After the law change in Utah in 2008, entrepreneurs David Cole and Peter Erickson (teaming with brewmaster Kevin Crompton) opened Epic in Salt Lake City. In 2013, Epic expanded into neighbor Colorado, allowing more space for operations, distribution, and beers.
Located in the red-hot RiNo district, the tap room is a short hike or bike ride from downtown Denver. If you are inclined to drive (not a good idea—see below), parking is not an issue. The taproom, like others springing up around the city, draws upon the industrial, warehouse vibe. However, it has a welcoming feel for all that.
The space is huge (but often standing-room-only) and incorporates unique, colorful, and cozy touches, such as the lime-green walls, the chairs and couches gathered around the fireplace, and the chandeliers crafted from the cone portion of fermenters. It’s like an eclectic friend’s living room. Indeed, this is a place to savor, not slam, beers. Which is a good thing!
Epic’s brews are intense and alcohol-fueled. One is enough to raise your BAC to levels not appropriate for driving. Beers rotate seasonally, but every season so far has showcased winners. The trademark beer is Brainless, a Belgian ale that is incorporated into various manifestations featuring such fruit as cherries, peaches, and raspberries. In every form, a sour and tasty treat. The Sour Apple Saison contrasts tart apple with smooth saison flavor. The Utah Sage Saison is unusual and most likely an acquired taste, providing a sagey nose but not overwhelming sage flavor. The Big Bad Baptist is a bit woody for this reviewer’s taste.
Epic also pours mélange beers. A favorite is the Epically Strange, brewed with Strange Brewing’s kriek and Big Bad Baptist. This concoction has the requisite sour cherry taste with a coffee nose and aftertaste. The cherry notes also cut the woodiness of the latter beer. Lip-smackin’ good!
Unlike some tap rooms, there is a floor staff here. They are gracious, knowledgeable, and funny. Service at the bar can be somewhat slow at peak hours—it can be difficult to get the ’tenders’ attention when the bar is hopping. Nonetheless, the beers at Epic are worth the wait.
Next time you are venturing north on Blake/Walnut, stop in here. Oh, heck, plan a special trip. You’ll be happy you did.