Epic Brewing Company opened its doors to the Denver public on September 28, 2013. Their original brewery opened in Utah in 2008. Have you heard the story yet? The long and short of it goes Utah law made opening a brewery in Denver very attractive for a number of reasons. That’s all the fact spewing I’m giving this time around. You can ask Google for more; I’m not here to repeat the internet. I’m just the voice of us drunken wanderers of the world, and on September 28, 2013, I wandered my drunk ass down Walnut Street and went into the bear pit that was the Epic Brewing grand opening. All I can say is, welcome to Colorado, Epic.
Their building is in the budding RiNo (River North) neighborhood of Denver, a burgeoning craft beer neighborhood. The block itself is a barren lifeless industrial looking area that no God-fearing person would normally travel unless they were grievously lost or had been on the wrong side of a bet. Thankfully, Epic now gives the world a reason to throw bets and disregard directions at will. The building, which I’m going to assume was refurbished and not built from the ground up, is like a shiny beautiful brand new fire engine in a sandbox with rusty fucking toy dump trucks and back hoes all around it. Only THIS fire engine shoots beer and the sand should have less cat shit in it.
Walking through the glass door, I was greeted by a room full of beer drinking goblins grouped around tables, couches and the bar. A line of 25 taps ran the distance of the bar with each tap being unmarked and identical to its neighbors. Beyond the bar, any home brew fan worth his/her salt would squirt a gallon in his/her pants while overlooking a large majority of the brewing operation in all of its open-air glory. A bar height table filled the gap between the bar and the exterior wall allowing those who felt so inclined to drool over the hardware.
Undeterred by vague taps and brewing porn, I found the best looking gap in the crowd in front of the bar and borrowed a menu. After much deliberation, I made my choices of samplers. Now if I could only convince one of the bartenders to serve them to me. I waited like the good consumer I pretend to be. After 5-10 minutes, my friends show up to the bar and we discuss beers and where to try and find a nesting area.
Now, I don’t mind waiting. 75% of the time I’m a well behaved citizen that doesn’t need to be pampered with excellent service, especially when it comes to beer. The other 25% is probably leading up to jail time. During this instance, while behaving, my friend was served within two minutes of standing at a different spot at the bar, and that fucking pissed me off. Not enough to leave or even say anything, but in scenarios like this, I’m a drunk little elephant: I never forget. Unless I’m seeing pink elephants. At that point, we’re usually falling into that 25% category.
Convinced my spot at the bar was a dead zone for service, I go to where my friend had just been served. To emphasize the service that day, and also to make this not all about me, I managed to chat with some fine gentlemen experiencing the same problem. One had been waiting with an empty glass AT THE GODDAMN BAR for 15 minutes and yet, for some reason, when the bartender came back around he looked right at me and asked what I wanted to drink. I said I wanted him to serve the guy sitting at the bar that had the empty glass in front of him. I figured this was as good a time as any to build up some Karma. We do a “Thanks for being cool” high five and move on with our lives.
Now that I’ve spent three paragraphs describing the wait, I’ve wasted a proportionally equal amount of your time as was wasted of mine standing in front of Epic’s bar trying to remember what beers I ordered. I chose their Big Bad Baptist Imperial Stout on Nitro, Imperial Pumpkin porter and Brainless on Cherries. All were excellent.
The BoC may have been a bad third choice since the first two’s malts really ravaged my palate, but the crisp Belgian base and sharp cherry tartness was refreshing. We went on to have a couple pints of both the C02 and nitro Hopulent IPA just to compare. The nitro was smooth as hell. The C02 version was excellent too. We sampled several others including something imperial, something with sage and something that was “Oaked and Smoked” but I stopped taking notes.
While I haven’t been back, the service didn’t turn me off. The bar was seriously packed that day and the couch service picked up. To say I wasn’t able to tie one on during my time there would be a bold faced lie. I’ll be back. I think the brewery will be a fantastic place to hang out and drink strong beer when it’s not wall to wall packed with people. However, burn me twice and oh who am I kidding I’ll keep going back for the beer. Like I said before, welcome to Colorado, Epic.
An open mind and a few beers can make anywhere an adventure.