Inertia governs our drinking habits. The process of discovery often seems overbearing. Everyone likes the idea of trying something new in theory, but when we finally get the bartender’s attention, all of our good intentions dissipate, and we end up ordering the same old thing.
That shouldn’t be a problem at Deep Ellum (477 Cambridge St., Allston. 617-787-2337. deepellum-boston.com). The extremely knowledgeable staff is passionate about beer and eager to share that knowledge with the guests. And so we were treated to a veritable history lesson from bartender Jen Heineck and waitress Ronit Hasson on a recent visit. ‘‘The beer list is intimidating,’’ said Hasson. ‘‘The people expect us to guide them.’’ Which they did, ably, spanning the history of German and Belgian beer, ancient mead-making, and the lifespan of yeast.
‘‘We love to get people excited about beer,’’ said Heineck. ‘‘There’s a story behind each one. We’re like the Amazon.com of beer, you know, ‘recommended if you like .....’ So if someone orders a well-known beer like a Hoegarden, I’ll get them to try the Erdinger’’ (German Heffe-Weisse, 5.2 percent alcohol by volume, $7).
We also tried the Belgian De Ranke Guldenberg Abbey Style Ale (8.5 percent, $8), an extremely hoppy but subtle blond ale. Next up came the Czech Krusovice Swartzbier Black Lager (3.8 percent, $6). It has a low alcohol content, but its dark hue and heavy coffee nose are deceptive. Sweet, but not overpowering, it has an almost butterscotch taste — a little more complex than your average commercial swill.When we mentioned that we usually preferred IPAs, the Californian Pizza Port Wipeout IPA (7 percent, $10) was proffered. ‘‘A good IPA should be hoppy, but not all you taste,’’ explained Heineck. ‘‘Think of it like baking. Malt is like your flour, and hops are your spices.’’ The beer itself was quite strong. Zesty and bitter, but with little indication of how hard it was going to hit us later on. Perhaps that’s a good thing.
Originally pubished in the Boston Globe.