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Texas Brew Review: Deep Ellum Neato Bandito

Posted 3:00pm on Wednesday, Jun. 04, 2014

To some craft beer fans, “adjunct” is a term chiefly used to describe the inexpensive ingredients like corn or rice that giant macrobreweries use to cut costs when mass producing their beers.

In reality, you’d be hard pressed to find a craft brewery that doesn’t use an adjunct in at least one of its beers. “Adjunct” simply refers to something you use when brewing a beer that isn’t hops, malted barley, water and yeast. Many of your favorite local craft beers use them. Revolver Blood and Honey, Martin House Day Break and Lakewood Temptress (just to name a few) all liberally employ the use of adjuncts. And really, who cares, if the end result is good?.

Corn is one of those four-letter adjunct words that craft beer folk associate mostly with Miller Lite and other mass-market beers. So, when a local craft brewery starts bragging about using a “heaping helping of corn” in its latest beer, it’s bound to raise some eyebrows.

Deep Ellum Brewing has built its brand around not giving much of a crap what others think of them (see the whole Dallas Blonde fiasco). If anyone was going to try and make a Mexican-style adjunct lager, and spit in the face of a sacred craft cow, it’s not too surprising it would come from them.

Neato Bandito launched on draft at the brewery on Cinco de Mayo, and just recently hit stores in cans ($8.99 for six pack). Touting itself as a Czech-inspired Mexican-style lager, Neato Bandito seems to be Deep Ellum’s attempt to lure Dos Equis drinkers over to its side. Dos Equis Lager Especial (the green one) features a similar Czech hop profile, but where Dos Equis is lighter bodied and finishes cleaner, Neato is a bit sweeter with more hops and a slightly heavier body.

Where giant breweries are looking to break into the craft market with beers like Shock Top (Anheuser-Busch) and Blue Moon (Coors), microbreweries like Deep Ellum are trying to poke through the ceiling and chip away at the behemoth in a different way. Whether they’ll be able to make a dent with Bandito remains to be seen.

Quick sips

903 turns one: 903 Brewers of Sherman is having its One Year Anniversary Celebration Saturday from noon-5 p.m. The nano-brewery is still operating small but has produced an array of beers in a short time and will have many of them on tap Saturday. There is no charge for the event and because of law changes, it is able to sell its beers directly to the public at the brewery for $3-$5 a pour.

New guys launching more beers: After a false start and a bad-batch dump, Grapevine Craft Brewery is releasing 10 Gauge Belgian IPA at the brewery Saturday with wider release expected soon. Rabbit Hole is also launching its saison Wonderlust around the area soon.

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