Deep Ellum Brewing Co.'s Pale Ale Approaches Greatness But Ends Up Falling Short.
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 Pale Ale.
Fast Facts on Deep Ellum Pale Ale.
• Style: American Pale Ale.
• ABV: 6 percent.
• International Bitterness Units (IBUs): 35.
• Color: Medium copper amber.
• Availability: Year-round.
Deep Ellum's Pale Ale launched in early February of 2014 as a brew only made available at DEBC's brewery tours. That, however, did not last long, as this beer soon soon made its way into cans just a short month later.
But here's what's more interesting about this take on an American Pale Ale: It's brewed with oats, an ingredient you won't find most Pale Ale recipes.
It's not a totally crazy idea, though. The oats should add a bit of body to the recipe, resulting a creamier mouthfeel. But, beyond the oat addition, this should be a fairly standard American Pale Ale.
Background on American Pale Ales.
For a good description of American Pale Ales, see our review of Community's Pale Ale.
Deep Ellum Pale Ale pours a slightly hazy medium amber with hints of copper. It's a bit on the dark side for a Pale Ale, with a huge, slightly off-white head that fades quickly into the glass, leaving a thin layer of bubbles on top of the beer.
This beer presents some subtle pine and citrus hop scents on the nose, with little to no grain or malt aromas. All in all, it's pretty straightforward and lacking much in the way of complexity.
The first element you'll notice here are the bittering hops, which are medium to medium strong in intensity. There isn't a ton going on in terms of flavor hops, but, much like the aroma, you can still expect more pine, citrus and slight grapefruit notes. A biscuity, bready malt character floats just underneath those hops, too. Put all those elements together, and the potential for greatness is there. Unfortunately, the beer's flavor just seems to be missing something to put it over the edge.
Due mostly to the use of oats in the grain bill, Deep Ellum Pale Ale does indeed feel a tad bit creamier in the mouth than a standard Pale Ale might. This element is most pronounced on the beer's finish, where the bittering hops seem to mellow and fade ever so slightly into a dry finish.
What Deep Ellum has created with its Pale Ale is a fine, everyday beer. There's not a lot of complexity here, and, even with the use of oats, it's not exactly a creative take on the style.
That said, if you're looking for something with some hop character that won't completely wreck your palate, destroy your sobriety or leave you drowning in a sweet, malty mess, then Deep Ellum Pale Ale might be for you.
Still, though: There’s nothing about the Deep Ellum Pale Ale that leaves a lasting impression. It exists, and it's certainly drinkable. But it leaves me wanting more.
It's like Shiner Bock of Pale Ales.
Will I drink it when trapped at a bar where cheap domestic lagers dominate? Sure.
Will I drink it otherwise? Probably not.
On a scale of 1 to 10, I'll give Deep Ellum Pale Ale a 6.
What's happening in the area beer scene this week? (Powered by Dallas Brew Scene.)
• Saturday, July 12. One-Year Anniversary Party at The Bearded Lady (Fort Worth).
• Sunday, July 13. Fat Tire Festival at Gateway Park (Fort Worth).
• Sunday, July 13. Free Dank Dog Brewing Company Tasting and World Cup Final Watching Party at the Pour House (Fort Worth).
Previous On Tap Reviews:
• Peticolas' Royal Scandal: 10.
• Community's Mosaic IPA: 10.
• Peticolas' Velvet Hammer: 10.
• Community's Ascension Porter: 9.5.
• Lakewood's Temptress: 9.5.
• Lakewood's Goatman: 9.5.
• Community's Public Ale: 9.5.
• Peticolas' Thrillla 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 Oak Cliff Coffee Ale: 8.5.
• Rahr's Bourbon Barrel Aged Winter Warmer: 8.5.
• Lakewood's Raspberry Temptress: 8.5.
• 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.
• Peticolas' Wintervention: 8.
• Armadillo Ale Works' Brunch Money: 8.
• 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.
• Deep Ellum IPA: 7.
• Cedar Creek’s The Lawn Ranger: 7.
• Lakewood's Till & Toil: 7.
• 903 Brewers' The Chosen One: 7.
• Martin House's Gateway XPA: 7.
• Armadillo Ale Work's Quakertown Stout: 7.
• Community's Pale Ale: 7.
• Peticolas' The Duke: 6.5.
• Deep Ellum's Double Brown Stout : 6.5.
• Cedar Creek's Elliott's Phoned Home Pale Ale: 6
• Grapevine Craft Brewery's Lakefire: 6
• Lakewood's La Dame Du Lac: 5.5.
• Franconia Wheat: 3.
• Miller Lite: 1.