Deep Ellum's Hop Seeker Is Hopped Wet And Put Away Fast.
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's Hop Seeker.
Fast Facts on Deep Ellum's Hop Seeker.
Style: India Pale Ale.
ABV: 5.6 percent.
International Bitterness Units (IBUs): Unknown.
Color: Deep Gold.
Deep Ellum is stretching and trying some innovative things with hops — and, yeah, that's an idea we can get behind. Hop Seeker, unlike the brewery's flagship IPA offering, is a wet hopped beer. Say what?
OK, let's take a step back. So, most beers contain hops — especially IPAs — and most beers are also hopped using one of two main packaged hop types. The two types most frequently used are whole cone hops and pelletized hops, both of which are dried after picking. While whole cone hops remain as they are after drying, pelletized hops are squished until they form a solid, at which point they are then crammed through a weird machine called a pelletizer. Yeah, it's like it sounds.
Then there's another type of hopping called “wet hopping” or “fresh hopping.” With wet hopping, a beer is hopped using hops that have been picked fresh and brought straight to the brewery. No drying, no long-term packaging. This means that Deep Ellum Brewing threw down some serious coin to get a truckload of hops delivered immediately after harvest so they could add it to Hop Seeker. Or maybe it's two truckloads? That's not really the point, I guess.
This is: Deep Ellum Brewing states that it uses centennial hops in the boil and equinox for dry hopping. (Oh, dry hopping happens after brew day.)
By the way, hop farms aren't located here in our fair state. They're just not. (Side note: If you want to correct me and say that you own a hop farm here in Texas, please do so by all means. Just know that, in my reply, I will kindly ask you to re-evaluate your business plan. Terroir, homie.)
Wow, I sort of went off the rails there. Enough hops talk, right?
Background on India Pale Ales.
For an overview on India Pale Ale, check out our review of Community's Mosaic IPA.
Hop Seeker pours with a thick, creamy white head that seems to stick around forever. And there's foamy, beautiful lacing that seems to hang around on my glass for days. Hop Seeker is also a bit on the cloudy side, and that's OK. Some wet hopped beers are not filtered heavily in an attempt to keep all dry hopping goodness in the beer. I'm not sure how much flavor would get stripped out if this were a super-clear filtered beer but, hey, the cloudiness is fine for the style. But, wait, what's up with the particles? Is that some hop residue I see? Don't fret: I only see a couple of teeny tiny particles that settle to the bottom of my glass.
What a tease to the nose! Hop Seeker ust has a ton going on, aroma-wise. Let's break a few of those down. At first, the aroma is all floral hops with melon, resin-y, dank pine, and some sort of grassy situation. Then there's a round sweetness — probably also from the hops — that arrives and brings it all together. The aftertaste is sweet, without the sugary sweetness.
If you compare Hop Seeker to Deep Ellum IPA, there are more than subtle flavor differences. Hop Seeker seems to play second fiddle to Deep Ellum IPA in regards to big malt flavor and super punch-you-in-your-mouth hops. But Hop Seeker has something more nuanced with the bitterness and malt profile. While Deep Ellum IPA hits you over the head with malt and hop bitterness, Hop Seeker has a more refined and subtle malt profile and hop bitterness that invites you in and asks you to explore and hang out for a while. With the roundness and complexity of Hop Seeker, there's also a tiny bit of a soapy aftertaste, like a super clean feeling. It's not a bad thing, per se. It just is.
Hop Seeker is a medium-bodied beer. Its residual protein and hop schedule give it that nice foam and lacing that I talked about earlier, and these two elements also contribute to some of the creamy mouthfeel.
If you have shied away from Deep Ellum Brewing's beers for some reason, maybe Hop Seeker should be the comeback beer for you to try. This is a limited release, so don't wait or you'll miss it. There's a complexity in this beer, a nuanced hop profile that I can get behind. Will non-hop-heads like this beer? Probably not. But you should make them try this beer anyway.
On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd give Deep Ellum Brewing Hop Seeker a 7.5.
What's happening in the area brew scene?
• Friday, October 23. 11th Anniversary at Rahr & Sons Brewing.
• Saturday, October 24. Audacity One-Year Anniversary at Harvest House.
• Saturday, October 24. One-Year Anniversary at The Collective Brewing Project.
• Saturday, October 31. Texas Bicycle & Beer Expo at Dallas Heritage Village.
• Friday, November 6-15. North Texas Beer Week.
• Saturday, November 7. Operation Bravo Homebrew Competition at Shannon Brewing Co.
• Saturday, November 7. Untapped Dallas at Fair Park.
• Friday, November 13. 2nd Annual Brewer's Ball at Renaissance Dallas Hotel.
Previous On Tap Reviews:
• Peticolas' Royal Scandal: 10.
• Community's Mosaic IPA: 10.
• Peticolas' Velvet Hammer: 10.
• Community's Barrel-Aged Legion: 10.
