This past Friday night I was fortunate to be invited to the official Epic Brewing grand opening party at the Stateroom. Epic is the first brewery in Utah since the prohibition to produce only "full-strength" beer and it is only available for purchase out of the brewery itself, at a small amount of local bars and soon at state liquor stores. I knew it would be something pretty damn cool, but I didn't realize what a big deal it truly would be, with the likes of politicians and SLC business leaders filling the venue. Good thing I had the sense to at least wear a collared shirt.
The party was great - 9 different stations at which to sample each Epic beer and also have some great food from Cuisine Unlimited. Epic produces their beers in 3 different series' - Classic, Elevated and Exponential, but none of the Exponential series are available just yet; however, when they are, they will be some of the most creative beers to ever come out of Utah. The one I look forward to most is the oak whiskey barrel-aged Brainless Belgian. The Belgian is by far my favorite beer which they currently produce.
Also as part of the event, they had a bus running back and forth between the venue and the brewery so that everyone could go over and get a tour, see the process of making the beers and see (and sample) all of the ingredients going into the beers. I have to say that the brewmaster (Kevin Crompton), formerly of Bohemian Brewery, who conducted a portion of our tour was one hell of a tour guide and an all around really nice guy. You can tell that he brews beer for the love of it and for nothing else. Our other tour guide, David Cole, was extremely passionate as well. To listen to these two guys talk about beer and the brewing process, it was easy to tell that they only want to produce the absolute best beer that Utah has ever tasted, and I think they are going to do just that.
So you might be asking....JD, what is the point of posting this on your Salt Lake City vegetarian blog? Well, as it often comes up, especially among vegans, and is evident by websites like Barnivore, which dedicate themselves to maintaining an extensive list of vegan beers, wines and liquors, a lot of animal products are used in the process of creating different alcoholic beverages. So before heading up front to buy beer after the tour, I posed the all important question to David Cole - "Which of the beers are vegan?" His answer, "Every single one of them"!!! They refuse to use anything to speed up the brewing process, filter the beer, etc - as he stated, in most non-vegan beers, they are non-vegan most often because animal products are used to speed up or ease the brewing process. They pride themselves on taking their time and making the highest quality product possible. They use nothing to speed up the process or make it easier so that they can get more beer out the door as quickly as possible. This is evident as found in this article - they are already down to just a few beers in their store after being open for only a week.
Way to go Epic! Congratulations on a more than successful grand opening and huge kudos for choosing not to use animal products in your beers. Swing by and check out Epic folks, you will not regret it. Great beers, brewed by great people.