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Epic Hop Zombie Wins NZ Food Awards

October 12th, 2017 Posted by Awards, Uncategorized No Comment yet

Epic Hop Zombie has won the Countdown Alcoholic Beverages Award at the New Zealand Food Awards 2017.

The New Zealand Food Awards are a highlight on the industry calendar and showcase the best of the best amongst New Zealand’s food and beverage industry.

Winning products earn the New Zealand Food Awards “Quality Mark” to highlight the superiority of their products to both shoppers and industry, plus achieving national and international recognition.

On winning the award, Epic Brewing Company owner Luke Nicholas said “it is fantastic to get industry recognition beyond just the beer and brewing industry. Hop Zombie has been such a huge success for us since it was launched as New Zealand’s first double IPA back in 2011”

Nicholas says “demand for Hop Zombie grows year on year. With its cult following it took four years to be able to secure enough hops to be able to keep up with demand and supply it all year round, and then to start looking at export markets”.

This latest accolade for Epic Hop Zombie joins a list remarkable acknowledgments for the beer in the last year.

In China, it was ranked #8 best craft beer in China, with Epic Lupulingus IIPA at #10.

Hop Zombie has become Epic Brewing Company’s most successful export, with it being the number one beer exported to China, which is Epic’s largest export market.

In the USA Epic Hop Zombie was ranked #10 in the top 10 imported beers in the US in Zymurgy magazine.

Epic Hop Zombie is a Double IPA at 8.5% alc/vol which is a strong version of an IPA. It uses NZ and US grown hop varieties and a blend of English and German grown pale malts. This combination of malts and hops produce a beer with a pale golden colour, a huge tropical fruit aroma, with passionfruit, mango and citrus flavours.

Epic Hop Zombie has recently been ranged nationwide at Countdown supermarkets.

My Little Hop Garden 2017

October 2nd, 2017 Posted by Hops, Uncategorized No Comment yet

6 October 2017

And they’re off!

3 October 2017

Look what’s back!

CRYONMAN – Simply The Vest!

October 1st, 2017 Posted by New Beer, Uncategorized 1 comment

When two greats come together, inevitably you end up with something even greater. 

Malt and hops.

Pizza and beer.

Bacon and eggs.

Peas and corn.

Ninjas and Turtles.

David Cryer and Luke Nicholas.

The beer that we’ll be launching for the 2017 Brewers Guild Beer Awards is the super-charged tasty brain-child of two legends of New Zealand’s craft beer industry. I had the pleasure of interviewing David Cryer of Cryermalt and Luke about this beer to get an idea of what we can expect from this beer –  the result of a union of expertise and passion for things that taste AWESOME.


Can you tell me about the history of Epic and Cryermalt working together?
I met Luke when he first started at Steam back in 1997. He quickly became
head brewer at Steam where he developed the EPIC Pale Ale. We were supplying malt to Steam at the time and then continued to supply Epic when it separated away.

How long have you guys been wanting to create a beer together?
The first time in 1999 I travelled with Luke to Phoenix for the Craft Brewers Conference, we shared a room during this trip and this is when Luke got to experience my love for comic books. I used to keep sneaking out of the room to comic book shops to bring them back and had a huge long box in the room – just full of comics I had purchased for my collection.

This will be a first edition beer to go towards my comic beer collection

What’s the significance of the ingredients that you have brought to the brew? Can you tell me a bit about the product (malts vs hops)?
Low Colour Maris Otter with the low Kilning profile will allow the new hop variety Luke has sourced to show its qualities in the best possible light. Maris Otter has been around since 1966 as a variety which is probably a record in terms of a variety being available and the fact it is innovating in 2017 testifies to the strength of this king of malt varieties.

What flavours will these products bring to the beer?
Maris Otter has been a signature malt flavour that has contributed to Epic’s flavour profile for many years now. Using the Low Colour Maris Otter for the first time the lower kilning profile the renowned malty biscuity flavour of Maris Otter will be in the background blending in with the hops.
The lower kilning will mean less colour contribution from the malt which will lead to a lower colour finish in the beer and create an attractive hue to the final product.

What does the name “CRYONMAN” mean?
The meaning behind Cryonman is one for Luke to answer. I was not present during the naming!*

If you could have a superpower, apart from the ones you already have, what would it be?
Superpower – ability to change water into beer (or is that too blasphemous?)!
Not so much a superpower, but the ability to build a super suit that gets me to a meeting with Robert
Downy Jnr and also to all the brewing/beer events. But let me not forget I would be wearing an iron


Can you tell me about the history of Epic and Cryermalt working together?
When I started as assistant brewer at the Cock & Bull they were buying Aussie and some UK malt from Cryer Malt. Over the years I have brewed with any malt I can get my hands on to see how it performs, and if it makes my beer taste better. It just so happens the Cryer Malt provides a range of some of the best malts available from around the world. Therefore I have been buying malt from David for the last 20 years. Starting 1997.

How long have you guys been wanting to create a beer together?
We have talked off and on for a few years about making a beer together, as we like to joke Cryer Malt has been collaborating with Epic for years. There have been times where our forecasts have fallen short or times where Cryer Malt have sold out of malts that we use, and we have been forced to substitute one malt for another. Sometimes when we have to make malt changes, it works out to make the beer even better. So we thought with the release of this new malt we could work on something together which we actually plan.

What’s the significance of the ingredients that you have brought to the brew? Can you tell me a bit about the product (malts vs hops)?
Malt: light colour, like pilsner malt, but will have that wonderful Maris Otter ale malt character
Hops: aggressively resinous, green, punchy. The malt will be the perfect light canvas to highlight these hops.

What flavours will these products bring to the beer?
The Low Colour Maris Otter, will bring a colour like a lager or a pilsner but will have that luscious delicious English Ale malt character, which will set up the beer to showcase this new mega-hop from Yakima. HBC 682 is still part of the trial program but brewers that have brewed with it are raving about it. While In Yakima recently I was talking with the growers and they are all really excited about it as it is a great hop to grow and pick, giving wonderful yields as well as chart-topping alpha acids.

Out of the box, HBC682 smells like having your head too close to the baling machine and it accidentally getting compressed and baled. There’s a huge resiny intenseness.

What does the name “CRYONMAN” mean?
CRYONMAN is a play on Cryer Malt and David’s love of comics. That one time we roomed together in Phoenix AZ, for CBC 1999, David spent all his spare time buying comics.

How did you enjoy coming up with the name CRYONMAN?
We got together with the team from Cryer Malt, had a BBQ, a few beers and a bit of a brainstorming session. You are always more creative after a couple of beers. We felt that the core of this beer was the malt, and we wanted to highlight something special, yet for many unknown about David, which was his love of comics.

If you could have a superpower, apart from the ones you already have, what would it be?
Hmmm… To turn any beer into an IPA, maybe? Or at least to be able to miraculously give a beer more hops, ’cause we all NEED… MORE… HOPS… right?

*Author’s note: David was present at the start of the beer naming process. He soon discovered that coming up with the name of a beer with Luke is quite an arduous process. David wisely left it up to the experts. The reason for David’s departure may have been captured in this tweet:

The 5 – 10 – 15 Rule for Dry Hopping IPAs

September 11th, 2017 Posted by BetterBrewingBetterBeer, Uncategorized 7 comments

Dry Hopping. 

If you don’t know what this means, in a nutshell, it’s where hops are added to the brew once it’s in the fermenter,  like a steeping process. Why do it? It maximises the hop aromas and flavours in your brew.

Luke is often asked for tips on how to dry hop beer, and he has a simple rule of thumb to follow: The 5 – 10 – 15 Rule. It’s a pretty simple thing to remember, right? This is what it means.

If you’re making a Pale Ale, add 5 grams of hops per litre.
For an IPA, add 10 grams per litre.
For a Double IPA, add 15 grams per litre.

Easy, right?

Something to keep in mind is that the more dry hop you add, the less your final volume will be – those hops are thirsty devils!

We’d love for you to give it a try – let us know how you get on.


2017 US Hop Harvest

September 11th, 2017 Posted by Hops, Uncategorized No Comment yet

The US Hop Harvest is a big deal for us. Luke has the privilege of heading to Yakima in Washington State every year to select hops from the year’s harvest. After visiting a bunch of different hop farms, meeting the growers and finding the best crops, Luke will make his selection at YCH Hops in Yakima. We’ll be documenting the highlights of this year’s trip here, so stay tuned!


Since I have been writing this blog about Luke’s travels in the US, there have been quite a few people asking where Yakima is – and rightly so.

Yakima, WA, USA

Yakima is about 200 km South-East of Seattle, Washington State.

Yakima could be called the “Home of US Hops”, and this is why (from

Washington state’s Yakima Valley is home to one of the most fertile and productive hop growing regions in the world. The hot and cool desert climate, combined with the abundant irrigation provided by the Yakima River, creates an ideal environment for producing this key beer ingredient.

