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Monday, July 1, 2013

Deep Ellum Brewing Co.'s Deep Ellum IPA

  • Style: IPA
  • ABV: 7.00%
  • Season: Year Round
  • Ease to locate: Sure, if you live in Texas.  Otherwise, you need to do a little leg work and make nice with someone from the Lone Star state.  Here's a link to their beer finder.
  • Color: A pretty deep amber with bits of gold and orange.  Slightly hazy.
  • Head: Slight ivory colored dense two finger head with thick, sticky lacing.
  • Aroma: Huge honking nose on this brew.  Citrus (grapefruit, orange, a bit lemon),  pineapple, floral and pine notes mix with a lighter scent of sweet grainy malts.  Yum.
  • Mouthfeel: Almost creamy on the tongue.  Moderate amount of carbonation.
  • Finish: Long.  Starts with the citrus/floral note that smoothly moves to the sweetness from the grains and finishes up with a hit of pine that pleasantly lingers.
  • Food friendly: Extremely.  Try it with almost everything this summer.  Grilled meat, poultry or shellfish.  This would be a great choice for a warm weather curry dish.  Serve it with peppery cheeses (like pepper jack) or salty cheeses (such as asiago.)

I've never been to Texas.  In fact, if you don't count countless trips to Las Vegas or middle of the night stop overs at various airports, my experience with all things Southwestern is woefully lacking.  I would love to take a trip to check out Austin's food and band scene.  And who doesn't want to visit The Alamo just so when someone tells you to remember it, you can?  But as of today, right now, my basic knowledge of Texas is limited to some weird mix mash of Ernest Tubb, True Grit, T-Bone Burnett, Blood Simple, ZZ Top and Bubba Ho-Tep.  But I'm pretty sure that's accurate, right?

                                                                                                 Some day I will visit the basement of the Alamo.  And it will be epic.

One of the best things about starting this blog has been the opportunity to meet fellow craft geeks from all over the country.  One such enthusiast actually arranged for me to receive a package of Texas brewed beer to try.  How cool is that?     Now this obviously in witness relocation modest guy didn't want me to refer to him by name, so I'm just going call him "Lone Star."  Lone Star included a can of Deep Ellum IPA in the beer it forward package and I, for one (and I guess I'm the one that actually counts since I'm writing this blog) am very thankful he did.  Deep Ellum is a neighborhood located just east of downtown Dallas.  The area was originally called "Deep Elm" but eventually morphed into Deep Ellum.  It was a hotbed of jazz & blues back in the  1920s-1950s and at that time was an area populated by middle class African American professionals.  So basically, Deep Ellum Brewery chose a richly historic section of the city to open their brewery.  I liked them already.  The IPA is considered their flagship beer and for good reason.  Hell, these guys have their own beerfesto where they promise to not waste your time with gimmicks and let their beer do the talking.  After having sampled this IPA, I think that they speak the truth.

Oh, the stars at night....
My Deep Ellum IPA poured a gorgeously deep golden amber with a hint orange.  It was slightly hazy and reminded me of an August sunset.  A fluffy, barely off white, two finger head formed and slowly settled into a thick layer of foam for most of the drink.   My glass sported some really wonderful, sticky lacing.  All in all, it was a gorgeous looking beer.  I could smell heavy grapefruit notes immediately, backed up with a mix of  pine, floral and pineapple characteristics.  A bit of sweet, grainy malt helped round the bitterness of the aroma.   The taste was heavy with grapefruit and floral bitterness with a bit of lemon and orange zests offering a hit of welcome brightness.  Sugary caramel and grainy malts give the brew just enough sweetness to balance out the hops. I could taste some pine notes on the end of the swallow, which really helped create a well crafted mouthful.  The mouthfeel was almost creamy (not something I usually associate with an IPA)  and with an average amount of carbonation.  The long finish was rather smooth and delicious.  The swallow began with the bitterness from  the grapefruit and floral hops, slid into the creamy sweetness of the grains and finished with a shot of pine.  The lingering effect of the pine note refreshed my palate and cut through the fuller mouthfeel of this IPA.

Are big and bright.....
Deep in the heart of Texas. 
Deep Ellum IPA is simply an all around well crafted beer that looks as good as it tastes.  I would serve it with some warm weather curry dish, such as Thai Green Curry Hot Wings.  The slight heat from the chilies would balance out the hop profile without affecting the balance of the beer.   Alternatively, something slightly sweet, like Honey Mustard Grill Chicken, would be delicious served with this IPA as well.  This beer is one of those local gems that makes the whole domestic craft scene in the United States so exciting.  Can I walk down the street to my local grocery store and pick up a six pack?  No, not unless I spontaneously decide to make a move to Dallas (and then I would be forced to root for the Cowboys come Fall.  Never.  Going.  To.  Happen.)  But that's sort of the beauty of it.  I can't get every beer that I want whenever I want them.  Deep Ellum IPA is a local boy and that's part of what makes it special.  I want to give a huge thank you to Lone Star for being such a wonderful and generous beer geek.  When I finally take that trip to Texas, I'll already know exactly what beer to order my first night there.  I may never pass for a local, but at least I'll know how to drink like one.