• Community's Legion: 10.
• Lakewood's Saint Dymphna: 9.5.
• Peticolas' Lost Epic: 9.5.
• Community's Ascension Porter: 9.5.
• Lakewood's Temptress: 9.5.
• Lakewood's Goatman: 9.5.
• Community's Public Ale: 9.5.
• Peticolas' Thrilla in Brazilla: 9.5.
• Revolver's Blood & Honey: 9.
• Martin House's Imperial Texan: 9.
• Community's Trinity Tripel: 9.
• Peticolas' Irish Goodbye: 9.
• Four Corners' Block Party Porter: 9.
• Cedar Creek's Belgian Dubbel: 9.
• Deep Ellum's Easy Peasy IPA: 8.5.
• Deep Ellum's Oak Cliff Coffee Ale: 8.5.
• Lakewood's Rock Ryder: 8.5.
• Rahr's Bourbon Barrel Aged Winter Warmer: 8.5.
• Lakewood's Raspberry Temptress: 8.5.
• Bitter Sisters' Belgian Tripel: 8.
• Noble Rey's SteamPunk: 8.
• 903 Brewers' Citra On Top: 8.
• Bitter Sisters' Hissy Fit: 8.
• BrainDead's Gritz: 8.
• Community's Barrel-Aged Inspiration : 8.
• Cedar Creek's Fisticuffs: 8.
• Lakewood's Punkel: 8.
• Four Corners' El Chingon IPA: 8.
• Martin House's Day Break: 8.
• Deep Ellum's GOURDzilla: 8.
• Peticolas' The Duke (Aged 12 Months): 8.
• Deep Ellum's Pale Ale: 8.
• Revolver's Bock: 8.
• 903 Brewers' Sasquatch: 8.
• Peticolas' Wintervention: 8.
• Armadillo Ale Works' Brunch Money: 8.
• Martin House's Salsa Verde: 8.
• Cedar Creek's Spinning Mule Robust Porter: 8.
• Lakewood's Holiday Bonus: 8.
• Lakewood's Hop Trapp: 8.
• Four Corners' El Super Bee: 7.5.
• Lakewood's Hopochondria: 7.5.
• Three Nations GPA: 7.5.
• Martin House's Rubberneck Red: 7.5.
• Lakewood's Antigoon's Revenge: 7.5.
• Community's Texas Pils: 7.5.
• Lakewood's Zomer Pils: 7.5.
• Cedar Creek's Dankosaurus: 7.5.
• Martin House's Turtle Power: 7.
• Collective's Petite Golden Sour: 7.
• Shannon's Chocolate Stout: 7.
• BrainDead's Red Ale: 7.
• Community's Razzy Raspberry Witbier: 7.
• Martin House's Gateway Blonde Ale: 7.
• Bearded Eel's Purple Unicorn: 7.
• Shannon Brewing Company's Irish Red: 7.
• Texas Ale Project's Somethin' Shady: 7.
• Deep Ellum IPA: 7.
• Cedar Creek's The Lawn Ranger: 7.
• Martin House Brewing Company's Cellarman's Reserve IPA (Amarillo).: 7.
• Lakewood's Till & Toil: 7.
• 903 Brewers' The Chosen One: 7.
• 903 Brewers' Sugar On Top: 7.
• Martin House's Gateway XPA: 7.
• Armadillo Ale Work's Quakertown Stout: 7.
• Revolver's High Brass: 7.
• Community's Pale Ale: 7.
• Martin House's River House: 7.
• Grapevine Craft Brewery's Sir William's Brown Ale: 7.
• Community's Funnel Cake Ale: 7.
• Audacity's Boss Raptor IPA: 7.
• Collective Brewing Project's Mom Azacca: 6.5.
• Revolver's Ironhead IPA: 6.5.
• 903 Brewers' Trot Line: 6.5.
• Peticolas' Operation Collaboration: 6.5.
• Grapevine Craft Brewery's Nightwatch: 6.5.
• Peticolas' The Duke: 6.5.
• Deep Ellum's Double Brown Stout : 6.5.
• Tupps' Cotton Mill Gold: 6.
• Rabbit Hole's Tweedleyum: 6.
• Rabbit Hole's Off With Your Red: 6.
• Cedar Creek's Elliott's Phoned Home Pale Ale: 6
• Grapevine Craft Brewery's Lakefire: 6
• Armadillo Ale Works' WunderMelon: 6
• Deep Ellum Pale Ale: 6
• Lakewood's La Dame Du Lac: 5.5.
• Deep Ellum's Numb Comfort: 5.
• Four Bullets' Black Jack Brown: 4.5.
• Four Corners Heart O' Texas: 4.
• Audacity's Sunset Boulevard: 4.
• Shannon Brewing Company's IPA: 4.
• Grapevine's Monarch: 4.
• Franconia Wheat: 3.
• Miller Lite: 1.