The valley is divided into three distinct growing areas: the Moxee Valley, the Yakama Indian reservation and the Lower Yakima Valley. And each of these areas, although no more than 50 miles apart, possesses unique growing conditions.

The Yakima Valley contains approximately 75 percent of the total United States hop acreage, with an average farm size of 450 acres (182 hectares) accounting for over 77 percent of the total United States hop crop. Most hop farms in Washington are third or fourth generation family operations that have now diversified into other crops as well. Most hop growers also grow fruit, but some grow mint, grapes and even row crops. Typically, a Washington hop grower will raise a combination of both aroma and alpha variety hops. The majority of the hops produced in Washington, however, are alpha and super alpha varieties.

The Hop Fields at Carpenter Farms – Granger, WA.

Downtown Yakima, WA

This is where you’d expect to find a bunch of brewers at this time of year!

So, travelling all the way to Yakima every year is a big commitment. I asked Luke why he goes to all this effort every year, this is what he had to say:
“I love the aromas and flavours that come from the hops grown in the Yakima Valley. I love brewing with these hops, and love the beers that these hops make. This is why I make such an effort each year to fly to the other side of the Pacific Ocean, to find the best of what they have, and bring it back home to New Zealand to brew with.”





San Franciso

Luke is in San Francisco before heading off to Yakima tomorrow. His main objective: Find more hops to keep our beers, well, EPIC. No pressure, right?


Heading north over the Golden Gate Bridge


Off to find some sweet hops!

Luke’s chariot awaits…


Ed’s Top Five Hops

September 5th, 2017 Posted by Hops, Uncategorized 3 comments

If you haven’t already figured out, hops are a really important part of what we do at Epic. We love the flavours that hops give beer, and we put a lot of effort in selecting the right types of hops, as well as how we use them. Luke will be heading to Yakima soon to select our hops from the 2017 US Hop Harvest. Here’s a fun fact for you: Epic has used more aroma hops than any other brewery in NZ in the last ten years.

I had a chat with Ed Jefferies, Epic Production Manager, on the subject of hops. If we had the time, Ed could have talked about hops all day, but this would distract her from her (extremely important) job of making sure that our beers are produced. I don’t want to be held responsible for that, so I decided that I’d narrow the discussion down to her ‘Five Favourite Hops’.

 This is what she had to say about them.

Ed’s Top Five Hops

5. Amarillo
This is a tasty hop that gives beers a subtle but tasty flavour of stonefruit. If you’ve tried our Awakening Pils, the flavour of apricots and peaches sits perfectly with the crisp and refreshing bite from the bittering Chinook hops. 

4. Columbus
If you tried Rocket IPA from the Hysteria Series, you’ll know all about the huge ‘diesel’ hit that this hop gives (this description doesn’t really do it justice). Columbus also gives a subtle pepper aroma along with a slight liquorice flavour. This hop is powerful, resinous and offers a well-balanced bitterness. Like me, it doesn’t do subtle.

3. Nelson Sauvin
This beer drove our Dankomatic IPA back in 2016. This is such a big hop – the quintessential New Zealand aroma hop. It’s a great hop to use to balance out some of the huge US hops with a bit of homegrown flavour. This dank, resinous and grassy hop has featured in recent beers such as Big Bang Double IPA and Son of Thor IPA.

2. Citra
Citra is one of our most commonly used hops. As its name suggests, it offers a beer citrus-driven aromas and flavours, such as grapefruit, lime and even a bit of passionfruit.  The Citra hops really come through in Hysteria IPA where you get that awesome bitter kick, but the syrupy citrus aromatics drive it home.

1. Mosaic
Ah, Mosaic… I can’t stress how much I really, REALLY, love this hop. The beauty with Mosaic is that it can be blended with so many different hop styles and you can achieve very different results with each blend – it’s appropriately named, right?! This multi-dimensional hop has driven some of our most popular beers ever: One Trick Pony – Mosaic, plus the recent release, Magic Dust – which coincidently was our fastest selling beer ever. For Magic Dust IPA, we used Mosaic LupuLN2®, or Lupulin Powder, thus the name.

So, next time you enjoy an Epic beer, know that there’s been a lot of thought into how it has been made, what hops should be used to deliver the flavours that we love.


Static – Just Another IPA?

September 3rd, 2017 Posted by New Beer, Uncategorized 1 comment

We have released some absolutely cracking IPA’s so far this year. The
feedback has been truly overwhelming. We have decided to use this
feedback as inspiration for our latest beer, Static.

Static has a double meaning in this case. It refers to the constant noise
we receive from fans about our incredible beers, and also static means
to stay the same. The same as in making another amazingly hop
forward IPA.

This beer has been made by taking the best parts of MAGIC DUST and
HOP HARVESTER to create another beer that will be a massive hit
with fans of IPA’s. The hops that are showcased are Riwaka and
Mosaic. As you can imagine the delicious tropical fruit characters
will leave you wanting more.

Check out the URL to experience some of the
feedback that we enjoy. Did you know that every new Epic beer now
has its own URL going to a special link?

About the beer:
Style: IPA
ABV: 6.3%
IBU: 40


Launch: Thursday 7 September 2017 – Brew Union, Palmerston North
Launch into wild: Monday 11 September
Distribution: 🇳🇿🇦🇺 (Australia launch at Beer InCider in Brisbane)

Has New Zealand reached ‘peak beer’?

August 14th, 2017 Posted by News, Uncategorized No Comment yet
LUKE NICHOLAS on “Has New Zealand reached ‘peak beer’?”

Starting out as an assistant brewing for a new brewpub in Auckland in 1997, the challenge was to get people to drink a beer from other than one of the two big breweries. In 2007, when launching Epic, the challenge was to get a newly bottled craft beer stock on the shelves of supermarkets and liquor stores.

In just 10 years, it has gone from desperately trying to convince a retailer that they should stock a craft beer, to all the shelf space being competed for and beers/brands being removed due to lack of sales, and being replaced with the next beer from the waiting list.

Craft beer is [now] considered the darling of the market. Total beer sales aren’t really changing year on year, but craft beer has been growing at double digit figures within the total beer market.

With the increased awareness and popularity of craft beer, there has been an explosion of new breweries opening around the country. It seems in 2017, that anyone that has ever brewed, has a pocketful of cash, or a friend that is in design is jumping on the craft beer bandwagon.

There are more beers and breweries making beer than there are spaces in the market to sell it or beer drinkers to drink it. All these new breweries coming to market are arriving with a new Pale Ale, and a new IPA. But how many different IPA’s can the New Zealand beer drinking public drink?

Where does all this beer get sold?

New Zealand beer drinkers are spoilt for choice. They can now become fussy and work out what the best beers in each style are, and then narrow what they actually buy, leaving those other beers that don’t offer quality, value or consistency. The future will be a rationalisation of the number of beers on the shelf.

Retailers will stop stocking those beers that just don’t sell.

The dark, unseen side of this is there will be many current small breweries that will go out of business, because they couldn’t compete due to quality issues, branding problems, and overall not being able to offer value to the beer drinker.

We probably have reached peak beer, but within peak beer, there are opportunities for those brewers making really outstanding, world class beers of high quality. These brewers will still be around in another 10 years.

I believe craft beer will continue to grow. The craft beer market will become more and more competitive, and the standard will increase. The quality will improve and become more consistent, and the New Zealand beer drinker will get better and better beer to drink.

Beervana 2017 – Where’s Epic?

August 10th, 2017 Posted by Uncategorized 3 comments

Over the last few days, a lot of people have asked Luke why we haven’t got a stand at the Beervana festival this year. Here’s Luke’s response:

This is the first year ever that Epic doesn’t have a stand at Beervana.

I love Beervana. I’ve been involved since 2002 when the first seed of Beervana was planted. This was even before Epic existed when I was brewing at Steam Brewing Company for the Cock & Bull pubs and also establishing Back then some of us in the fledgeling NZ craft brew industry came together to create the first competition and event, Brew NZ. We had judging and then a small event (mini beer festival) for a few hundred people at the university. Over time, these events evolved into Beervana and the NZ Beer Awards.

Fifteen years on, the craft beer marketplace and what people want from Beervana has changed. Over the last few years at Beervana I’ve had a huge amount of people come up to our stand and tell me how they love our beer and where they buy it and drink it. But, they also tell me that they’re not buying it at Beervana because they can only drink so much beer and want to try beer from all the exciting new breweries that they can’t get anywhere else. Often they tell me they’re going to go the Malthouse or somewhere afterwards to drink some Epics or they have some waiting in the fridge at home.

To my recollection, we’ve never made a profit at Beervana and have always happily considered it a marketing exercise. I would guess that it’s not a profit making exercise for most breweries. But, as the event size and exhibitor costs have increased, along with punters telling us they’re not buying our beer because they can get it elsewhere, it doesn’t make economic sense for us to keep exhibiting. Like other breweries, we’ve planned evening events every night at various locations to add to the overall Beervana experience and still participate in a way that works for us.

