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Monday, July 29, 2013

Begyle Brewing's Don't Bring Me Down Zeus

  • Style: Imperial IPA (DIPA)
  • ABV: 8.60%
  • Ease to locate: Begyle is still very young (my bottle was batch #16) and only available in the Chicago area.  Here's a link to their beer finder.  Or try beer menu for a more up to date locator.
  • Color: Hazy dark golden brown with a hint of orange amber in the light
  • Head: Half a finger of slightly off white head with little lacing and moderate retention
  • Aroma: Slightly sweet with lots of caramel malts and cereal grains.  Heavy grapefruit and pine scents as well.  it smells refreshing.
  • Mouthfeel: Medium with a slight syrup quality 
  • Finish: a bit short, but nicely dry and crisp
  • Food friendly?: Yes.  For a DIPA, it's balanced and dry enough to work with a variety of foods.  Try it with barbequed or grilled meats.  Would also work with oily fish such as salmon.  Serve it with a sharp cheese such as cheddar or a peppery cheese like Monterey.  

Chicago is an amazing place to live.  Yes, for a few months of the year it's colder than Angelina Jolie at an Aniston family reunion.  But we have a gorgeous lake front running along the East side of the city, an unbreaking strip of beaches, harbors and ruggedly rocky shores.   We have a thriving theater scene that is widely respected throughout the country for it's raw, shopfront, black humor intensity.  Our food scene is ridiculously diverse with ethnic, price and concept choices that when combined correctly, can make for one spectacular  experience.  I mean, where else can you begin the day with a pistachio glazed pastry from The Donughnut Vault, have a quick lunch from a food truck named The Tamale Spaceship, play with your science experiment dinner at Alinea and finish the night off at a friendly, everybody knows your name sort of  brew pub like Haymarket?  Not Pasadena, that's for sure.  I've been to Pasadena.  It's definitely no Chicago.   

                                                                                                                                           Because you know that you're already humming it 
Chicago is also home to a growing number of small, newish breweries trying to make their mark on a thriving craft beer scene.  Begyle Brewery is one of these.  I first discovered Begyle at a beer fest last February (here's a review of their first beer, Crash Landed) and have been following their development since then.  And by that, I mean drinking their beer while clicking "Like" on Facebook.  My family and I did a little Begyle tasting event recently to check out all of their new offerings.  And by "event" I mean we bought a few bombers and drank in my brother's backyard.  My favorite of the bombers was a Black IPA  named Jonny Quest Thinks We're Sellouts, a collaboration that they did with another brand new Chicago brewery called DryHop (it's currently on tap at DryHop.  Get the pomme frites if you go there ) So why am I reviewing their DIPA here instead?  Because this was EVERYONE else's  favorite offering of the night.   When I find a beer that the extremely picky and diverse group of people that I call family can actually agree on AND it's not Belgium?  I think that warrants a bit of screen time.

You've got me running, going out of my mind....
My Don't Bring Me Down Zeus poured a slightly hazy, darkly golden liquid.  There was a hint of orange amber when held to the light.  It looked rich and inviting.  A half a finger, barely off white head formed and fell rather quickly.  A shallow layer of foam settled on the beer's surface for a good potion of the drink.  There wasn't a lot of lacing to speak of, just enough to rim the glass, but this can be typical for a DIPA.   The aroma of sweet caramel off set the bitterness of the grapefruit and pine scents rising from my glass.  It was a nicely balanced sort of nose, not overly complex and rather soft for a DIPA, but also very inviting on a warm day.  The taste followed the nose.  Grapefruit was the predominate flavor, but there was plenty of pine and light floral hop notes layered in as well.  The beer was brewed with a mix of Bravo, Glacier and (duh) Zeus hops.  Bravo hops are a relatively new variety that was originally derived from Zeus hops.  Because of their high alpha acid levels, both Zeus and Bravo hops are often used for bittering.  Glacier hops are also rather new (bred starting around 2000) and thought of as an American Fuggle hop.  They have a light citrus quality and are often utilized in easy drinking, well balanced aroma sort of beers.  This mixture of these particular hops explained exactly why this DIPA wasn't over the top bitter and mouth puckering as other DIPAs that I (and that very picky family that I mentioned earlier) have drunk in the past.  While there are times that I enjoy an in your face hop attack, I always have great respect for a well balanced beer.   The sweetness from the malts and cereal grain flavors worked their magic on the bitterness that was there, although with a light touch.  I wouldn't call this beer a malt bomb, but there was a distinct malt backbone that served the DIPA very well.  This beer was dryer than it was sweet.  A nice touch of bready yeast emerged as the beer warmed, giving the bitter hops a bit of cushioning.  Like the nose, this was not an over worked DIPA, just a well crafted one.  The mouthfeel was slightly syrupy, but more slick than sticky.  I wish that the finish was longer, however.  It was nicely dry and slightly bitter, but much too short for a simple beer.  This is just my own taste in finishes, however.  I personally think if you're going to create a well balanced DIPA without any particular WOW factor, a longer finish is called for. 
Fun fact: ELO holds the record of having he most top 40 hits without ever having a #1 song
ELO's Jeff Lynne also wrote songs for Olivia Newton-John's movie.  Xanadu.  Mind. Officially. Blown.  Kind of.

