A few short months ago Deep Ellum Brewing Company hired a new brewmaster, Jeremy Hunt, who has been working at Bluegrass Brewing Company in Louisville, Kentucky for the past two years. Hunt brings a wealth of experience and enthusiasm which should translate into some very innovative beers being pumped out of the 8,000 square foot facility. All this comes off of a recent expansion and a thirst to better penetrate the market.
Yesterday the brewery penned a deal that will bring their craft beer to College Station, a major boon for the young company.
This past weekend I had the pleasure to dine with Hunt to discuss beer, Deep Ellum and the future of the brewery.
Tell us the highlight of your career so far.
Getting a job in beer was definitely a highlight. Before I got out of college I had a job making beer at Mercury Brewing Company [now called Ipswich Brewing] and learning how to really do this bare bones. I had a job and not a lot of people did coming out of college, and I happened to be doing what I loved. And what I loved was cleaning kegs, checking gravities, it was great.
Eventually an opportunity arose to get into the brew house, nobody wanted to work second shift with the second brew of the day on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so I said why not? It was serendipitous.
You worked at some fantastic breweries.
Yes, from Mercury I moved on to Redhook where they afforded me the opportunity to grow and learn beer. There I actually learned about production, and moving beer out the door in a very quick manner. And in a regimented manner and all the wonderful things that come with that.
You worked at Dogfish, right?
Yes, I took the job there as senior brewer and from there to head brewer. It has been a nice progression.
What beer at Dogfish were you responsible for that you are most proud?
Responsible wouldn’t necessarily be the correct term, but the Savor Flowers that was only released one day at Savor in Washington DC. My mother is Lebanese, I am adopted and I know I don’t look Lebanese. But one of the things she cooked with in her dishes was rose water, and I had an affinity for that. We came up with this liquor made with rose water and shipped it up to Samuel Adams to come up with this beer called Savor Flowers. We ended up using all sorts of flowers in that and came up with a 10% beer that was interesting, and something different. Pushing the boundaries is something I took away from Dogfish Head. It was a wonderful time, and the learning. I thin k if I am not learning I am not engaged. That has been a common thread through my entire life.
What is your short term plan at Deep Ellum?
Keep the beer consistent. I have made a few very specific changes to some beers, but not necessarily to tweak. It was more to look at the fermentation curves. Let’s serve the beer at its very best. I went back and looked at the files and saw when they were at their very best and want to make it like that all the time. I am sort of a crazy person about process, and we have to do it the same way all the time.
Speak to the long term goals.
Of course I want to push the envelope and keep it fresh all the time. I like the wonderful tradition of American brewing that takes Old World brewing and then puts a unique spin on it. That is what keeps us grounded in traditions that are solid and also put forth something that is aesthetically pleasing. It sort of tickles both parts of our brains. Again it is going back to the not getting bored thing.
Do you have some ideas that you are itching to do at the brewery?
The way I like coming up with beers is combining other people’s ideas along with my ideas that takes us as a company forward. It is not about “here is Jeremy’s beer”, that is not what I do. I liken it almost to jazz. Someone will come to me with an idea and I take that idea and roll it around in my wee little brain, and I spit it out with my little spin on it, then there is back and forth. I don’t care if it is the delivery driver or the president of the company, if someone has an idea I want to use that. Like jazz, back and forth. It is a better way of building something.
What are you working on now?
Right now we are working on a pumpkin beer. We want it to be something that people in the Dallas area, or Austin embrace. The pumpkin beer is something uniquely American. It is something we have grasped on to and look forward to each year. But, I don’t want to just have another pumpkin beer, I want to have the best. And I think we will. Not to be cocky, but who is doing a smoked pumpkin beer? Who is doing Gourdzilla? We do Gourdzilla and that is how we roll. I am looking forward to it and can’t wait to try it.