I think it’s great that Beervana has evolved to this point, to give all of these new breweries a platform to share their beers. I’ve purchased tickets for my staff and myself to attend as punters and enjoy the event without the responsibility of running a stand. I’m looking forward to trying new beers I’ve never tried and talking ‘beer’ with others who are as excited about it as I am.

See you at Beervana!

Big Bang Double IPA

August 6th, 2017 Posted by New Beer, Uncategorized 7 comments


Was there a lost civilisation before a cataclysmic event that resulted in the great deluge? Did the surviving few transfer their knowledge in plain sight to the geometry of the megalithic structures positioned around the planet? Are we a species with collective amnesia? Have we always had the answer?

About the beer:
ABV: 8.9%
IBU: 70


About the beer:
When making a big beer like this, it takes some pretty big ideas that challenge the mind as well as the tongue. Luke has been reading a lot of work by author Graham Hancock, famous for the book Magicians of the Gods. The copy on the side of the bottle is a gesture to Graham’s writing and the magnitude and gravity of his work.

Massive amounts of both English and German Pale malts and big banging NZ and US grown hops. A beer with a name like Big Bang you know is going to deliver some pretty serious hop aroma, and hop flavour. Best drunk from a Spiegelau IPA glass to maximize the hop intensity.

The hop aroma is like the Milky Way laid out across the dark evening sky in all its awesomeness. The taste on the palate is not heavy, but like a flash of light from the start of existence, so bright and all encompassing, you will be left in awe.

This is the first beer since Hop Zombie that Luke has suggested that the amount of hops in it may have some impact on the mind beyond just the effect of the 8.9% abv.

Launch: 10 August at Moon Bar, Wellington
Launch into the wild: 14 August

🇳🇿NZL: 14 August 2017
🇦🇺AUS: Late September 2017

Chromium “Chromatic” Ale

July 30th, 2017 Posted by New Beer, Uncategorized 4 comments


Chromium as an element is present in brewer’s yeast, cereals such as barley, hard water, and foods prepared in stainless steel vessels. Therefore one could assume that beer is a potential source for your daily intake of Chromium. This isn’t a health or medical endorsement for this beverage. What it is, is a really cool name for a beer right? Something new and shiny for the spring and summer seasons.

About the beer

We thought about what would be a great beer taste for Spring since it is right around the corner. The idea started as an Amber Ale but sometimes they can be too malty, so this is a Pale Ale with more malt flavour, sweetness and a bit more body.
This beer doesn’t have any funky random ingredients, just a really solid flavoursome beer, that you could have a couple of pints with friends.

The name is really random though. It was based on the finish we wanted on the label, and we found out from some research that Chromium is an element present in brewers yeast, barley, water and foods prepared in stainless steel. Who knew?
A typical big hop forward Pale Ale you have known to expect and love from Epic, but the difference is the extra malt body, malt sweetness and subtle nutty malt flavour.

The Shield has a 24 which is close to the number of hops but also is the elemental number on the periodic table. Silly name, awesome beer.

ABV: 5.8%
IBU: 30


Hysteria IPA – It’s Such a Magical Mysteria…

July 25th, 2017 Posted by New Beer, Uncategorized 5 comments

You love hops. We love hops. You love IPA’s. We love IPA’s.

The Hysteria project continues with our latest remix of the Armageddon IPA recipe. This time pushing the edge of how many hops we can add to the whirlpool. Haha, maybe a little too many.

Fanatical. Mysterial. Hysterical.

Hysteria is our 2017 entrant to the 10th Annual West Coast IPA Challenge in Wellington.

It will be launching into the wild on Tuesday 1 August 2017.

About the beer: 

ABV: 6.9%


This is the third release in the IPA Hysteria series and follows on from Gods of War and Rocket. Hysteria is a perfect name since its releases is timed with the 10th Annual West Coast IPA Challenge held in Wellington, where Epic IPA’s have won four times.

This time around we have pulled out all the stops to see if we can level up the Armageddon recipe. A little change to the malt with the use of some US grown Pale Ale malt. Also some tweaks to the hops, this time including some NZ grown hops.

The NZ grown hops have had a noticeable influence on the aroma and flavour, giving it a real NZ IPA feel. Sub tropical fruit notes with hints of green mango and passionfruit.

Distribution: New Zealand and Australia (Australian dates TBC).

Cold Chain – Keeping Beer Fresh Since Ages Ago!

July 20th, 2017 Posted by BetterBrewingBetterBeer, Uncategorized 6 comments

Ed Jefferies – Epic Production Manager

There’s been a bit of chatter recently about the quality of beer. I had a chat with our Production Manager, Ed Jefferies, about the systems we have in place to make sure our beer is the best quality by the time it gets to our customers and consumers. It turns out that how we handle the beer from the point of brewing to getting to the glass is pretty bloody important. The buzz word that’s going around is ‘Cold Chain’; Ed gave me the lowdown.

Our beers ready for dispatch in chilled storage

What is Cold Chain?
Cold chain is when you keep your beers chilled for as long as you possibly can in the supply chain; Ideally from the brewery right to the pint in your hand.

What’s our process?
For kegs, when kegs are produced they go directly to cold storage. They then get delivered directly to the customer where they go straight into cold storage. For exports, our beers are sent in cold storage shipping containers and sent to a chilled storage facility before distribution to our customers. For distribution throughout New Zealand, the only time that kegs are out of cold storage is in transit. This ensures that our beer is as fresh as possible by the time it gets to our customers and the final beer drinker.

What happens if the beer is not chilled?
If beer is not chilled, it ages a lot faster which reduces the freshness of the beer. They say that chilling your beer, it stays fresher for three times longer. This applies more for hop forward beers like IPAs, as hop flavours do drop off as the beer ages. With stouts and darker beers, a bit of age can sometimes be a good thing. For example, The Observer, now with a bit of age has mellowed them out and rounded it’s flavour – Imperium is at its peak right now.

What’s your biggest worry?
When it comes to bottled beer, it’s a bit of a different story. After leaving the brewery, our beer does go straight to cold storage. Once we have sold them to our customers, we have no control over where it’s stored. It could be sitting in an ambient warehouse over summer for a month essentially cooking. That’s obviously beyond our control, so that’s why all of our products are kept chilled when it’s in our control. We try to brew the very best beer that we can, and also take care of it the best that we can. We’re committed to making sure our quality is the best it can be. At the end of the day, our consumers want to have a good beer experience and we want to do everything that we can to ensure this.

Hop Harvester NZIPA

June 20th, 2017 Posted by New Beer, Uncategorized 3 comments


Hop Harvest NZIPA won the Smiths Craft Beer NZ IPA Challenge in Queenstown!

The NZ Hop harvest is complete and the hops are now available, so it’s time to taste the 2017 NZ Hops as our new New Zealand IPA – Epic Hop Harvester.

Inspired by the Epic Team’s yearly trip to the Nelson hop growing region during hop harvest. This year we were down again for Hop Harvest at the Oldham’s Farm BBQing and drinking beers amongst the hops as they were being harvested. We are already making plans for next year’s harvest, so let us know if you are interested in joining us. Check out what went down at this year’s event:

The label captures the colours from our visits to the hop farms. The dark green of the hop leaves and the pale green of the hop flowers, and the orange of the safety vests, with reflective strips.

Aroma of juicy fruit gum, passionfruit and a hint of freshly cut grass.

The flavour hops are the hero of this beer with the tropical fruit and delicate sweet hint of malt sweetness. The beer is driven by Nelson Sauvin and Riwaka hops grown in NZ.

ABV: 6.5%
IBU: 45
Hops: Nelson Sauvin, Riwaka

Launch Events:

Smiths NZ IPA Competition, Queenstown, 22 – 24 June. It will also be available at The Fork & Tap in Arrowtown.
Bin 44 Wellington, 27 June

Any further launches, events or info on availability will be posted here ASAP.

New Zealand only

GABS 2017 Auckland

June 19th, 2017 Posted by Uncategorized 2 comments

Another successful GABS event for Auckland! Thanks to everyone that came to see us and try our beers. We’re glad that we could put aside some Magic Dust IPA especially for the event, we cracked all of the kegs and we had just enough for the three sessions. Check out our video for the event:

Make sure you’re on our mailing list so you can find out about all our upcoming events.

Magic Dust IPA: Voted Favourite

June 6th, 2017 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

In a recent online poll, we asked you what your favourite beer release of the last twelve months was. Well, the results are in and Magic Dust took the lead, closely followed by Stone Hammer IPA. Thanks to everyone that participated in May’s online survey.

If you missed the story behind Magic Dust IPA, this was a brand new brewing technique for New Zealand, where Mosaic LupuLN2™ from YCH Hops was used. In a nutshell, the vegetal matter has been removed from the hops via cryogenic separation, leaving the lupulin powder – the good stuff. It’s this good stuff that we used to hop Magic Dust – thus the name, also.

