Deep Ellum Brewing Co.'s GOURDzilla Is The Brewery's Best Seasonal Beer To Date.

Welcome to On Tap! Each week in this recurring feature, we'll take an in-depth look at one of the many beers now available in the suddenly crowded North Texas brew scene. The goal here is to look at these area beers without our local goggles on and to wonder aloud, “Is this beer good or do I just like it because it's local?” Should be a fun experiment, no? Cheers to that!

This week, we sipped on Deep Ellum Brewing Co.'s GourdZILLA.

Fast Facts on Deep Ellum GourdZILLA:
Style: Smoked Pumpkin Ale.
ABV: 7.5 percent.
IBUs: (International Bitterness Units): 17.
Color: Amber brown.
Availability: Seasonal.

Overview.
Officially released to the public just over a week ago , Deep Ellum's GourdZILLA is the now-controversial local brewery's entry into the crowded pumpkin beer market. GourdZILLA uses an English Strong Ale as its base beer, then adds pumpkin, maple syrup, pecan-smoked sweet potatoes and other spices to its blend. The beer comes in at 7.5 percent ABV and 17 IBUs.

Background on Spice, Herb & Vegetable Beers.
See our previous review of Lakewood's Punkel for a background on this unique and difficult-to-judge style.

Appearance.
GourdZILLA pours dark an amber brown, with a slight reddish hue and a foamy, slightly off-white head.

Aroma.
Subtle aromas of brown sugar, caramel, pumpkin pie spices and low levels of sweet malt.

Flavor.
This beer tastes exactly like it smells, which isn't always the case. If you like balance in your beer, this one has it in spades. If anything, it's a tad too sweet upfront, but there's some nice bitterness on the back end that evens it out. The flavors meld nicely, but that means that no particular element stands out from the pack.

After reading the description, I was really hoping to get more distinct notes from some of the interesting ingredients used — particularly the pecan-smoked sweet potatoes — but, unfortunately, I didn't really detect these. Mostly, it tastes like many other pumpkin beers, albeit a very good take on the style.

Mouthfeel.
This one's got fairly adequate levels of carbonation for the style, with a highly drinkable mouthfeel. Be ready to drink several of these in a single session.

Overall Impression.
As far as pumpkin beers go, Deep Ellum has crafted a very good version here. It's certainly comparable in quality to the current local pumpkin king, Lakewood's Punkel. Like the Punkel, there's great balance to the pumpkin and spice flavors with this one, and the beer is brewed in a way that complements the base style. Compared to GourdZILLA, Punkel almost becomes an Imperial Pumpkin Ale with its much higher ABV and IBU count; GourdZILLA is a little more sessionable, and frankly, was released at a much better time. It's way more appropriate to be drinking a pumpkin beer in late October than it is in late August. GourdZILLA represents a highly drinkable and delicious pumpkin ale, and is one of the more enjoyable seasonals released by Deep Ellum to date.

Score.
On a scale of 1 to 10, I give Deep Ellum GourdZILLA an 8.

What's happening in the area beer scene this week (and beyond)? (Powered by Dallas Brew Scene.)
Thursday, October 31. “Creature Feature 3” with Left Hand Wake Up Dead, Avery Mephistopheles, & Ommegang Art of Darkness at the Flying Saucer (Addison).
Thursday, October 31. Night of the Great Pumpkin vs. The Avery Demons with Southern Tier Pumking, Dogfish Head Punkin' Ale and an Avery Demon flight of Samael's Oak-aged Ale, Mephistopheles' Stout and The Beast at the Meddlesome Moth.
Thursday, October 31. Pumpkin Tap Takeover with Saint Arnold Pumpkinator, Southern Tier Warlock & Pumking and Stevens Point Whole Hog Pumpkin at the Bearded Lady (Fort Worth).
Thursday, October 31. Halloween Bash with Boulevard Saison Brett, Wasatch Pumpkin, Pumking, w00tStout, Buddha's Brew, 2012 Pumpkinator at Zio Carlo (Fort Worth).
Friday, November 1. Novemberfest at 903 Brewers (Sherman).
Saturday, November 9, through Saturday, November 16. North Texas Beer Week.

Previous On Tap Reviews:
Peticolas' Royal Scandal: 10.
Revolver's Blood & Honey: 9.
Martin House's Imperial Texas: 9.
Community's Trinity Tripel: 9.
Lakewood's Punkel: 8.
Community's Texas Pils: 7.5.
Lakewood's Zomer Pils: 7.5.
Deep Ellum IPA: 7.
Armadillo Ale Work's Quakertown Stout: 7.
Peticolas' The Duke: 6.5.
Cedar Creek's Elliott's Phoned Home Pale Ale: 6
Lakewood's La Dame Du Lac: 5.5.
Franconia Wheat: 3.

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