An Epic Homecoming

Big barrel stacks and big tanks

Sometimes where we’re from isn’t necessarily our home.

Although born and raised in Utah, I’ve always been pegged as a California coast kind of girl. Fellow passengers on an airplane, new colleagues, even old friends have all wondered aloud, “Are you sure you’re not from California?” Even my family as a whole gets asked the same question. I have attributed it to our naturally blond locks, laid-back family culture, and perhaps a little something special lingering from our many summers on the beaches of Santa Cruz when we were kids. I still feel “at home” whenever I visit those beaches.

Recently, the tables turned on me as I had a similar experience with a “new” local brewery. Ironically, this brewery is from Utah by way of California transplants.

Epic Brewing recently opened its second location with a Denver taproom and brewing operation. This Salt Lake-based brewery staged quite the entrance into the robust, competitive Denver beer scene! No sophomore album syndrome here.

The beer was big (some of the best were barrel-aged, 10%+ ABV)…

Barrel aged beer list and barrels
…the tanks were big…

Big barrel stacks and big tanks
…the crowds were big…

big crowds
…the only thing not big enough was the number of seats!

From the spot-on RiNo-inspired industrial chic to the artistic, go-big-or-go-home approach to the beer offerings, I coulda sworn Epic Brewing wasn’t from the Utah beer scene, but rather the epicenter of craft brew, aka Colorado.

So this begs the question: what does a hometown mean?

It’s about more than just being accepted. Epic had a community and market in Utah (I know; I was part of it!); similarly, I had great friends and family in Utah, but it wasn’t “Home.”

Or, from another perspective: what does it mean to embrace being from a certain somewhere?

Roots–they mean something. Perhaps thanks to the conventional wisdom about nature vs nurture, we believe someone’s roots always influence at least part of who they are. We use “home” as shorthand for that someone’s characteristics, values, and interests. We believe there is something about someone’s home that defines them.

Knowing this shorthand, we also define ourselves by our “home.” When our concept of ourselves resonates with the place we’re told (and we believe) is our home, then perhaps our lives are a little bit better aligned. We can thrive just a bit better. When roots are being nourished and reaching deeper into the right-fit environment, we can live a bit more vibrantly.

Maybe that’s why it feels so — right– to enjoy an Epic beer in RiNo. It all makes sense. Or spend a week at a beach house with my family in Santa Cruz. Or, as I come to better know myself, to live in Colorado.

So, if you’re near Denver, grab a beer at Epic, snuggle in next to the fireplace, and contemplate on where — and why — your home is your home.

My Santa Cruz beach
A pic snapped at my Santa Cruz beach.
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