Within a couple of days of it being launched into the wild in New Zealand, it was quickly apparent that this brew was going down pretty well. Untappd ratings are way up there, here are some sweet examples:

Our Cuzzies across the ditch have been loving it too. Thanks to everyone that has tried it and given feedback. Unfortunately, there are always a few of our fans that miss out in some of the one-off brews, including this one. If you haven’t had a chance to try it, there is still hope. We’re stoked to advise that we have tucked away a sneaky batch to be available on tap at GABS in Auckland – so if you haven’t already got a ticket, grab one now!

Thanks again to everyone who has sent in the awesome feedback, this is really useful and we’ll keep using this to keep trying to make the tastiest brews as possible for you.


Armageddon picks up Gold at Melbourne

May 24th, 2017 Posted by News, Uncategorized No Comment yet

Armageddon IPA won a gold medal in the IPA category at last week’s 2017 Australian International Beer Awards. This is its 11th gold medal since 2009!

Lager Wins Gold!

May 22nd, 2017 Posted by News, Uncategorized No Comment yet

For this first time EVER, Epic Lager has picked up a Gold Medal at the Australian International Beer Awards. Year after year it has picked up multiple silver and bronze medals, so we are stoked that it has done so well in 2017.

Here’s an interesting fact for you – It was originally released 18 months after the Pale Ale was launched. Initial feedback on Pale Ale was that it was “way too hoppy”. Luke brewed and launched the Lager as more drinkable beer for the masses positioned between mainstream green bottle lager and Pale Ale, and it has been an important part of our core range ever since – once referred to as the “Epic Gateway Beer”.

You can celebrate too by getting a case of Epic Lager here!

Three SIMPLE Tips to Improve Your Homebrew

May 10th, 2017 Posted by BetterBrewingBetterBeer, Uncategorized 5 comments

The purpose of this blog is to essentially help you get the most out of your beer experiences; From buying, drinking or brewing. After all, life is too short for bad beer.

Is there anything in particular that you’d like to know more about? Please comment below and we’ll do our best to answer your question or add a feature for you.


Homebrewing is a pretty labour intensive exercise. After cleaning your equipment, the brewing, bottling and of course waiting for your beer to be ready to drink, it’s more than disheartening if your beer doesn’t turn out well.

Here are three simple tips to help up your brew-game:

ONE: Filter your water.
Tap water in New Zealand usually has chlorine in it, which is not helpful for your homebrew. If you have a water filter, use it. If not, you could pre-boil your water to get rid of the chlorine out of the water. Like so many things with brewing, there is a real science behind water conditions and they part they play in brewing – we’ll tackle that subject later.

TWO: Use glass or stainless steel for fermentation.
This is a bit of an investment, but it’ll last forever and it will help. Glass and stainless are inert, whereas plastic is reactive.

THREE: Use liquid yeast!
It’s important to use a good liquid yeast, such as Wyeast. Why? Yeast is a living organism. Liquid yeast is happy yeast, dried yeast is stressed yeast. No one wants stressed yeast as it can give your brew some less than desirable flavours. Like water, there is a whole science behind yeast, we’ll get into that in another post.

We’d love to know if these tips help.

If you have some tips to add or there’s something else you’d like to know about, please ask in the comments below.

Happy brewing!

South Island Series

May 3rd, 2017 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

Stockton Pale Ale
This will the first of the South Island series. Luke’s Dad’s family were from the West Coast of the South Island where his Great Grandfather worked in the mines. This first beer is named after one of the mines he worked in: “Stockton”.

This beer is brewed in the South Island, using South Island grown malt, hops and the local water. It will only be available, you guessed it, in the South Island!

Pomeroys, 12 May 2017.


Magic Dust – A Hop Revolution?

May 2nd, 2017 Posted by Uncategorized 8 comments

You may remember last month we wrote about the brand new product called Lupulin Powder, or LupuLN2™ from our friends at YCH Hops:

We are the first brewery in New Zealand to import and use this product. LupuLN2 is essentially the concentrated lupulin from whole hop flowers, with all of the extra vegetable matter removed by a cryogenic separation process. This makes for a much more efficient brew, and as you’ll find out – it tastes really good too!

About Magic Dust IPA

Magic Dust is built on the original “Mosaic – One Trick Pony” beer. It has is a rich copper colour with a wonderful hoppy aroma of passionfruit and citrus, the lupulin powder delivers a sticky guava flavour with medium bitterness and a hoppy aftertaste.

ABV: 6.9%
IBU: 45
Hops: Mosaic (LupuLN2™)
Malt: Pale Ale

Where to get it
Here are just some of the confirmed locations so far:
16 Tun
The Lumsden Free House
Liquorland Newmarket
Liquorland Mount Maunganui & Tauranga
Hamilton Beer & Wine Co
Volstead Trading Company


Rocket – New Addition to the IPA Hysteria Series

April 25th, 2017 Posted by Uncategorized 1 comment

The second release in the series, following Gods of War, we continue to perform Rocket surgery on the near perfect Armageddon IPA recipe. Curiosity leads us into a world of experimentation, this time smashing Columbus and Centennial into a space only the Large Hadron Collider could have the energy to male possible. Pop the cap and “Light This Candle”.

ABV: 6.6%
IBU: 55
Hops: US Columbus & Centennial
Malt: Maris Otter, Pale Ale

Notes from Luke:

So what’s the story behind Epic Rocket IPA? The root of the idea for this beer and the IPA Hysteria series came from the launch of Epic Armageddon IPA. Each time we would put Armageddon on tap at a bar the song “Armageddon It” would be played (yes I am partly responsible for some of the playings of this song, but did get old after several years). This was back in 2009. As the years went on more and more breweries started making IPA’s, then Epic started making multiple IPA’s per year. At some point, I read an article about the hysteria of IPA’s. This triggered the idea of coming out with a series of beers that had names inspired by the track titles from the Def Leppard album Hysteria. I decided that after all the “Best IPA” awards Armageddon had been winning, was it possible to make the recipe better. The Hysteria IPA’s are based on the Armageddon recipe with mostly changes to the hops at this stage. Rocket IPA focuses on a couple of the Armageddon hops, Centennial and Columbus. It is a learning process, and I’ve got a feeling that I may have overdone the Columbus hops in this batch. It is going to be a love it or hate it beer. The main character I have gotten so far off initial tastes is big diesel fuel. I’ll leave that up to you to decide. A couple of other interesting points about the label. The reference to “let’s light this candle” comes from astronaut John Glenn who was the first American to orbit the earth. Sadly he died December 8th last year, around the time I was creating the beer. We originally had Rocket scheduled for brewing in January. The odd thing though is that he died in Columbus, Ohio. Odd that the town has the same name as the hops used. Anyway get out and taste it as soon as you can as we have sent a bit to Australia and the volume we got out of the brewery was less than expected, so I’m sure It will run out long before I’ve tried it enough times. The Hysteria IPA releases are single batch only.


Launching on 28 April 2017 at Vultures. 500ml bottle stock will launch into the NZ wild from 1 May 2017.

Here’s the video from Rocket’s Launch at Vultures Lane.

Better Brewing Better Beer

April 19th, 2017 Posted by BetterBrewingBetterBeer, Uncategorized 1 comment

The purpose of this blog is to essentially help you get the most out of your beer experiences; From buying, drinking or brewing. After all, life is too short for bad beer.

Is there anything in particular that you’d like to know more about? Please comment below and we’ll do our best to answer your question or add a feature for you.


One thing that Luke is asked often is why some beer doesn’t seem to retain it’s head. This can easily be blamed on a issue in carbonation or a potential fault in your beer, however it could be as simple as the glass you’re drinking from hasn’t been washed and rinsed properly.

Beer foam is important – it influences how your beer tastes, smells and looks. There is a protein that exists in beer that occurs naturally in barley called Lipid Transfer Protein 1, or LTP1, which latches onto CO2 in the brewing and bottling/ kegging process. Allan Wolfe has written an awesome article on the science of foam – check it out.

We thought we’d show you the effects of trace detergent in a beer glass. We had 2 identical glasses that were filled with two Hop Zombies from the exact same batch. Both glasses were washed in hot water then dried, however one glass was rinsed well in hot water before being dried. Check out what happened:

As you can see, there is a clear difference in the head retention on the beer in the glass that wasn’t washed and rinsed properly. Even after Luke took a sip of his delicious foam-retained Hop Zombie, the un-rinsed glass’s foam was visibly struggling in comparison. Here’s the Luke’s eye view:

As you can see, the glass on the right has barely any foam retention. F**k you, detergent.

You could try this experiment yourself, but we don’t want you to waste any of your beer. Enjoy your beer!

Got any comments or suggestions? Is there anything that you’d like to know about? Comment below!

Armageddon IPA Wins AGAIN!

April 2nd, 2017 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

Armageddon IPA has done it again – WINNER BEST IPA 2017 New World Beer & Cider Awards

I’m sure you have tried this before, but we thought you had better try it again as it has just won the Best IPA again for the second consecutive year at the New World Beer & Cider Awards. This is on top of winning Best IPA the last two years at the Brewers Guild Beer Awards 2015 & 2016. Plus winning Best IPA at the 2015 Australian International Beer Awards and the 2015 Stockholm Beer & Whisky Festival. That is seven Best in Class trophies in just over two years. You can see why Michael Donaldson has also named this as the #1 beer in his Top 50 Greatest Beers in New Zealand.

