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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Roots Epic Ale

Last year, Roots Brewpub had a beer on tap they called "Epic," which quickly became a cult fave. It's back:
The release of the the (second year) Epic Ale is being released on Thurs 12/21. We have a Bitchin new label to bring in the new Epic Ale. The First Epic to be tapped will be last year's Epic Ale, aged for almost 16 months it's going to go fast so get here early. We open at three, Party starts at 6:oo with great music and food. We will start calling out #'s for the Jeroboams ( 3 Litre bottles) at approx. 8:oo so get here early as they go fast!

Cheers!
Craig Nicholls
Roots Organic Brewing Co.
Okay, Craig's a brewer, not a writer, but you get the picture. Those jeraboams he references are selling for a whopping $80 (a mere $.79 an ounce, or $12 a pint), but word is that they immediately go for big bucks on eBay. Anyhoo, that's tomorrow, the coldest, darkest day of the year. Nothing like a 13% beer to warm your belly. (And you can get it cheaper on tap.)

10 comments:

iggi said...

yeah, that was one of the greatest beers ever...

Drucken Blog Troll said...

You know I'm always good for a CRITICAL opinion.... ;-}

For the sake of all that is good and decent in the world of brewing... I hope they learned how to brew a decent beer this year...!

Here was a copy of Roots Commercial description of last years EPIC ALE:


Commercial Description:
We hand smoke 60 pounds of of malt over cherry wood soaked in glenlivet, cognac and cherry juice that lends wonderful smoked toffee and cherry notes both to the palate and the nose and a warm bitter sweet finish. With over 1,700 pounds of malt and 65 pounds of hops make this a truly epic ale.



Sounded interesting, tasted horrible... When I was a young homebrewer I might have experiemented with a beer like this, but as professional brewers....?? I would hope a PILOT batch would be attempted to see the possible result!

My notes from last year read something like this:

"Dark Brown in color. Aroma has hints of Cloying Sweet and Sour notes, mostly of a medicinal cherry and fermine urine."

"Flavor was unbareably cloyingly sweet with hints of intense cherry, wood notes and a horrible montage of liquors! One liquor would of added a nice nuance, but all mixed together is like a child playing in his parents bar cabinet...Likely to be a mess and create something not very tastey...."

"Body was fuzzy and PULPY. Noted barley malt flecks within the beer... Poor racking, transfer or brewing technique. Hop particals are somewhat exceptable, but never malt husks!"

"Finish was so sweet and sour, the only way I could describe was like a poorly mixed salad dressing..."

Overall: Don't quite you day job! For a homebrewer, I would say.... This is very problematic, try less ingredients and hone down the recipe and ingredients used.... Read up on brewing ingredients and acquire a better understanding of how different ingredients work together..This beer is kind of embaressing for professional brewers... Something the big commercial brewers would love taste and then laugh at...

**My review is based on 18 years of judging beer at state and national levels... See "Rate Beer" or "Beer Advocate" for PUBLIC opinions of the Epic ale.... They are not to kind either.... ;-}

Jeff Alworth said...

This is one of the rare beers I don't have a vivid recollection of, but your distaste over Roots is misplaced. Craig is one of the best brewers in the state and easily the most innovative. If you had a top ten list of the most unusual great beers brewed in Oregon, Craig would have brewed eight of them, from his Spring Rose Doppelbock to his Sage festbier to his heather ale -- and probably to Epic.

But don't take my word for it (since you don't take my word for anything). The brewcrew listserv, from whence this was taken, was in full-throated praise of Epic. I can say nothing about your personal experience, but it does fall somewhere outside the normal bell curve for people who enjoyed it last year.

Drucken Blog Troll said...

Ah...Jeff,

This is why I love to read to your blog! I love to keep up on the local info and hear your bias misguided opinions.... ;-}

Now, don't get me wrong... Everyone has a right to an opinion. Personally, I like arguing with your opinions because they are always bias to the Northwest, where I have a more National and International palate.... I know you've traveled as well.. But seeem the NEED to defend any Northwest brewing establishment.... I', not making a judgement call, literally an obvious observation...

I somewhat admire your defenses, although, I belive your beer and brewing knowledge is far better than some of the statements you defend...

Case in point... I don't follow OTHERS opinions. I use MY OWN brain and years of brewing experience and judging to form my opninion, therefor, I don't NEED to '..take your word for it.."

If someone was to TAKE only your word for the quality of certain beers or breweries they would be following an obvious jaded and somewhat bias view of the Northwest brewing establishments... Using your opinions as a guide of direction may be useful, as long as, the reader is allowed to make their own opinion...

In regard to positive reviews of Roots from PROFESSIONAL Judges or otehr Professional Brewers... I can tell you, they admire Roots ambition, but that's where it ends.... If you want to read the opninion of local drinkers you'd find some praises, but that would be an "Out of the Profession"and "Layman." Opinion. If you read even the PUBLIC's opinion on Beer Dvocate or Rate Beer, you'd see a more negative or honest review of the Roots beers...

