1/31/20: Epic Brewing Company's Lemon Bomb

10:50 AM

It's cold and rainy here. Like, freezing rain rainy. It snowed last night and we're due for some more tonight. When I think of January in southern Ohio, this is the kind of weather I envision--drab and dour.

So I'm fighting back against the seasonal depression that's particularly severe on days like this. No, not with hygge, but with a burst of summer. I've got Piper's Summer Breeze pumping through my speakers. The heat's on in the house. I have a Lemon Bomb in the fridge, ready to be broken into. Take that, winter.

The Lemon Bomb I'm about to drink was crafted by the fine folks over at Epic Brewing. The brewery, founded in Utah in 2009, was created for a single purpose: To make high-ABV beers. At the time of their inception, any beer in Utah stronger than 4% ABV needed by be sold in a state-controlled liquor store. Although Utah's upped that limit to 5% ABV since, Epic didn't wait around. They moved to Colorado in 2013, where they've churned out beers that regularly reach double-digit ABV since.

Given the brewery's mission to make boozy beers, it's a little funny that today's brew, a Tart N Juicy sour IPA, clocks in at a low enough ABV that it's able to be sold anywhere in Utah (that's 5%, for those who skipped the last paragraph). Lemon Bomb's chock-full of hops, lactobacillus, and real lemon juice. Epic says it's "...like sunshine for your mouth." Again: Take that, winter.

Before going further, I'll let you know that my can has a best by date of 12/24/20 listed on the bottom. The colors on the label bled a bit after simply sitting in my fridge for a month, so it's looking a little rough. Let's see how it is a month after its expiry date. 

The nose on this thing is all lemon zest--it's like lemonade that hasn't been tempered by any sugar additions. It's bright and summery. Given that it's an IPA older than its prime, I was worried that it would have skunked. I'm happy that's not the case. In fact, I'm not finding any hops in the bouquet--just pure, unadulterated sour. Purrl gave my can five whiffs, indicating its a little too sour for her delicate cat nose.

That lemon zest is front and center in the ale's flavor profile. The hops are much more present here, to boot. They serve to ground the ale a little, keeping it from being overwhelmingly sour. Because, without the hops, Lemon Bomb would definitely be overwhelmingly sour. The combination of lemon juice and lacto, if left alone, would absolutely encroach upon the "too much" territory. But the hops, somewhat piney here, work perfectly to keep this ale drinkable. 

Lemon Bomb's mouthfeel is that of an IPA: mildly carbonated and crushable to a fault. This would be a killer summertime app.

One of my favorite things to do when the weather's warm is to set up the hammock outside and lay on it for a while. I bring my phone, some sunscreen, a beer, and my shades out with me and just mellow in the sun for an hour or so, dozing to the sound of lawnmowers running in the distance, birds singing in nearby trees, or insects humming over the grass. This summer, I'm hoping I can find some fresh Lemon Bombs to bring out with me to those hammock sessions.

I specifically said fresh Lemon Bombs because, let's face it, I took a big gamble today. Drinking an IPA a month after it's expired is a fool's errand. Luckily, the ale I have here is still pleasant, but it's definitely  not fresh. I get the sense that it's on the cusp of turning and I'm glad I didn't postpone this post any longer. 

As it stands, I'm giving Epic's Lemon Bomb, as I have it today, an 8.0/10. The ale's succeeded in moving me into a summertime mindset. I'm excited to see what it's like fresh (I bought this can for cheap after it'd passed the best by date) and I hope that both you and I get a chance to find that out.

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