Monthly Archives: July, 2006

Neil Miller on EPIC

July 18th, 2006 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

Perhaps the toughest question a beer writer can be asked is “So, what’s the best beer then?” This is the equivalent of demanding Lindsay Perigo identify his favorite sentence written by Ann Rand. The answer in both cases will usually depend on the context. At the recent New Zealand International Beer Awards a panel of distinguished judges focused their laser-like palates on 199 domestic to find the best beer entered. They finally crowned one beer as Supreme Champion – EPIC Pale Ale from Auckland’s Epic Brewing Company. 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. EPIC actually won the top award in its competition debut on the eve of its nationwide launch. Brewer Luke Nicholas says “We are confident that New Zealand beer drinkers will enjoy it just much as the judges.” Luke’s track record suggests that confidence is justified. The quality of his beers have been recognized with bags of awards and trophies including twice brewing the Supreme Champion previously. He is always prepare 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. Luke also likes hops – lots of hops. He uses hops from around the world but particularly relishes the intense flavours and aromas of American hops. His beers are all generously hopped and he says he aims to “keeping pushing the envelope out to see how much hops people can handle. I haven’t found the limit yet.” Luke admits that many brewers would consider the “shedload” of hops used in EPIC to be insane. “I call that flavour”. Hopheads like me can only applaud such an attitude. The Epic Brewing Company is a new brewing entity which grew out of the operations of the Cock and Bull English Pubs and Brewery. The five Cock and Bull pubs – Ellerslie, Botany, Lynfield, Hamilton and Newmarket – all serve Luke’s handcrafted beers. The flagship Cock and Bull beer is Monk’s Habit (7%) – an American inspired India Pale Ale. This rich copper beer has been described as the country’s most decadent pint with a full body of grapefruit, orange and soft honey flavours followed by a beautifully intense bitter finish. Twice Supreme Champion, this is a breathtakingly good beer. Fuggles (4.75%) straddles the Best Bitter and Pale Ale style but does so with such flavour that it hardly seems an issue. Often served through a traditional handpump, this slightly creamy British style beer combines a mouthwatering malt and fruit body with a punchy bitter finish. Roll out the barrel indeed. Winner of Best in Class Pale Ale at 2005 BrewNZ The darkest beer in the range is Dark Star (5%) which is broadly in the style of an English Porter. This beer has a toasty nose, a body laced with chocolate, roast coffee and burnt toast flavours followed by a firm, cleansing bitterness. This is a distinctive dark beer and a fine drop. With a noticeable hop aroma and flavour you never find in Dark beers The Cock and Bull also caters for the more mainstream tastes at their pubs. Luke ensures that these more familiar styles of beer are still fresh, well-made and full flavored. The Blue Goose (4.6%) is an extremely popular Premium Lager. This pale golden beer has a subtle aroma of dry grass and clean smooth body. The bar coaster most likely to go home with a visitor belongs to the Buxom Blonde Wheat Beer (4.8%). Very pale, it has hints of lemon, wheat, citrus and honey along with a soft, slightly tart finish. A highly refreshing beverage. Inspired by the traditional New Zealand style of “draught beer”, the Classic Draught (4%) brings a little more class and flavour with imported English malts contributing to the bustling biscuity body. This is closely followed a clean finish with just a hint of hops (by Luke’s standards). A good session beer for even the terminally unadventurous. With EPIC, Luke has created a massively flavored beer which retains drinkability. At my tastings, people seem to finding it easier to step up to EPIC than to step back down to their mainstream lagers after trying it. A bottle of EPIC would be a good place to start the search for New Zealand’s best beer. By Neil Miller – Free Radical

Auckland Today [article]