I personally, had 10 professional brewing friends visit Roots along with me.... The visit was 10 minutes and written off by all as "A lost cause." These 10 brewersrepresent at least 4 different states and have brewed in 8 different states.... some even in the Northwest....

The first obvious Bio flaw with Roots is that the brewers (albiet aggressive) have been trained within the micro system and not educated in the brewing sciences...

per their web sight:

>>Craig Nicholls, started with Rogue, Alameda Brew house, Big Horse and Port Halling Brewing. Nicholls is an innovative Oregon brewer who has a fondness for uncommon ingredients and who believes in brewing organically. He organized the first Northwest Organic Brewers Festival in 2003.

Jason McAdam began brewing professionally forr McMenamins. They met when Nicholls was brewing at Alameda and soon realized they share a common philosophy. >>

We all can read that they have no formal education in the brewing science. Although, Rogue and Alameda are formatable breweries... All promary brewers for those breweries ARE Educated Brewers...


..and McMenamins..... give me a break...

Awaiting your rebuttal!

:-D

Drunken Blog Troll said...

BTW, Jeff....

To my favorite adversary...

Happy Holidays....

Between you and I, we'll entertain the Northwest Blogheads...

Every spectator loves a good fight and carnage ;-}

Jeff Alworth said...

Using your opinions as a guide of direction may be useful, as long as, the reader is allowed to make their own opinion...

Not that I have any control over the opinions of others, but this is of course always true.

To the extent that your opinion may induce others to avoid Roots, however, I'll offer something more. Craig has not only worked as a professional brewer for three breweries, he also consulted for others, including one major brewery in town. Unlike DBT, the reason I can't give the name of this is because I only learned about it when I was consulting for this brewery, and what they brought him in to do was a trade secret.

Many people who read this blog will delight in the very evidence you use to condemn Craig, namely, that he didn't have his soul vacuumed by a place like AB. Poor Craig, finding himself in the company of the likes of The Mad Brewers (de Dolle Brouwers), Frank Boon, Fritz Maytag, John Harris ....

Drucken Blog Troll said...

Jeff,

Will you be going to the Rose and Raindrop this weekend?? It's a SNOB, OBC and other beer literaries day, on Saturday! One last hurrah for the old Rose! I will certainly miss her.... and her casks....

Drunken Blog Troll said...

Oooops! Sorry, Jeff, I'm blogging up this blog...

You were talking about innovative and quality brewers of the Northwest... I would have to say Alan Sprints of Hair fo the Dog has been not only a Northwestern trailblazer of innovation, but an Internationally reknowned quality brewer... His Fred from the wood and Adam from the wood are the book marks of professional brewing, skill and innovation... These beers are masterfully brewed and conditioned, by a true MASTER brewer and innovator of the brewing world... He doesn't just TOSS things together and call it innovation...

Cheers!

Drunken Blog Troll said...

Jeff,

You last entry is funny... You made me laugh..

I'm not talking about Professional brewing as only the big boys.... That would be, uh, too narrow....

I'm speaking of professional educated brewers as those who have been educated at one of the graduate College based Brewing programs; i.e., UC Davis or Seibel in Chicago.

Being trained in the ABC's of brewing in numerous breweries is a limited education in the real brewing world...

If the readers don't understand my angle of quality brewers, I'm speaking from THIS source. Not from the Budmillors commercial end, but from the quality MASTER BREWER trained brewers, whic DO make up most of the Northwest breweries and brewpubs...

The degree of training you are speaking is tutillage recieved from the MASTER Brewers to the hired help brews... The so-called Sous Chef's of the brewing world...

We have Chefs and we have their assistants...We have Master Brewers and then we have THEIR assistants... Unless I've been misled by what I've read from Root's web site and other periodicals, the Roots brewers are the Sous Chefs of the brewing force...

Just like a chef, artist, writer, architect and the like... The ones with the most noteriety come from an educated background...

Here's an idea, Jeff... Find me an article or periodical written by a esteemed beer writer, educated master brewer or the like (That hasn't been paid to promote!) that praises Roots beers and then can continue with our discusion...

To make it real valid, it should be an out of state, non-bias Northwesterner, but I'll take a quality beer or brewing personality.. Fred would do, but I already know his opinion... and he wouldn't help your arguement :-O

OTOH, I saw they have 5 Holiday releases! Gee! That's overly ambitious, in a carefree overconfident way... Maybe we should meet at Roots, informal with no fanfare and check them out together... Maybe, we can both learn something.... I'm always open to giving Roots a forth or fifth try...

iggi said...

well, drucken, i call you on Roots...i've been to several breweries on Oregon - the big, the small - and Roots is by far one of my favorites. Rogue is probably first on my list (for a myriad of reasons), but within Portland proper, Roots reigns supreme.

while the pub itself leaves a bit to be desired, Roots beers are excellent. if i lived a little closer, i'd be there on a daily basis.

of course, i'm no brewing expert - but i knows what i like.

one more thing: brewing degrees don't mean squat. i've seen college educated brewers that couldn't brew their way out of a wet paper bag. give me a good homebrew anyday.

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