Deep Ellum Brewing Company head brewer Jeremy Hunt is a Godsend. He moved to Austria years ago to finish his studies and become a priest. But while there, God introduced Hunt to Belgium craft beer and BAM. He was a convert. He returned home not only a brewer, but married.
Once back in the states, this born-again (or wayward, depending on your stance) soul worked at Mercury Brewing Co. in Ipswitch, Massachusetts, then Red Hook in New Hampshire before studying under the distinguished Sam Calagione at DogFish Head Craft Brewery.
Since June of last year, he's been churning out beer for DEBC. As part of a series of interviews with Dallas brewers, below are his thoughts on the local beer scene, what's in his beer fridge right now and exactly how he fell in love with beer.
In 2010, there were just two local craft breweries in Dallas. Now there are more than a dozen. What do you think about the explosive growth of craft brewing locally? I think it's great. All brewers put their own unique spin on classic beer styles. I'm not just a brewer, I'm a consumer. I buy craft beer. So, having more locally brewed choices is a great benefit of living here in the Dallas area.
What's in your beer fridge right now? Plenty of Deep Ellum IPA and a growler of Deep Ellum's Oak Cliff Coffee Ale!
Ever had a colossal brewing mistake? Like a situation where you wanted to laugh and cry all at once. You know, I've been brewing professionally for over 10 years and in that time, I've seen a lot of things that did not work out as planned. Sometimes it's a comedy of errors. I can't think of one particular colossal mistake, but usually it's the little things that all go wrong at once that make me laugh and cry.
Do you have any advice for budding brewers? 1. Volunteer at a local craft brewery that you love. Spend time and ask a lot of questions. Have a few beers with your local brewers. We're all pretty nice and we love to have a pint at the end of the shift!
2. Brew. Brew a lot. Make mistakes and learn from them. Be anal retentive about your brewing. Take notes and find out what works and what does not. Learn about ingredients by brewing and drinking.
3. Read. If this is going to become a career for you and not a hobby, read more. Learn about classic beer styles and what sets them apart from one another. Then, go back to step two and perfect them.
Have you found any invaluable brewing/beer/forums that are great resources? Prowbrewer.com is an invaluable resource. Also, any of John Palmer's books.
What's the hardest part of your job, and, at the other end of the spectrum, the best part? The hardest part of brewing is when machines break. It happens. Brewing is an industrial job and we rely on machines. Pumps and motors and canning lines, etc. And they all get used a lot. So sometimes, they break. It's beyond your control and you kind of have to roll with those punches as they come and prepare ahead of time so that it doesn't happen again.
The best part of brewing is getting to make beer with some of the finest folks that I know. We're not just coworkers, we're friends.
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Are there any styles, ingredients, trends or brewing processes that you're really excited about right now? I like sour beer and I really like lagers. I think that it's really cool to see new breweries that are dedicated to lager only. And pushing the envelope with lagers. That gets me excited!
What's the best beer you've ever had? My top three right now are Ayinger Octoberfest, Fullers ESB on cask and the beer at the end of a long shift (lately it's been Oak Cliff Coffee Ale).
What's the most ridiculous or far-fetched thing you've ever done to get beer? My wife and I studied in Austria for awhile and we had a Belgian Beer Club on campus. Every weekend someone would go to Belgium just to pick-up some great beers. We'd pretend that it was for the culture or the art. Nope, we went for the beer!