For the second installment of Brew for Thought, I want to introduce you to what has become a Minnesotan classic: Summit EPA. As I started getting into craft beer I began to acquire a taste for more robust malty flavors, but hops were still too bold for me. Soon I wanted to venture over to the other side of the beer flavor spectrum and find something hoppy and enjoyable; that’s where Summit EPA came in. It pours a golden red with a substantial head and aromas of flowers and citrus and it lacks the bitterness that can turn away beer drinkers who are just getting into pale ales, finishing clean and slightly dry.
This is a wonderful example of what a pale ale is meant to be: a sessionable beer with enough boldness to challenge the casual beer drinker’s palate, perfect for a pint at the pub after work or grilling out on a summer day. I’m not the only one who agrees, Summit EPA took home the gold medal at the 2010 Brewer’s Association World Beer Cup for the best English-style pale ale (just one of many medals for this formidable brew). It’s the kind of beer that opens the door to the rest of the hop-filled beer world and is always there when you’ve become too adventurous for your own taste buds and need something familiar and delicious.
Summit EPA is their flagship beer and has been their baby since the brewery opened in 1986 and it’s hard to find any beer-drinker in the Twin Cities today who hasn’t had a pint of EPA. My advice, just make sure you’re not the last to try it.
Best Enjoyed: Cold and in a glass to let the hop aromas breathe.
Food Pairing: It pairs well with a blue cheese Juicy Lucy and curds or a nice filet of breaded walleye with a lemon wedge and green beans.
Where to find it: Most bars, restaurants, and liquor stores in Minnesota, as well as select locations across the Midwest, Texas, Florida, and Pennsylvania, and yes, even New Jersey.