My first beer column for PC's Free Radical magazine was headlined by a beer called Epic. As alert readers will recall, Epic won the Supreme Beer of New Zealand Award about a week after its initial release. This is how I described it in that colums:
Epic Pale Ale (5.4%) is a burnished golden beer which throws a punchy citrus nose. It has an immaculate balance of rich creamy malt body with lashings of summerfruit and citrus notes before a lingering, almost oily, bitterness dries the mouth.Describing his brew, impish brewer Luke Nicholas said “We are confident that New Zealand beer drinkers will enjoy it just much as the judges.” It looks like he might well be right as Epic is becoming increasingly available in pubs and bottle stores around the country.
It is worth recalling another comment in that first Free Radical beer column when I wrote that Luke is
always prepared to tweak his recipes to “keep the drinkers thinking” and to always move the beer towards being the “perfect pint” – a beer that you totally enjoy all evening, pint after pint.After many an evening and many a pint of total enjoyment (in a professional capacpity, you understand), Epic stands as a perfect example of Luke's promise. Luke has actively gathered feedback from drinkers of all ages (18+ of course), experiences and tastes about Epic. I have obtained a summary of that market research, which I can summarise as follows:
10%: Yuck - does not taste enough like Lion RedFrom a drinker’s perspective, there have been some subtle changes to Epic to improve sessionability – it is slightly less resinous, a tad less bitter and a slightly lighter colour.
40%: Delicious, but too hoppy to be properly sessionable
Neil: Needs more hops!
What remains is a magnificent beer full of flavour and which can stay out to play all night. That is why in the latest edition of The Listener I picked it as my “perfect pint” and as New Zealand’s best beer.
And so it is.
Real men visit the Real Beer blog, and SOBA. And so should you.