Seattle, WA – Most of you have heard the story regarding the first recording of beer, someone baked a loaf of bread and dropped it into some water, voila, beer. Obviously there are some stronger dynamics than just water plus bread equals Budweiser. However, if the previous sentence seems alien to you, then you obviously have not heard of the term artisan beer. The words artisan and beer almost seem schizophrenic, when one attempts to apply them together, but the fact is beer and food work exceptionally well with one another. Much like bread with say cheese or honey, or even figs, beer too can be paired with numerous ingredients.
Back in the 1980’s the concept began taking shape with local breweries like Pike Place Brewery under the experienced mind of former Merchant du Vin owner and sales man, Charles Finkel. Recognizing the versatility of a stout or pilsner with cheese, bread, or meats, he began encouraging his guests to sample their assortment of beers alongside a vibrant salad or some mussels. Today, the world continues to learn about beers versatility from such oracles and Garret Oliver and even aspiring brewers like Cody Lee Morris from Epic Ales.
Epic Ales, for those who have not been to this little one barrel tasting room in Seattle’s South Downtown neighborhood, is a rarity in the realms of craft beer. With a previous background working at Cellar Homebrew, a wine shop, and a full time job at Whole Foods in their specialty foods section, Cody began Epic Ales with the hope of creating an artisan brewery. The term itself is unique in that unlike many breweries out there that brew the traditional American, English, or German style beers; artisan breweries focus on the beer working with the food. We recently spoke to Cody regarding his background before brewing and where he seems himself in the coming months and years.
Cody is a native of two Seattle neighborhoods (Carkeek Park in the early years & Wallingford where he graduated from). After Seattle Cody left for Evergreen State where he majored and graduated with a Bachelor in Philosophy. However, it was the time spent homebrewing during his studies, that became his calling as moved onto working at Cellar Homebrew off-of Greenwood Avenue. One cannot help but notice the traces of a smile creep across Cody’s face when he recalls week in and week out of brewing a different batch of beer. Being a devotee to craft brewing didn’t stop with brewing as Cody also researched constantly, in books, magazines, and online. A couple of years later, he would split his time between Seattle Cutlery and a wine shop LA Buona Tavola at the Pike Place Market.
It was here (La Buona Tavola) that another inspiration came to him, through numerous discussions with visiting chefs, pairing food with beverage. As it turns out while working with truffle and wine, that Cody came up with an idea to pair not wine but beer. We posed the question regarding artisan beer and food and he After a few more years working here, he moved onto taking a position at Whole Foods working in their Specialty Food department.
It was not until late 2008 that Cody after enough research, sought to open his own brewpub / brewery. From application to brew day, he worked on the brewery whenever he wasn’t working his day job. With the goal of brewing artisan beers that can be paired with such dishes as tapas, Cody introduced his first beer January 2010.
Today, you can find his beer at the tasting room, which shares its space with the adjacent brewery, as well as on the shelf of nearby bottleshops, and soon enough Whole Foods. If you talk to Cody though he isn’t eager to get his beer on every tap in the city, but instead would hope people will be patient.
As for the future of Epic Ales, one can expect an expanded tasting room, a terra-saurus party, merchandising, and eventually an expanded brewery. Till then we look forward to getting our mitts on a pint or bottle of Epic Ales and enjoying it with a slice of pizza or a salmon sandwich on a rainy day.
About the photos’ author
Paul “Fruit Trees” Orchard, is an amateur craft beer enthusiast and amateur photographer. Throughout the many years in craft beer he is always carrying a camera (smartphone, digital, traditional) and is invites you to see that beer can also be exciting even if you can’t drink the photo.