A couple days ago I ran down to Metropolitan Market in Lower Queen Anne and swung through their beer section on a whim. They actually tend to have a great selection of local craft beers so I typically find something new to try. This time I grabbed a 22oz. bottle of Northwest Party Time!!! Ale (5% ABV and 20 IBUs) from Epic Ales. I had tried this particular brew in taster form at Gastropod (the Epic Ales Brewpub) a few weeks ago and really enjoyed it. So I figured it was worth picking up a bottle.
Epic Ales bottle description of the Party Time!!! reads as follows:
“We made this batch during that strange heatwave in the early spring. It became our sourest batch yet. We decided to dry hop it with loads of big piney/citrusy hops making it, super dry, tart and fruity.”
I poured it straight into my Gastropod pint glass and noticed that it seemed to be significantly more carbonated than the typical bottled beverage. On the nose you could tell that this thing was going to be very sour. Upon first taste it was light, crisp, refreshing, and of course VERY sour. I do enjoy the occasional sour beer so it wasn’t too overwhelming, but it was easily one of the most sour beverages I’ve had in my lifetime. At first I thought it was going to be the perfect beer for a warm Seattle evening, however, as time passed, the drink became more and more difficult to swallow. Although the taste hadn’t changed, my threshold for the sour nature of it had. I didn’t come close to finishing the bottle and barely made it 3/4 of the way through my opening pint. That’s not to say that it isn’t an enjoyable refreshment, I would just recommend opening this bottle up with a friend or three and portioning it out to everyone. This is one of those cases where you realize that there is such a thing as “too much of a good thing.” Perhaps when Epic Ales named this brew “Northwest Party Time!!! Ale” that they were not so subtly indicating that it needed to be distributed among a party of people.
When I rate a beer I don’t rate it on drinkability in the sense of “how much of this I can drink.” If that were the case, every keg of beer I drank from in college would rate a 4, minimum. Drinkability to me is “how much I enjoy this” regardless of amount. Some beers are better suited for you to fill a growler, some are suited for 4oz. tasters, this is something I think about when ordering a beverage and deciding what I think of it. This Northwest Party Time!!! Ale was great when I had a taster of it at Gastropod and it was great for the first 8oz or so of my pint at home.
I rate this beer an easy 4 out 5 stars. Sours tend to be a niche beer, especially one this strong, but I still think it’s worth people giving it a shot. I would highly recommend having a couple of friends there with you when you open it up to drink. If you can get down to Gastropod to try it that would be even better. They have an “Epic” selection on any given day and they make some delicious, complex, and interesting beers.