What can be a more American way to celebrate Memorial Day than to drink beer and eat barbecue? Deep Ellum Brewing Company agreed and Sunday was the 2nd annual Brew-B-Q in the new Beer Garden and they brought friends: Martin House Brewing, Armadillo Ale Works and (512). From 6-10pm, it was a mad house of samplings, food and music.
When we walked up to Deep Ellum Brewing Company, I was surprised by the line of people waiting to buy a ticket and get inside. It was at least 50 deep and the facility was already packed. This is a good sign for all of the new craft breweries opening up in North Texas. The setup was simple once inside, far right was Whole Food and barbecue and there were several stations set up throughout the garden giving samples. If you haven’t been to too many events like this, the trick is to drink while in line. Get your sample, find the next line you want to get into and socialize from there to maximize your samples.
First up was Armadillo Ale Works, set up in front of the entrance. They only had two taps going so it was a crapshoot on what beer would be available but I got the two I wanted: the Quakertown Stout and Idiot’s Hill IPA. The IPA was not overwhelmingly bitter but rich in weight and body with strong floral and stone fruit. It was good but the Stout was the highlight. It was full bodied with heavy malt, espresso and a touch of chocolate with a long espresso finish. This was one of my top 3 beers and one I would buy right now.
(512) is out of Austin and came to the party with an IPA and a Wit, perfectly clean and bright beers that were great for the weather outside. There were a lot of wits and light saisons available, including the Deep Ellum Brewery’s Farmhouse Wit that was full of refreshing lemon with a hint of funky goodness. This was the favorite of Matt McCallister, who said: “I can see my pastry chef using this in his desserts; these are his flavor profiles: lemongrass, orange peel, coriander.”
I cannot wait to see how that all comes together. My favorite Deep Ellum beer though was the Abbey Dubbel, reminiscent of Maredsous with a touch of gingerbread, orange peel and Christmas spice; another beer that left me wanting more.
This was my first experience with Martin House and I have to say I was impressed. While they had run out of the Imperial Texan IPA by the time I got to them, their Daybreak and Pretzel Stout were great. The stout was lighter in body when compared to Armadillo Ale’s, with a clean coffee and cocoa flavor and extremely dark color. This is a stout for the summer because it was not as heavy on the palate but full of flavor. Then there was the Daybreak. Complex like a breakfast bread with a hint of maple syrup, it was delicious.
I have one complaint that hopefully can be relieved for next year’s Brew-B-Q, there were so many people that we were not able to get any food. It is a testament to the quality of the breweries present that everyone wanted to be here but we had to leave early to get some food. Next time I plan on eating ahead of time to focus on the beer. I know what is important…