Some DIPAs play better with their food than others.  Since Begyle's Don't Bring Me Down Zeus is a simple and straight forward sort of DIPA, I can see it working with quite a few summertime dishes.  Serve it alongside a simple plate rosemary chicken thighs with a side of zucchini & tomatoes grilled in a foil packet for a casual summer get together with friends.  I could also see this beer pairing well with oily fish, such as salmon or tuna (both fish often benefit from a bit of acidic notes when cooking or pairing.)  I'd like to try it with yellowfin tuna fillets with a simple salad of Romaine lettuce and tropical fruit.   Don't Bring Me Down Zeus is a good beer to easy your DIPA phobic friends into Big Beer territory.  Begyle is just a baby in the ever growing Chicago craft brewery scene.  Of course, at the rate that new breweries are emerging around these parts, they'll be the ever so wise ass teenager who wants to borrow your car keys and needs $50 for gas before you know it.  Time to get in on the ground floor with them is now.  Take my advice, grab a bottle for your next gathering and bask in the (craft beer) glow of being that "guy" who is in the local know.  I'll back you up. 


Monday, July 22, 2013

New Glarus Brewing's Anniversary Strong Ale

  • Style: Belgian Dark Strong Ale
  • ABV: New Glarus doesn't list the ABV for this beer, but my best guess is at the very least 9% or above.
  • Ease to locate: Only distributed in the great State of Cheese Curds.  But like many New Glarus beers, definitely worth the drive North.
  • Color: Oaky brown with golden and amber highlights.  Slightly hazy.
  • Head: Two & 1/2 finger light beige head with strong lacing and wonderful retention.
  • Aroma: Malt bomb with lots of caramel, raisins, dates and dark cherries.  A hint of chocolate malts and Belgium yeast as well.   
  • Mouthfeel: Very robust, thick and coating on the tongue.  Not a lot of carbonation.
  • Finish: Long & sweet.  Leaves a pleasant malty taste in your mouth.
  • Food friendly?: Somewhat.  Would go wonderfully with sticky, sweet molasses based barbeque sauce or a straight up grilled Porterhouse steak.  Serve it with sharp cheeses, like a Wisconsin extra sharp cheddar.

 Birthdays are big deal.  I don't care how old you are, I don't care how much of a grumpy, crotchety, old- beyond- your- years, curmudgeon that you pretend to be.  Everyone secretly wants to be acknowledged for denying the Grim Reaper another year.    Breweries are no different.  New Glarus Brewery celebrated it's twentieth year in business this summer and decided to throw themselves a malty, boozy, totally Belgium appropriate party.  And luckily, we all are invited (provided we find our own transportation across the great cheese border.)  Back in 1993, when Micheal Bolton's mane of hair ruled the airwaves and The Fresh Prince was still Tupperware fresh in Bel Air, Dan and Deb Carey brewed their first ninety-nine barrels of beer.  They broke ground on July 4, 1993 and were up and brewing three short months later.  In the past twenty years, they've brewed at least one hundred different beers, by Dan Caey's estimation (I'm going to just assume that he's been keeping track and isn't just counting Spotted Cow ninety-nine times.)  New Glarus has fans across the entire US, somewhat surprising for a smallish brewery that refuses to distribute their beers outside of their home state of Wisconsin (although, it looks as if at least one New Glarus offering will be part of a sampler pack that Sierra Nevada will be distributing nationally in 2014.  The next thing we know, Lagunitas will be canning their beers. Where will it all end? )

