Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Summit EPA -- Minnesota in a Glass

If anyone has ever heard me say that I didn't want to put Extra Pale Ale on tap, I want you to know that it is not because I don't like the beer; rather that I was more inclined to offer a beer that wasn't available in every other bar and restaurant in the Twin Cities. I wanted to be different. For the record, I love this beer. In fact, I've probably drank more Summit EPA than all other beers combined. Summit's EPA has been the defining backbone of the craft beer movement in Minnesota. Among beer aficionados, the topic of EPA and it's place in today's beer scene comes up often. In my opinion, there is no beer that better represents Minnesota than this one.

An amber-gold hue reflects a richer, fuller body than the west coast equivalents.  In Minnesota we like our hops, but they absolutely need to be coupled with a fuller malt character because, honestly, the weather here tends to suck for half a year.  Pale gold, crisp beers just don't have the fortitude needed to survive here year-round. The hops give you the spice that you need after a long day of work and driving to the pub in 2 feet of snow, but do not overpower such that you cannot drink it on a summer day at a backyard BBQ. Incidentally, it also tastes good while you're blogging!

Some quasi-craft beer enthusiasts complain that Summit is not craft beer. I cannot stress how wrong they are. To qualify, these are usually the same type of people that only drink over-the-top big flavor beers and do not appreciate a balanced one. Balance is the most important element in your beers and please do not forget that. I met Summit owner Mark Stutrud as well as many of the employees at Summit and let me tell you that they have a great team. I've never seen a group of coworkers assemble with such support as they did for the release of the Unchained #15 Fest Bier.  This company is proud of their craft and have produced amazing beers with almost 30 years experience and have continued to up the ante with highly successful releases like the Unchained Series, Union Series and their new seasonal -- Rebellion Stout. They also have offered support and advice to lots of other Minnesota breweries and are friends, not competitors.

All in all, I want people to continue to push boundaries and experiment with the new ideas in the beer world, but don't forget that tried and true is tried and true for a reason.

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