July 15th, 2006 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

It’s a rare beer that can take out a supreme award before it’s even been released. But such achievements are par for the course for Steam Brewing Company, the multi-award-winning enterprise that started out with one small local pub and grew. Steam’s Epic Pale Ale, the company’s first bottled beer, was named Supreme Champion Beer at the New Zealand International Beer Awards in April. It’s not the first such win for Steam, which is now the only brewery in the country which has won the supreme award three times. In line with its latest winner, and its epic intentions, the company is in the process of rebranding itself as Epic Brewing Company. The story begins with the Cock and Bull, initially one little English-style pub in East Tamaki, where Steam Brewing Company began producing beer in 1995. Five pubs and 150 medals later, the two companies (which share directors) have made a significant mark on the hospitality scene. Now, the craft brewery is branching out further with its own bottling plant. Epic, an American Pale Ale, is described as full-flavoured, hoppy and very tasty – but not difficult to drink despite its complexity. Cameron Williamson from the Dominion Post described “an intense, almost kaleidoscopic spectrum of aromas from tropical fruit to caramelised onions with a paddockful of herbal highs in between, rich fruity and complex malt action from a big mouthful, and a finish as sweet as violets and as dry as a week in the desert.” This description is not out of the ordinary for Steam Brewing Company. Its beers are renowned among serious lovers of good ale, and not just in New Zealand. The brand features prominently on international beer lovers’ websites, directing travellers to visit Cock and Bull outlets for a decent drink. Steam also contract brews for a number of other breweries, all with a dedicated staff of just five people. General manager Luke Nicholas says the expansion of the pubs led the company to buying a new brewery, the former Auckland Brewery in Otahuhu, which happened to come with a bottling line. “Something we had always wanted to do was bottle our own beer, and we are now able to do it.” Bottling means Epic, and eventually other beers, can become more readily available in a wider range of markets. Bars in places as diverse as Wellington, Blenheim and Lyttelton have been ordering crates of Epic. The bottling line has also opened up possibilities in other beverage markets. The company already contract bottles fruit juices and energy drinks, and is looking at moving into the RTD market.

Epic Accepted to Pilot NZTE Programme

July 6th, 2006 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

Path to Market – Food & Beverage, Australia 2006 Congratulations on your successful entry into New Zealand Trade and Enterprises’ (NZTE) Path to Market program. This pilot program aims to provide you with the necessary tools and experience to assist your business development plans in Australia. We are very excited to have you on board for what we believe will be a very useful, informative and beneficial experience for all involved. BACKGROUND: The Path to Market (Food and Beverage Australia 2006) program supports companies to fast track their market entry strategy for Australia. The program will be particularly valuable to those who are new to exporting or seeking to build their capability and assess their company potential in Australia for the first time. Australia is New Zealand’s largest market for food and beverage products. Its size, proximity and familiar business environment makes it an ideal market for the majority of new exporters. However, export success requires a thorough understanding of the market requirements and the best possible preparation prior to entering the market. The Path to Market program will enable participants to develop a sound market entry strategy for Australia. The program covers export training and advice, market information, an assessment of the participant’s products/services by an expert panel, and a four day market visit to Melbourne to coincide with Fine Foods Australia. Fine Foods is Australia’s leading food and beverage trade event. Participants will have the opportunity to visit or exhibit at the trade show, and to network with other exporters and business contacts including agents and distributors.

EPIC – Brass Magazine July 2006

July 3rd, 2006 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

Epic Pale Ale has a small review in Brass Magazine Issue #24 (July/August 2006) ==================================== Epic Ale You gotta try this beer as it really is ‘Epic’. At the recent New Zealand International Beer Awards Epic beat 198 other entries to take out the title of Supreme Champion Beer. Epic Pale Ale from the Epic Brewing Company – the Brewery are of the hugely successful Cock & Bull Group is definitely a ‘winner’, and when you try it you’ll go ‘WOW’. This beer is 5.4%alc/vol, has a big aroma and delivers on taste. Just suck it back, or for those who care, sit back, relax and enjoy the big flavours from the 15 hops per bottle. This is one of those beers you’ll want to hunt down at your local bottle shop or supermarket, and if it’s not on the shelf just yet, make sure they get a pallet in – cause you’ll be back for more! [page 12] ====================================