                                                                                                                     Everyone loves their birthday

Belgium Strong Dark Ales are (obviously) similar to Belgium Dark Ales, but, (obviously) stronger in alcohol content.    They generally have an ABV somewhere between 7% and 15%.  New Glarus typically doesn't release the ABV percentage on their beers (they were grandfathered in before Wisconsin passed a law requiring breweries to list the alcohol percentage on their labels.  Apparently another good reason to be old in Wisconsin.)  So while I'm not sure what the exact ABV is for the Anniversary Ale, I do know my own reaction to certain percentages and feel comfortable estimating it at between a 9.5% and 11%.  I can also tell you your ring size by just glancing at your hand.  We all have gifts.  Belgium Strong Dark Ales can go one of two ways, either very in your face booze-wise or sneaky and under the radar.  New Galarus' release has chosen the stealth approach, which I honestly much prefer.  Troegs Brewing's Mad Elf, Brouwerij Huyghe's Delirium Noel, North Coast Brewing's Brother Thelonious and Brooklyn Brewing's Brooklyn Local 2 are all well known examples of this sort of beer. 

An ancient 20 years old and still sprouting a full, lush head like a young whippersnapper.

Still got it going on, New Glarus.
My Anniversary Ale poured a slightly hazy, oaky brown with golden and amber highlights when held to the light.  I was greeted by a two and a half finger tan head.  I reminded me of a creamy stout, and I think we all know how I love me a creamy stout.  There was an abundance of stick, foamy, strong lacing that adhered  to the sides of the glass.  The head had wonderful staying power  (check out the photos above).  The nose was a bit of a malt bomb with lots of caramel malts right up front.  Mixed in were scents of raisins, dates and some dark cherries.  I could detect a bit of toasty chocolate malts in there as well and, of course, the obligatory Belgium yeast.  It smelled dark, robust and a bit sweet.  The taste was a bit stealthy, however.  The first sip found me slightly disappointed.  After the grand show of superb  lacing and  inhale worthy aroma, the taste seemed light and almost watery.  At first.  If I had to chose one word to describe this beer, Deceptive would be my only choice.  Because after that first, underwhelming sip, the beer truly kicked in (kicked down the door and took names, actually.)  A boozy, slightly sweet, complex robustness emerged after the first sip and nearly knocked me over.  There I found all the caramel, date, dark cherry and raisin goodness that I noticed on the nose. The spiciness of cloves were also present and emerged more as the beer sat for a bit.   Fruit esters of banana and apple gave the beer the Belgium quality that I was hoping for.   A very mild, earthy hop presence came out towards the end.   The mouthfeel was as creamy and robust as the label promised.  There was no alcohol heat at all , just a pleasant boozy element on the long and slightly sweet, malty finish.             

New Glarus, honest, you don't look a day over 19.
New Galrus, keeping it tight.
 New Glarus' Anniversary Strong Dark Ale is an extraordinary beer.  I know that all beers are like most people gathered at a Thanksgiving dinner: all relative.   But to me, this has been easily one of my favorite beers of the Summer of 2013.  It had a complexity that I search for in a well crafted beer, but presented it in such a simplistic and delicious way that I was never distracted by any bells or whistles.  Because of the higher alcohol content, it's also a great beer for sharing.  I don't know about you, but when I find a beer that I really enjoy, my first instinct is to pour a tasting portions for just about anyone who crosses my path.  And I have yet to find anyone who has not begged me for a bit more.  I would serve this beer with a plate of ribs dripping with sticky, sweet molasses based barbeque sauce.   Or keep it simple with a perfectly grilled porterhouse steak served with a roasted corn and heirloom tomato salad.    We all have that one, extremely difficult to buy for, person on our gift giving list.  You know who your's  is (and if you're racking your brain for a name, chances are it's probably very similar to your own.)  You could do a lot worse than picking up a few bottles of this Belgium inspired gem and slapping on a big red bow.  And just in case anyone is feeling overly generous, my birthday is at the end of August.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Pipeworks Brewing's Orange Truffle Abduction

  • Style: Imperial Stout
  • ABV: 10.50%
  • Ease to locate: As with all Pipeworks, Chicago is my kind of town.  Some suburb locations as well.  Check beer menus for locations.
  • Color: Dark, black brown thick liquid.  No orange tint.
  • Head: One & a half  finger tan head that fades to a patchy film.  Spotty lacing that rims the glass
  • Aroma: Bitter, roasted chocolate.  More of an impression of orange than the actual scent.  
  • Mouthfeel: Medium, but much lighter than an average Imperial Stout.  Works for the summer season.
  • Finish: Moderate with orange characteristics emerging more as the beer warmed.
  • Food friendly?: Not really.  An Imperial Stout is still an Imperial Stout.  Enjoy this one on it's own. Or possibly with a citrus  accented desert.  Try it with a mild, buttery cheese such as brie.