Read the judges comments here.

The list of accolades for Epic Armageddon 
2017 BEST IPA – New World Beer & Cider Awards
2016 #1 Greatest Beer in New Zealand – Michael Donaldson, Beer Writer of the Year 2016
2016 #1 Best Beer of 2016 – Neil Miller, Beer Writer of the Year 2015
2016 BEST IPA – Brewers Guild of NZ Beer Awards
2016 GOLD IPA – Australian International Beer Awards
2016 BEST IPA – New World Beer Awards
2015 BEST IPA – NZ Beer Awards
2015 BEST IPA – Australian International Beer Awards
2015 BEST IPA – Stockholm Beer & Whiskey Festival
2013 BEST IPA – Systembolaget Sweden
2012 BEST BEER – NZ Beer Awards
2011 BEST IPA – NZ Beer Awards
2010 BEST Barrel Aged IPA – NZ Beer Awards
2009 BEST IPS – NZ Beer Awards




Roxanne: The Dawn of a New Beer

March 28th, 2017 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

We’ve brought back the Red IPA.

Following the success of Eric The Red, here’s the follow up Red IPA: Roxanne.
Inspired by the Viking nautical theme of Eric, Roxanne is a Persian name meaning “Dawn” and the reference of “red sky in the morning sailors take warning”.
Even though we refer to the dawn and morning time, it doesn’t imply that this is a breakfast beer. Then again there are no rules when it comes to drinking beer as tasty as this.
A wonderful amber red colour, which comes from the specialty malts, but used in a way that the isn’t overly malty. The malt delivers a sweet caramelly malt note that marries perfectly with the fruity hops, and highlighted with the piney character from the Centennial hops.

About the beer:
ABV: 6.5
IBU: 30
Malts: Pale Ale, Speciality Malts.
Hops: US Centennial, US Simcoe

New Zealand: 500ml bottle and keg. Launching 1 April 2017. This will start hitting the shelves in the first week of April.
Australia: 500ml bottles. Shipment leaving NZ mid April, should get to you early May.

Launch events:
1 April, Lumsden Freehouse, Auckland

6 April, Basque Rooftop Bar, Wellington

6 April, Volstead Trading Company, Christchurch


Beers & BBQ at New Hoplands – What a Day!

March 20th, 2017 Posted by Uncategorized 1 comment

Firstly, a big thanks to everyone that could make it to our event at New Hoplands on Saturday, we had a blast and it looks like you all did to. Special thanks also to Colin, Alana and the team at New Hoplands for your hospitality. Thanks also to Proper Crisps for the snacks and FreshChoice Richmond for picking out the tastiest food for the BBQ. We’re stoked that we were able to kick off the very first Nelson Beer Week.

Check out how it went:

Couldn’t make it? Never fear. Next year it’s going to be bigger, better and easier to get to New Hoplands! Make sure you sign up to our mailing list now so we can keep you updated on our events. We’ll even send you news and special offers – how good is that!

Cheers – Luke & Team Epic

New Hop Product – Lupulin Powder

March 8th, 2017 Posted by Hops, News, Uncategorized No Comment yet

Lupulin is a brand new product for us from YCH Hops in the US. Watch this video to find out a bit more about it.


Son of Thor IPA

February 27th, 2017 Posted by Uncategorized 1 comment

This is the offspring beer from the mighty Thor Imperial IPA

Thor was a huge success last year. We got great feedback, but with some saying that at 8.8% was a bit big. So for those people, we have listened and here is a beer slightly less intense but still a powerhouse of hops inspired by Thor.

This beer still has the massive dank dry hop character, but the malt, colour and alcohol lighter; Therefore delivering the powerful hop aroma and hop flavour without the weight of the alcohol and body of Thor.
Nelson Sauvin and Simcoe are the power couple in this marriage of bright hoppy awesomeness. Sweaty and fruity aroma, light body, sweet fruity flavour, and medium bitter finish.
It is an IPA from Epic. Which is probably all we need to say right? You know it is going to deliver a massive attack of hops on your olfactory system.


About the beer:

ABV: 6.8%
IBU: 50
HOPS: Nelson Sauvin & US Simcoe

Launch Event – Lumsden Freehouse, 3 March 2017

Availability: 500ml bottles and keg launching in NZ in early March.

Case offers

February 27th, 2017 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

Armageddon Case

12 x 500ml bottles

Style: IPA

ABV: 6.66%






Hop Zombie Case

12 x 500ml bottles

Style: Double IPA

ABV: 8.5%





St. Luke Case

12 x 500ml bottles

Style: IPA

ABV: 7%





Thunder APA

12 x 500ml bottles

Style: American Pale Ale

ABV: 5.7%






Imperium Vintage Ale

12 x 500ml bottles

Style: Stout

ABV: 9%





The Observer Timeless Ale

12 x 500ml bottles

Style: Old Ale

ABV: 9.7%


Stone Hammer Strikes Again!

February 20th, 2017 Posted by New Beer, Uncategorized No Comment yet

Yes, the IPA in of the series of beers with the same name is coming back!

For those of you who have forgotten, or whose memory of it has been drowned in a sea of subsequent freaking awesome Epic beers, this may jot your memory:

In the spirit of an Epic beer, this IPA is seriously hop forward. Some say like a punch in the face. Its big and its aggressive, but in a “could I have another one kind” of way.
Your tongue will be slayed by the massive attack of Citra, Mosaic and Simcoe hops creates an incredible aroma of citrus and tropical fruit. The intense juicy hop oils envelop your palate with grapefruit and passionfruit flavours. The body has a sweet malt character that drives the hop flavours and subsides to a zinging hop bitterness.

Or as our mate Neil Miller put it so eloquently at it’s launch at the GKBF in 2016:

More about the beer:
ABV: 7.0%
IBU: 60
EBC (SRM): 15

(Re) Launch: The Lumsden Freehouse, 3 March 2017
We’ll keep you updated here heading into the wilds of NZ on 1 March.



Beers, BBQ and Hops

February 15th, 2017 Posted by Events, Hops, Uncategorized No Comment yet

SOLD OUT! We’ve tried to accomodate as many extra people as possible – we’ve doubled the number – but we’ve really hit the limit! This has had a lot more interest than anticipated, so we’ll organise another one next year. Make sure you’re signed up to our mailing list and we’ll let you know when it’s happening. For those who are coming, we’re super excited to get amongst the hops with you!

To help celebrate Nelson Beer Week, we’re inviting you to join us at New Hoplands to enjoy some beers and a BBQ in the sunshine amongst the hops. You’ll also be able to go on a tour of the working hop farm to get a unique insight to the New Zealand hop harvest.

Where: New Hoplands, 362 Tadmor Valley Road, Tapawera

When: Saturday 18 March, 12 – 5pm

Cost: Nothing!

What’s the catch?: We’ve got limited spaces – 20 max – so please RSVP to as soon as possible. R18.

How to get there: New Hoplands is about an hour’s drive from Nelson or 45 minutes from Motueka.

Google Maps

We hope to see you there!



Rays of Sunshine

February 13th, 2017 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

We’ve just seen a nice write up on Hopshine Pale Ale by Drinksbiz Magazine – thanks guys.

Epic Hopshine Sunny Pale Ale

The absolute stand-out of this issue’s beer report, Epic Hopshine Sunny Pale Ale is exactly what it purports to be on the label: a glassful of Sunshine. With an aroma of Queen peaches, the golden brew is grassy and really does taste of sunshine, without being overly fruity. With just one sip your spirits lift and you’re transported to a sun-dappled meadow, cicadas buzzing and swallows swooping. Balanced and versatile, this is a brew that will gain many adherents – an exceptional summer-time ale.

Not long to go until the New Zealand Hop Harvest!

February 9th, 2017 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

On Wendesday 8 February, Luke visited the Plant and Food Research‘s trail hops plot in Motueka as part of the Hop Research Committee. Here’s a short video showing how the New Zealand hops are progressing. The hop harvest isn’t far away at all!

February Special Offers

February 7th, 2017 Posted by Uncategorized 4 comments

We’ve got some sweet special offers for you this month – check these out:

The best EPIC beers of Summer:

Hopshine Pale Ale (5.5%)

St. Luke Milestone Ale IPA (7%)

Loral Lager (5.5%)

LaRger Imperial Pilsner (8.5%)

$99 – BUY NOW




12 Mix pack:
Pale Ale (5.5%)
Lager (5%)
Hop Zombie DIPA (8.5%)
Loral Lager (5.5%)
Hopshine Pale Ale (5.5%)
Thunder APA (5.4%)
Awakening Pils (5.2%)
Imperium Vintage Ale (9%)
The Observer Timeless Ale (9.7%)
LaRger Imperial Pilsner (8.5%)
$99 – BUY NOW


*We can only ship within New Zealand.
Sorry overseas Epic fans – get our 11th birthday t-shirt instead!

