to her cooking presentation. She asked for a bottle of Epic Lager, as she said she would just put it up on display, even though she wasn't going to use it in what she was cooking. I suggested that she needed the Epic Pale Ale also.

About 20 minutes later I headed down to see Lauraine do her cooking presentation. I came in part way through and it was a full house so I had to sit toward the back at the side.

See photo - Lauraine with Epic Pale Ale and Epic Lager on stage at the Wellington Food Show. (today I can't seem to load images to blog posts, so follow the link for the pic)

Not long after I sat down she started to promote Epic and how wonderful the beers are and that you must make sure you get around to trying them while at the Food Show.

So that is it for now, but keep an eye out for a possible appearance of Epic beer in Cuisine magazine.

[maybe blog posts this long are a bit much]

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14 May 2008

Epic Wellington Visit - 15th to 18th May

For all of those that live in Wellington I am coming to town to do some tastings of Epic Beer.

15th May - 'Meet the Brewer' tasting at the Malthouse, 48 Courtenay Place. 5pm to 7pm. Nothing too formal, other than taste the beers and I'll explain why they are like that and where to from here.

16th, 17th & 18th May - 'Food Show' 10am to 6pm I'll be manning the Epic Beer stand so come by for a sample. We are located in the Hawkes Bay section next to our sales agent Sileni Estates.

(I won't be on the stand from 3.30pm on Friday as I am doing a corporate tasting from 4pm)

Want to have a beer with me out side these times follow me at http://twitter.com/epicbeer

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07 May 2008

Regional Wines & Spirits Say Nice Things About Epic Lager

Epic Lager 5.0%
The advent of Epic Pale Ale has been a revelation for those who crave for flavour that the vast majority of mass-produced beers fail to deliver. It was created by Luke Nicholas who, after being introduced to craft beers in California, became brewer for Steam Brewing in Auckland. His first beer under the Epic brand name was designed to pack in as much flavour as possible into each bottle. Epic Pale Ale has the equivalent of 15 hops per bottle - a mind-boggling, 3000% more than regular beers. However, for some people this is just too much hop!

Now, Luke has made an 'entry-level' brew for the Epic brand - Epic Lager. With ‘only’ the equivalent of six hops per bottle, the recipe for Epic Lager includes a blend of Bavarian and Moravian Pilsner malts, and two aromatic, but low bitterness American ‘Noble’ hop varieties to tone down the powerful flavour. Luke reckons: "If you are (an Epic) pale ale drinker it probably won't have the hop hit you are used to, but you will now have a beer to share with your friends that are scared of hops and flavour." Our beer expert Geoff Griggs says: “Despite the reduction in hops, Epic lager is still an aromatic and flavoursome brew and it certainly gets a big thumbs-up from me.” (330 ml)

This can be found on the front page of the Regional Wines & Spirits website

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05 May 2008

Drinking Social - Epic Pale Ale

Comments made about Epic Pale Ale on the Drinking Social website

- a hoppy punch in the face with a cunningly moreish finish

- A hop fueled dynamite beer that is refreshing, balanced and quite possibly my favorite beer of all time. I may now die.

Full Story

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02 May 2008

Epic - Superhero of the NZ Beer Market

Or how about Epic Beer? Grenville Main, managing director of DNA, the design company behind the brand, describes it as ‘the ultimate niche beer’.

"You could call it passion or insanity to build a beer this strong," he says, "but we see it as designing a solution to a market that needed a superhero."

Full Story