I think that we all realize that I am a bit of what is commonly known as a geek.  If you've read previous posts from this blog (and if you haven't, Welcome.   Nice to meet you.  Now go read the some past posts to catch up.   We'll wait.)  you've come to this conclusion all by your own smartypants little self.  It should come as no surprise to you that I love well done SciFi shows (and, OK, I'll admit that I have loved some not so well made  ones too.)  Give me a Fringe or X Files marathon and I'm a happy camper.  I once spent an entire weekend watching the complete set of the miniseries V, much to the annoyance of my then roommates.  I have binged viewed all three Star Wars movies secession in a theater (and there are only three.  I actually taught my friends kids to tell people that if Han Solo isn't in the movie, it's not really Star Wars.  I very much feel that my work as an honary aunt is done.)  So when Pipeworks recently released a citrus version of their Abduction imperial stout, the beer geek and the SciFi geek in me merged into one huge Godzilla-like geek that needed this beer.

                                                                                 It's like a time capsule of late nineties/early 2000s pop culture.  I mean, who didn't love David Duchovny?

Pipeworks has put out quite a few versions of this popular Imperial Stout Abduction series.  This batch (#146) of Orange Truffle is the first that I've been able to try of the series.  Before OTA (as those too lazy to type the full name in the know refer to it as) they released Coffee Abduction, Raspberry Truffle Abduction, and just just your regular old run of the mill Abduction brew.    According to various reviews, the original Abduction apparently had elements of roasted coco beans, coffee, licorice and a bit of citrus hops.  Each subsequent variation built on this basic formula with some obvious tweaks (three guesses what was added to the Raspberry Truffle and the first two don't count.  Unless you are a reality show contestant.  Then take your time.  We'll wait.)

I want to believe.  That there is orange in there.

My OTA poured a dark, black brown liquid.  A tan, one and a half finger head formed and settled to a shallow, patchy layer for a portion of the drink.  There was minimal lacing that left a slight ring around the glass.  In my (still somewhat limited) experience with Pipeworks, they aren't really known for producing big lacing in their beers, so I wasn't particularly expecting there to be much of a show anyway.  I could smell the bitter, chocolatey aroma of roasted caco beans.  I was searching for a whiff of the promised orange note, but couldn't distinctly find any indication of it on the nose.  There was a brightness to the chocolate scent, which I attributed to the presence of subtle orange notes.  In my opinion, I was left with more of an impression of the orange citrus than the actual scent of it on the nose.  The taste was like the nose, very heavy on the bitter, roasted chocolate flavor, with a bit of sweet milk lactose elements (but not enough to make me feel that it was a milk stout).  The much anticipated orange flavor finally kicked in towards the tail of the swallow, and still, it was very slight.  I suppose that I was hoping for a sort of Jaffa Cake influenced beer and that simple didn't prove to be the case.  The orange note was subtle, although it did grow a little bit as the drink warmed.  The mouthfeel was medium, a bit lighter than one might expect from an imperial stout.  But on the other hand, this was a summer imperial stout and I felt that the lighter mouthfeel helped it drink well during the warm months.   The finish was medium and possibly the most unboozy finish for an imperial stout hat I've tried in a while now.

Pipeworks OTA was possibly not exactly what I was expecting when I sat down and poured a pint.  But once I realized that the orange element was passive, I was able to enjoy this beer for what I'm assuming that the brewers meant it to be: a lighter imperial stout with a hint of citrus to brighten it up for summer.  Imperial stouts are notoriously difficult to pair with most meals.  They often work better when sipped on their own, so as not to overpower the plate in front of you.  But since this particular imperial stout has a hit of citrus in its make up, I'd try pairing it with a citrus influenced dessert dish.  I think it would go excellent with this Fresh Strawberry Lemon Shortcake.  Of course, since Pipeworks only bottles their brews in bombers, OTA would be a perfect accompaniment to a weekend marathon viewing of BGS, another awesome acronymed TV show.  Good hunting.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Revolution Brewing's Crystal Hero IPA

  • Style: IPA
  • ABV: 7.2%
  • Season: Late Spring 2013
  • Easy to locate: Illinois and Ohio (yea!  Local kid break free of the Land of Lincoln!  Here's their beer finder. 
  • Color: Golden yellow.  Clear enough to watch the tiny bubbles of carbonation as they rise.
  • Head: One finger head, white and delicate.  Good retention with spotty lacing that leaves a ring.
  • Aroma: Heavy mix of grapefruit and citrus notes.  Some floral and tropical fruit elements as well.  A slight malt backbone rounds the approachable aroma nicely.
  • Mouthfeel: Medium and typical of the style.  Juicy and crisp.
  • Finish: Medium.  The floral note lingers slightly on the tail of the swallow.  
  • Food friendly: Yes.  It's a good example of a easy to drink IPA.  Try it with spicy foods, like Mexican or Thai, but it would go equally well with poultry or shellfish.  Serve this with pungent cheeses, such as Roquefort or with sharp cheeses, like cheddar.