Rooster Double Hoppy Strong Lager

February 2nd, 2017 Posted by New Beer, Uncategorized 1 comment

Rooster is a one-off beer that coincidently releases on the week of the Chinese New Year – the year of the Rooster. This is a keg only release, keep an eye on our Facebook & Twitter as we’ll let you know where you can get some.

Keg only – Special release.

Style: Lager

ABV: 6.8%
IBU: 45
New Zealand Pacific Jade
US Liberty, Santiam & Amarillo
Malt: Premium Pils

Where we’ve sent kegs:
Wellington: Regional Wines & SpiritsFork & Brewer, Bruhaus and Moon Bar.
Auckland: Brewers Cooperative, Brew On Quay, The Lumsden, Hallertau, The Beer Spot, Artwok Takapuna, Liquorland Newmarket and Bird on a Wire.
Hamilton: Craft Hamilton, Hamilton Wine Co.

Any additional locations will be added as they know that kegs have been sent out.


Champagne d’Geddon

February 1st, 2017 Posted by New Beer, Uncategorized 2 comments

Champagne d’Geddon is an Experimental Beer – Epic Armageddon IPA made with fermented Sauvignon Blanc grape juice from Marlborough.

ABV: 9.1%

Keg only.

Launch Events
Auckland: 16 Tun, 9 February 2017

Wellington: The Malthouse, 15 February 2017

Notes from Luke:

“So this was a crazy idea that kind of just happened. Thinking about how to level up Armageddon IPA in a unique way. Why not add some grape juice? Other breweries around the world have tried it. What would you add as a NZ brewery? Well it has to be what we are most famous for right? Yup! Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.

It is different. It is 9.1% abv. It seems to taste alright. The test will be on Thursday, to see if we can drink a whole pint. Come join me and let’s try this experimental beer together. Only available in a very limited number of kegs.”

Great Kiwi Beer Festival 2017

January 23rd, 2017 Posted by Events, News, Uncategorized No Comment yet

We’re looking forward to an awesome event this year. We’ll be sharing a stand again with our cuzzies from Hop Federation under the House of Nicholas banner.

Luke and Simon will also be taking the 3PM seminar where they’ll be talking about our collabs as well as all things beer.

Here’s the Epic line-up for the event:
St. Luke Milestone Ale (IPA).

Hop Zombie DIPA

Son of Thor IPA

Hop Shine Pale Ale

Thunder APA

One Trick Pony: Loral Lager

Volstead Tap Takeover
If you can’t make it to the GKBF, come and see us on Friday Night at Volstead for the House of Nicholas Tap Takeover.

See you in Christchurch!

Celebrating 20 Years of Brewing

January 15th, 2017 Posted by New Beer, Uncategorized 1 comment

Did you know that the 17th of January marks the 20th Anniversary of Luke’s brewing career? To celebrate, we’ll be launching St Luke Milestone Ale.

A career spanning 20 years, highlighted by a continuous stream of trophies from three of New Zealand’s most influential beers.

Monk’s Habit, Epic Pale Ale and Epic Armageddon IPA.

3x Supreme Champion Beer of NZ, 30 Best in Class trophies. Brewer of the year. New Zealand’s best beer. Brewers Guild of NZ Honorary Member.

An Honour and privilege to be part of the development and growth of NZ craft beer industry.

This beer takes my favourite parts of each of these three beers to make this one special batch.

About the beer:
Style: IPA
ABV: 7.0%
IBU: 55
Hops: US Cascade, Columbus & Mosaic
Malts: UK Pale Ale & Crystal
Serving: Keg & 500ml bottles
Launching at the Epic 2017 Boat Party, followed by The Lumsden Freehouse, Vultures Lane, The Brewers Co-operative, Malthouse and Brew on Friday (20 January) night.


Forget about old St Nicholas, it’s time for St Luke.

While Christmas is done and dusted for another year, the New Year promises a gift of its own with the upcoming release of a beer named in honour of St Luke, the patron saint of brewers.

The beer is designed by Luke Nicholas of Epic Brewing to mark the 20th anniversary of his first day as a brewer: January 17, 1997, when he started at now defunct Cock & Bull as an assistant to Ben Middlemiss.

The beer Nicholas has created pays tribute to a trinity of multi-award winning beers that have defined his career and which have helped revolutionise the industry in New Zealand: Monk’s Habit, Epic Pale Ale and Epic Armageddon IPA.

Monk’s Habit is regarded fondly by Kiwi beer aficionados. It briefly started life as a Belgian-style beer along the lines of Chimay Blue.

But when Nicholas took over as head brewer at the Cock & Bull he changed the recipe to an American-style hoppy ale inspired by Sierra Nevada’s Celebration Ale.

Monk’s Habit – a rich, hoppy beer that benefited from eight weeks of dry-hopping – a went on to win the Supreme Champion award at the inaugural New Zealand International Beer Awards in 1999. Two years later, it was again named New Zealand’s Supreme Champion.

With the sale of the Cock & Bull chain a few years ago, it has gone out of existence.

When Nicholas started Epic, it didn’t take long for Epic Pale to also be named Supreme Champion at NZIBA in 2006, while Epic Armageddon is the most-awarded beer in the history of the Brewers Guild of New Zealand Awards which replaced NZIBA in 2007.

In his 20 years, Nicholas has picked up around 30 best in class trophies. He has also been named New Zealand’s brewer of the year and was bestowed honorary membership by the Brewers Guild for his outstanding service to the industry.

“It’s an honour and a privilege to be part of the development and growth of the New Zealand craft beer industry,” Nicholas says.

“To celebrate those two decades, I’ve created a beer that takes my favourite parts of Monk’s Habit, Epic Pale and Epic Armageddon to make this one special batch.

“I really enjoy the malt character from Monk’s Habit and I love the Cascade hops in Epic Pale Ale – I’ve used more Cascade than anyone in this country – and then I’ve brought in a couple of secret hops from Armageddon that really make that beer special.”

St Luke promises to be a revelation – by Michael Donaldson

I was raised in a devout Catholic family … walking away from it all when I turned 18, much to my mother’s distress, was one of the harder things I’d done at that short point in my life. After all, the church’s modus operandi is to drill into you the fact you’re hell-bound unless you keep up those rituals.

But a lot of the doctrine has stayed with me – including the names of many patron saints and the people, occupations or countries they advocate for. Most prominent in our house was St Jude, patron saint of lost causes – my mother was always praying to him. Then there was St Christopher (travellers), Francis of Assisi (animals) and our Lady of Loreto (aviators – my dad was a pilot).

But I was never told there were patrons saints of brewing. There’s at least five of them which just proves what a noble calling it is to make beer.

St Augustine I can understand – he being something of a wild drunk before his conversion; and St Arnold was a Belgian monk and brewer who saved his local parish during an epidemic by encouraging them to drink beer rather than infected water. There are others who claim the mantle of being a patron of brewers but most notable among them is St Luke, the same fellow who wrote one of the four gospels.

It’s thought St Luke takes on brewery because he was a physician, and, you know, beer is healthy. Right?

Next week, a beer bearing the name of St Luke hits the shelves and it promises to be something of a revelation.

The beer has been created by Luke Nicholas of Epic Brewing to celebrate his 20 years of brewing. The release date is January 17, commemorating the day in 1997 when Nicholas started his first paying gig as an assistant brewer at the gone, but not forgotten, Cock & Bull chain.

And the beer brings together three of the revolutionary beers Nicholas is best known for: Monk’s Habit, Epic Pale Ale, and Epic Armageddon IPA.

Quite how Nicholas will bring together three beers into something of a holy trinity remains to seen, or tasted.

Kiwi beer aficionados get a little misty-eyed when they talk about Monk’s Habit. It briefly started life as Belgian strong ale in the style of Chimay Blue but when Nicholas took over as head brewer at the Cock & Bull he changed the recipe to an American-style hoppy ale inspired by Sierra Nevada’s Celebration Ale. That version of Monk’s Habit was twice named New Zealand’s supreme champion beer (1999, 2001), an honour that also went to Epic Pale Ale in 2006, while Armageddon remains New Zealand’s most awarded beer.

Nicholas says St Luke will have some of the malt character from Monk’s Habit, the citrus and rosewater character of the US Cascade hops used in Epic Pale Ale and some of the “secret” hops from Armageddon.

No matter how it comes together, it’s sure to be tasty. That’s the gospel truth.

Changing Times

While Armageddon and Pale Ale are still the flagship beers in the Epic stable, Nicholas has been getting adventurous lately. First, there was the Stone Hammer series which delivered slightly sweeter styles (or at least perceived to be sweeter thanks to the avalanche of late hopping).

And his next off-beat project is a series of IPAs based around tweaking the Armageddon recipe. The Hysteria series is named for a Def Leppard album, and the first beer was Gods Of War, the title of a track off that album. So watch out for Rocket, Run Riot, Animal, Excitable and Pour Some Sugar On Me.

