With a name like Epic Bar, you shouldn’t be surprised… but with every bite, you still are.
The first thing you notice is the smell. It hits you like the smell of cooking should, fresh and fragrant. Hopefully, this is only the first in a line of clues that leads you to register the fact that this is real food, not just pasteurized and packaged sod. The second clue is the presence of things mostly associated with fresh foods, in the best way possible; so called “fat deposits”, a bit of a rough cut when it comes to texture, even a slight amount of flavor packed oil for certain bars.
Now it’s perfectly clear, Epic Bars makes epic food and packs it into insanely convenient fuel bars, mixed nuts/meat packets and something I don’t even want to call beef jerky, because it’d be an insult to the deliciousness therein.
Though I’m new to them, Epic Bar has been making kick-ass trail fuel since 2012. Founders Taylor and Katie were on to something, after failed attempts at becoming vegetarian/vegan led to discovering a clean way of eating. Basically, fresh food, lean meats, fruits and nuts become the basis of Epic Bar, and while you could call this food “paleo”, I would steer clear. Epic is about the quality and taste of everything they put into the product.
Every version of the Epic Bar product I’ve tried has been a delightful surprise. Whether it’s the bars, bites, or hunt and harvest mixes, every bite is chewy and flavorful, with unique hints of each ingredient. (I love the bison bacon cranberry!) One almost feels guilty munching this on the trail. Every chomp is more reminiscent of a good meal, rather than workout fuel.
Although, flavor does tend to mean nothing in the backcountry without some punch behind it, and Epic Bar certainly packs it in. I’ve eaten these as meals replacements and while I wouldn’t make a habit of it, I was mostly satisfied for hours, even forgetting I hadn’t eaten a real meal yet.
Don’t get me wrong, conditions will vary and so will calorie output, but I was not expecting a bar to last so long, let alone a whole morning with only that and a cup of coffee.
All of that being said, I’m pretty sure I can’t wait for these to become more available and perhaps go down in price slightly. One of the cheaper places I’ve found offers them for about $2.84 a piece, with a 12-pack being $34. Let’s not mince words though, the company takes specific care to make sure all animal product is grass-fed, free-range, and treated as humanely as possible.
That raises the price, but makes everything worth it when going for a guilt-free and, hopefully, healthier option. Maybe it’s the marketing, but I haven’t felt better eating “beef jerky” either on or off the trail. In fact, it was nearly impossible not to munch on some while grabbing the above photos.
Disclosure – Epic Bar sent me these products for review. All opinions are my own and truthful.