I grew up reading comic books.  Marvel Comics mostly (with a palate cleanser of Archie comics ever so often.  That's the dichotomy of being a girl.  You can like Lambics AND Porters.)  This was back in the 80's when your typical comic book fan was a 15 year old boy who thought that Storm was the ultimate female because she wore black leather and who secretly wished that he could grow up to be Wolverine even if he was just a Canadian drifter with really bad hair who needed a manicure.  Let's just say that during my weekly pilgrimage to our local comic book store, I stuck out like a bourbon barreled vanilla stout on a shelf of Yuenglings.  Between my brothers and myself, we pretty much collected everything Marvel released, except for Conan the Barbarian (I'll never understand the appeal of this guy.  He was like Tarzan, but with slightly less social skills.)  You can imagine my excitement when this summer Revolution Brewing released a set of theme hopped IPAs to coincide with an annual comic convention held here in Chicago.    The eleven year old girl in me who idolized Spiderman and Kitty Pryde  may have squeeled.  Just a bit.

                                                                                                                            I will never, ever be able to  look at Stan Lee the same way again. 

Crystal Hero IPA is predominantly hopped using Crystal hops (obviously.)  Crystal hops are an American developed strain, created in 1983 in an effort to replace Nobel hops here in the States.  It's related to Mt. Hood and Liberty hops, but with a low alpha acidity rate.  Crystal is used mainly for aroma in IPAs and Pale Ales (although they have been known to be used in some stouts too), giving them notes of woody, floral and citrus characteristics.  I can't find any definitive information on what other hop was used in brewing Crystal Hero, but my best guess is that since Crystal hops are low in acidity, a secondary hop (possibly Centennial or maybe Simcoe?) was used to push the bitterness up while Crystal was used for the aroma. 

When brewing with Crystal hops, with great power comes great responsibility. 
 My Crystal Hero poured a clear, golden yellow.  I could watch the billions of tiny bubbles float to the surface as the beer settled.  A gentle, white head of foam formed and eventually settled into a thin layer for a majority the drink.  A ring of delicate, spotty lacing left it's mark around the edges of the pint glass.  The aroma of citrus hit me before I even brought the glass to my nose.  Lots of grapefruit, orange and a bit of lemon whaffed up from the brew.  A bit of floral and fruit was also evident on the nose, but I really had to search to find them.  A hint of sweetness from the malt helped to balance out all the citrus goodness.  It was a wonderful to beer to sit and sniff (although, honestly,I have to wonder what the neighbors must think as I sit in my backyard sticking my nose into the glass over and over.  I have a feeling that this year's block party might be an intervention in disguise.)  I could taste the citrus elements immediately.  It was a bright mouthful of bitter grapefruit, zesty orange and a bit (and only a bit) of puckering lemon notes.  Crystal Hero IPA has a IBU of 80, which is actually right in my (bitter)sweet spot for IPAs.  I could also detect a bit of tropical fruits (mango and pineapple  possibly) and a slight floral taste.  Just as on the nose, the malt kept all the bitterness in check.  This was an excellent tasting IPA, juicy and mouthwatering.  The mouthfeel was moderate and well carbonated.  A medium finish rounded out what was an enormously successful IPA.

'Nuff said.

Revolution Brewing's Crystal Hero was an terrifically well done IPA.   Summery and crisp with a well rounded flavor profile and a gorgeous nose.   As I understand it, Crystal hops are a rather under utilized hop variety.  If the other breweries' results are anything like Revolution's, I would be more than happy (hoppy) to drink a ton of Crystal forward hopped brews.  While this is a perfect beer to sip by itself on a warm summer day, it'll also go perfectly with a wide variety of food.  Serve it with simple fish tacos prepared with a squeeze of lime and a kick of jalapenos.  Or drink it with a heaping plate of barbeque shrimp and a bit of a green salad on the side.   Pick a sunny day, break out a stack of vintage X-Men or Alpha Force (for our friends to the way North) and enjoy a pint. 


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.