While the range will explore what can be done when you tweak a multi-award-winning recipe, Nicholas is committed to doing everything he can to get flavour out of hops, malt and yeast rather than play with adjuncts to create flavour. It’s a simplicity he thinks will come back into fashion when punters get tired of various fruits and spices in their beer.

“When I think back to 20 years ago when I started, it was all about making real beers … as opposed to, I won’t call it chemical beer because that was such a dumb term, but beers made with processing aids and post-fermentation additives; industrial beers. Craft beer was about making it with malts, hops, yeast and water.

“Then people started adding stuff like grapefruit and chili … I don’t know if that’s sustainable or if it will last longer than a generation because it becomes too gimmicky and people won’t want to keep drinking a mango-chili-pineapple IPA … yeah, it’s nice but I don’t want to drink it all the time.

“All those people looking for the next new thing and writing notes … and I know what it’s like because I went through that phase myself … they will a reach place when they will ask themselves: ‘hang on why do I do I drink beer?’. Yes, it’s the taste and the flavour but more importantly it’s the social factor.

“You drink beer with your mates … beer has always been a social lubricant, it hasn’t been about ticking boxes and trying the next one. It’s fallen out of balance and it has to come back. Yes, you can enjoy the beer but the point is not to sit there all night and pull apart your pint to work out the malt and hops … talk about that for a couple of sips but not for the whole pint.

“The point of beer is to bring us together to have a conversation and have some fun.”

Nicholas can see a new wave of beer that “comes back to simplicity – not quite reinheitsbegot [German purity law] but beer made with the four basic ingredients.”

As for Nicholas himself? Nothing’s going to change: “I love IPA and I love hops. I want to be remembered for making IPAs. Good IPAs. And I want to keep that message simple and clear – Epic is a one trick pony but you know what the message is.”

Hopshine: Sunshine in a Bottle

January 8th, 2017 Posted by New Beer, Uncategorized 5 comments

2017 Re-Launch – 9 October 

Team Epic is back on deck, and there’s no better way to celebrate than releasing a new beer to get things rolling.

Introducing Hopshine Pale Ale.

Think about all the stuff you love most about summer; Sitting in the warm sun with a delicious cold beer, with the smell of sunscreen and the sound of cicadas in the background. We wanted to design the best beer for times like this, and we think this is it.

Made with German ale malts and US grown Cascade and Mosaic hops, this beer is inspired by drinking a great beer in the sun. Having made heaps of great IPA’s in 2016, some thought has been given to a beer that is a bit lighter in alcohol and bitterness, but keeping that signature Epic hoppiness. We are letting the hops shine, under the sunshine.

Aroma of mango, passionfruit and citrus. A flavour that is tropical juice married with a slightly caramel maltiness, and a light bitter finish.

ABV: 5.5%
IBU: 30

Launching at Vultures Lane on Thursday 12 January.

500ml bottle stock is launching this week (9 January).

Which Glass for Which Beer?

December 19th, 2016 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

In 2016 we’ve spent a bit of time investigating how to get the most out of different beers and beer styles with different glassware. Off the bat, it’s safe to say that glassware really does make a difference. Here’s a bit of footage of some of the arduous research that we’ve done for you.

Check out the range of glassware from Spiegelau – we’ve matched some of our classics with their glassware:

You’ll be surprised about the difference glassware makes to your beers. Get a set and have fun!

Im the new year we’ll start outlining some of the specifics and science around this, so stay tuned.

Build Our Hops a Home!

November 21st, 2016 Posted by Hops, Uncategorized No Comment yet

I’m sure you’ve been closely following the progress of #MyLittleHopGarden, so you’ll know that our precious little (but growing out of control) hop plants need a proper home, with the support structure that they need.

How would you like to build us a hop support frame?

What we need:
In an ideal world, we would love to turn the soil and plant our hops. The reality is that our Onehunga ‘soil’ mostly comprises of gravel, rusty nuts and bolts and probably an impressive array of chemicals. Our hops are staying in their pots.

Here is what we’d need if we had the “Ideal World” location (image from a brilliant article from YCH Hops on how to grow hops at home – check it out).

  • We need a frame wide and tall enough to support our hop plants
  • We’ll need to be able to move the frame

If you’d like to design and build our hop support in exchange for a fun day with us plus payment in beer, email your ideas and details through to

We look forward to hearing from you.

New Addition to the One Trick Pony Stud

November 14th, 2016 Posted by News, Uncategorized No Comment yet

Welcome Epic Loral Smashy Lager!


About the beer:
Loral is a brand new hop release from the US, previously know as HBC291. Of noble heritage, it straddles the fence between old and new world hop aromatics. We felt the characteristics of this hop would be best showcased in a lager style.
With a traditional malt base of German Pilsner malt, it leaves a clean malt cushion in the background, with a pleasant floral citrus and slightly herbal aroma, and a noble hop flavour and balanced clean bitter finish.

ABV: 5.5%
IBU: 20
HOPS: Loral

NZ Wide from mid-November 2016 in keg and 500ml bottles. Any updates will be posted here.

Liquor Land Mount Maunganui Growler Station – 16 November 2016


My Little Hop Garden

November 3rd, 2016 Posted by Hops, News, Uncategorized 1 comment


On Friday 3 March, we finally harvested #MyLittleHopGarden. Here’s how the day went:

It’s not over, however… Now we have to decide what to do with the hops!

DAY 115

Hop harvest time is in our sights!

DAY 111

After over a day of persistent rain…

They hops’ aroma has started to change from ultra-green celery like to what we’d expect from hops. We were considering harvesting the hops this week, but we’ll have to wait for them to dry out a bit now.

DAY 108

We clearly didn’t need to pull out the watering can today…

The time to harvest these little beauties is getting closer and closer – we’ll then have to decide what to do with them (putting them in a beer would make most sense, right?). Stay tuned.

DAY 101

It’s really been quite the journey for #MyLittleHopGarden. In spite of a bout of dreadful weather and relentless sou’westers, we’ve finally had a week or so of weather that the hops love: Lots of sun, no wind. It won’t be long until we’ll harvest the hops, we’re looking forward to them developing some sweet hop aromas.

DAY 81

This is a thing of great beauty!

DAY 79

So a lot has happened over the holiday break. It seems that this summer has been quite windy, which as discussed before, does not make hops happy.

Nonetheless, our first hop flowers have developed. Most are still at the “burr” stage, but here are some of the flowers that we have so far:

looking good, eh?

DAY 50

Perhaps the last update until after Christmas. The leading plants have grown about two feet since day 48 – the result of some beautiful sunny days!

DAY 48

Let’s have more of this sunshine! The hops have had a real beating from the wind lately, and they clearly don’t like it. It really is incredible to see how much they grow in one day when the conditions are right.

DAY 47

After a relatively slow growing week (hops hate wind and lack of sunshine), the hops boosted over the sunny weekend. We are going to have to figure out what we’re going to with our scales – these hops are getting up there…

DAY 42

DAY 39


DAY 37

They are over 6 feet high! The leaves and stems have started to get bigger too. They are clearly liking the fertiliser they were given.


DAY 35

DAY 33

The “Ed Scale” is introduced to track the growth of the hops. How long will this be sustainable?!

DAY 28

DAY 23






Check it out – our hop plants are boosting! As you can see, they are starting to grow leaves now, so they’re growth is going to be even faster from now on. Photosynthesis is our friend!
We hope you’re enjoying watching them grow as much as we are.



And they’re off! It’s pretty cool to see the difference that one day makes. All four hop plants have now emerged!


Hop plant 1


Hop plant 2


Hop plant 3


Hop plant 4



The heavy rain showers and sunny weekend clearly paid off for our hops. Check it out – three of the four plants have sprouted!


A few people have asked what we’re feeding them. They are growing in roses mix, which is meant to be best for growing hops in pots. Now that they’ve sprouted they’ll grow like crazy, so we’ll have to sort out their new home under a support structure. We may be looking for some help with building this – stay tuned.


No watering required – plenty of fresh Auckland cloud juice today.

No watering required today!


We’ve got our hands on some New Zealand hop rhizomes! We’re not sure of the variety yet, we’ll let you know as soon as we find out. We’ll be following their progress and keep posting updates for you here.


At this stage, we’ve just put the rhizomes into pots in a sunny sheltered spot. We’ll build a frame to suspend the hop bines in a spot that gets optimal sunlight.


Stay tuned!

Epic Danger Zone – We Love Pomeroy’s.

October 27th, 2016 Posted by Uncategorized 1 comment

Brewed to commemorate the 15th Birthday of Pomeroy’s Pub in Christchurch. Pomeroy’s has been our number one South Island customer since Epic started. So here’s a big “Happy Birthday” Pomeroy’s. Thanks for the support, and here is to another 15 years. Epic loves you.
Style: XPA (Extra Pale Ale)
ABV: 5.5%
IBU: 18
Hops: US Amarillo and Mosaic
Malt: 100% US grown Pale Ale malt.

More about the beer:
Extra pale in colour, a low level of bitterness, but big level of fruity hoppiness on the aroma and flavour. Great beer for summer drinking.

Launch Event:
Saturday 29 October, Pomeroy’s Pub in Christchurch

Where to get it:
Bottle stock has been launched as of 31 October, so should be available early November.


October 17th, 2016 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

When Epic Armageddon took out the trophy for best Strong Pale Ale at the 2016 Brewers Guild of New Zealand Awards last weekend it officially became this country’s most awarded beer.

In the 10 years since the Brewers Guild Awards started in 2007, Epic Armageddon has claimed FIVE trophies – in 2009, 2010 (for the barrel-aged version), 2011, 2015 and 2016.

No other beer has won five trophies. The next most awarded beers, with four trophies each, are Three Boys Oyster Stout (2007, 2010, 2011 and 2014) and Tuatara Hefe (2009, 2011, 2012, 2016).

Winning the Strong Pale Ale (IPA) category for the second year in a row also continued a remarkable run of success for Armageddon around the world over the past 18 months. In that time, it has claimed five major trophies – twice at the Brewers Guild of NZ Awards, the 2015 Australian International Beer Awards, the 2015 Stockholm Beer and Whisky Festival and the 2016 New World Beer and Cider Awards.

Author and journalist Michael Donaldson, who took out his second Beer Writer of the Year trophy at the Brewers Guild of NZ Awards, said the unprecedented five trophies at New Zealand’s premier beer awards was enough to justify Armageddon IPA as New Zealand’s best beer.

“In my job, writing about beer, I’m often asked `what’s New Zealand’s best beer?’. It’s a question I used to dodge. Finally, I have a definitive answer: Epic Armageddon IPA,” Donaldson said.

“It’s hard to argue with the fridge-full of awards this beer has picked up over a prolonged period and in different parts of the world. Quite simply, it’s incomparable.”

Best beer in New Zealand

Luke with another trophy to add to the collection.

Brewer Luke Nicholas was delighted with yet another the trophy. “I was actually quite emotional,” Nicholas said of the award. “When it won a fourth trophy inside a year at the New World awards I didn’t think it could get any better than that. I’ve now literally run out of adjectives to describe how proud I feel. “Beer awards, especially in the fiercely-contested IPA category, can often feel like a lottery so the fact Armageddon consistently comes out on top proves just how good it is.”

2016 BEST IPA – NZ Beer Awards
2016 BEST IPA – New World Beer Awards
2015 BEST IPA – NZ Beer Awards
2015 BEST IPA – Australian International Beer Awards
2015 BEST IPA – Stockholm Beer & Whiskey Festival
2013 BEST IPA – Systembolaget, Sweden
2012 BEST BEER IN NZ – Beer & Brewer Magazine
2011 BEST IPA – NZ Beer Awards
2009 BEST IPA – NZ Beer Awards

Welcome back, LaRger!

October 12th, 2016 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

Think back ages and ages ago… 2011, even.

Tigers. Balls of Twine. Pyramids. Waimea Bay waves. Ohakune Carrots.
Some things are meant to be big. Flavours. Aromas. Beer.
The list is large but we thing it should be bigger.
There is a time and place for subtlety, for a delicate touch.
This is not one of them. Turning the amplifier up to eleven?
Yeah, that’s it.

YES – Epic LaRger Imperial Pilsner is back!


More about the beer
Beer style: Imperial Pilsner
ABV: 8.5 (Caution!! Very easy to drink!!)
IBU: 80
Made with German Pilsner malt, US grown hop varieties with German parentage of noble heritage. Extra pale in colour, floral/herbal aroma, herbal hops and malt sweetness dominate the flavour, with a cleansing snapping bitter finish.

Where you can get it:
At this stage, only at The Brewer’s Co-operative first birthday party. We’ll keep you posted.

Epic Dankomatic IPA – Full of Alligators.

October 11th, 2016 Posted by New Beer, News, Uncategorized 1 comment

Like walking the streets of San Francisco in a fog. A flavour shockwave delivering awesome automatic dankness for your pleasurable needs. The reverberating level of fun in your mouth hole snaps shut like a wet green alligator in a technicolour dreamcoat. Synthesthesia for the masses.

Launch Events:
Friday 14 October – The Brewers Co-op 1st Birthday

Beer Style:
India Pale Ale

More about the beer:
ABV: 7.6%
IBU: 55
Brewed with Nelson Sauvin, Comet and Simcoe hops.

Where and when you can get it:
First launch will be at Brewer’s Co-op – watch this space.

New Zealand

China Travels – First Event in Beijing

September 27th, 2016 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

If you read the post from yesterday titled “How Google Translate turned Luke into a God”, you know how it can be a little tricky to get some of the finer points of what’s happening at the events that Luke is attending on his trip around China. Regardless, it is easy to see that there are a lot of people in China that love our beer – and Luke!

Luke’s first event soon after arriving in Beijing was at Drunk Restaurant, where a group had the opportunity to taste Hop Zombie and Lupulingus and discuss the intricacies of the beer, and no doubt, the importance of the hops in them. Epic fans even had the opportunity to purchase a bottle of the Epic 10/1000 Celebration Ale, an Epic T-shirt, and even get them both signed by Luke himself.

Have a read of the original article here – CHINA CHOICE.

Here are some of Luke’s images from the night.


One of Luke’s Beijing Fans




The serious stuff – discussing the beers.


The custom logo made by imbeer.


Collector’s item?



Another Luke fan…



Stay tuned to follow the rest of Luke’s Journey.


How Google Translate turned Luke into a God.

September 26th, 2016 Posted by Uncategorized 1 comment

Some of you may have seen the WeChat link to an event that Luke will be attending in Changsha. The original article is obviously written in Chinese, so to understand it I had to get a little bit of help from Google Translate.

This is what I got…

Acacia know what day meet God –Epic grade tasting, Luke will meet with

Each master in his field to accomplish something, and when I saw their names will always let me have physiological responses.

For example, see Essay master Mr. Blan name, my mouth will not stop streaming down; see Yang Zhichun name will laugh, like someone pull my armpits, I could not help laughing; when I see when to Cang teacher’s name, I can not help but blush.

And see Luke Nicholas name, not just me, you certainly can smell the aroma from hops aroma mixed with mango, guava and other tropical fruits. Because he is a hops to play to the extreme beer master.


Luke is New Zealand’s top craft breweries EPIC owner and chief winemaker.

EPIC winery is one of the world’s top ten by media authority judges wineries, top-ranked New Zealand winery, the following is part of the honor winery obtained is sufficient to prove the “top” is the word.

BEST of IPA 2016 – New World Beer Awards
2016 BEST PALE the ALE – New World Beer Awards

BEST of IPA, 2015 – NZBeer Awards, 2015 BEST of IPA – International’s Australian Beer Awards, 2015 BEST of IPA, Stockholm Beer & Whiskey Festival

Luke is the beginning of Steaming Brewing Winery most talented winemakers by his leading products are brewed in 1999, 2001 and 2006, won the gold medal in New Zealand’s largest local beer. In 2007, when the winery EPIC brand sold their chief winemaker Luke, and continue to help Luke production.


Luke is internationally recognized New Zealand’s first beer winemaker, and has been invited to participate as judges in 2006 WBC, as well as the 2009 British JD Wetherspoons International Real Ale Festival, New Zealand became the first person to promote the development of craft beer.


Luke and Dogfish head winery boss Sam join the “Discovery” program “craft beer guru”

Luke believes in the New World beer war, “it is the source of all hops” It was his theory, according to his theory produced “Hop Zombie” per 355ml wine on the addition of 50 units of measurement hops. Hops in New Zealand is very unique and little production, Luke is personally go hops park visits and park package under five hop varieties and batches, to ensure its own production.


This is the first visit to Changsha Luke, he will bring his level of God to the big guy a beer tasting, this level of master himself to lead our tasting, this grade level in Changsha and is unique, no more words, September 27 Kazakh number TAPROOM see.

Do check out the original post – Hopefully you can get a better translation than I did. Regardless, it’s awesome to see that our beers and Luke are  really well received in China.


Introducing Epic Gods of War IPA

September 20th, 2016 Posted by New Beer, Uncategorized 4 comments


Following the shock and awe of Armageddon, the world was ignited with hop hysteria.

Relentless cloning, cross pollenating and genetic modification still continues today as the Gods of War battle to the top of the hop mountain.

Launch Events:
Friday 23 September – Vultures Lane 3rd Birthday

Beer Style:
India Pale Ale (funnily enough)

More about the beer:
ABV: 6.7%
IBU: 55
First in the IPA Hysteria series, this IPA showcases American Chinook and Simcoe hops.

Where and when you can get it:
As mentioned above, the first exclusive release will be to help celebrate Vultures Lane’s 3rd Birthday party. All updates will be posted here first.

New Zealand
Australia – dates TBC