Beer Buzz, 5/13/2015 

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The RAM
is celebrating double anniversaries (its 15th downtown & 10th in Fishers) and American Craft Beer Week with daily releases served in RAM “Bigger, Better, Fresher” 18 ounce signature glasses for $3.50 each

May 13 – Blonde Ale
May 14 – Big Red IPA
May 15 – Buttface Amber Ale
May 16 – Maibock
May 17 – ’71 Pale Ale

The back story is a trajectory of former RAM brewers opening new breweries:


Indiana Craft Beer Historian Bob Ostrander describes RAM’s beginnings in Hoosier Beer [The History Press, 2011]: “The RAM’s Indianapolis branch went into a downtown space [in 2000] previously occupied by the short-lived Planet Hollywood, a celebrity-owned restaurant chain. John Hanley was the first brewer.”

When Hanley left in 2002 Dave Colt became head brewer following his introduction into brewing at Mark Vojnovich’s Circle V [open1996-2001]. Clay Robinson, who started at Oaken Barrel, came on as assistant brewer. Awards began to line the back wall and in 2007 RAM was named Champion Brewery at the Indiana State Fair/Brewers of Indiana Guild Craft Beer Competition. When Clay left in 2008, Jon Simmons crossed the street from Rock Bottom downtown where he was apprenticing with Jerry Sutherland [who started at Oaken Barrel] to assist Dave. Jon was named head brewer May 1, 2009 when Dave left to open Sun King with Clay. Andrew Castner moved from Oaken Barrel to RAM as assistant to Jon, and became head brewer when Jon left to be night brewer at Sun King. Chris Knott became assistant brewer and then head brewer when Andrew left in 2013 to open MashCraft [in 2014]. Chris went to Scarlet Lane in 2014 and in 2015 became head brewer at FLIXBrewhouse. January 2014 Scott Ellis became head brewer with Nathan Scuggs as assistant. Scott left to open Big Lug Brewhouse with Eddie Sahm, Nathan went to Rock Bottom College Park when Liz Laughlin “retired” to pursue new ventures. Oct. 2014 Shawn Byrnes became The RAM head brewer, first with assistant Mike Freeman after a long tenure at Great Fermentations. Andrew Trefny is now assistant brewer to Byrnes.

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Introducing Shawn Byrnes, The RAM Head Brewer for Downtown and Fishers

NUVO: What has been your path to attaining Head Brewer at The RAM?

Shawn Byrnes: My path has been twenty years of craft beer enjoyment. I have always been intrigued by the chemistry and process that goes into making beer, so naturally I got into homebrewing. That paved the way to brewing professionally. I have been fortunate to brew in Bloomington, IN, Asheville, NC and now Indianapolis.

NUVO: What is your brewing philosophy?

Byrnes: Keeping it simple just like old world brewing but taking advantage of modern equipment using a new age twist.

NUVO: How do you connect with the larger craft brewing industry across Indiana? with fellow brewers?

Byrnes: We connect because we are passionate, and that gives us common ground. There is a sense of community here in the city, and we are supportive of each other. Whether you need some hops or malt or a yeast strand for your next brew, we are there to help one another. It's a good crop of brewers and a great time to be brewing in Indianapolis.

NUVO: Do you have a favorite craft beer style you love to brew? Drink?

Byrnes: My favorite style to brew is either an IPA or a Pale Ale. I am a hop head, so those are my favorite to drink as well. With the variety of hops available these days, the creativity is endless.

NUVO: What, from your point of view as a brewer, is important for The RAM wait staff and bartenders to communicate with patrons about the craft beer you brew?

Byrnes: To give an experience...Whether they are a beer enthusiast or new to the craft brew scene, they should always be informed and inspired by our product. We need to pass on the love of the craft.

NUVO: How do you personally connect with RAM patrons to help them enjoy and experience a range of craft beer styles?

Byrnes: I like to think they get a sense of me through my beer! I am proud of what I do and enjoy sharing it with others. I appreciate those coming in to support The RAM and drink craft beer.

NUVO: What is unique about brewing for two different locations, and perhaps two different patron profiles?

Byrnes: They have a different scene at each location, downtown big city feel and local watering hole. It's good because I like to cover all the bases.

NUVO: How do you work in unison with the master chefs downtown and Fishers?

Byrnes: With our beer tappings we have food pairings, so together we find flavors that compliment one another.

NUVO: Why is it important to you to now pass on the craft brewing legacy you gained to a new generation—particularly your assistant brewer, Andrew Trefny?

Byrnes: I have been trained by older wiser brewers who have put in long working hours to gain knowledge and experience. Now I'm the one in those shoes. It's my turn to mentor and inspire and make sure a high standard and a respect for the craft is passed on and maintained.

NUVO: What else should NUVO readers know about The RAM experience?

Byrnes: The RAM has 15 years of history in the heart of downtown Indy. It has been a gateway brewery for many brewers giving them opportunity and helping them build a resume for success. It offers a little bit of everything for patrons to enjoy from the buzz of the city to great beer and food. It's a gathering place for all.

click to enlarge The RAM's been brewing for a LONG time.
  • The RAM's been brewing for a LONG time.

Introducing Andrew Coy, The RAM Downtown Store Leader at 140 S. Illinois St.

NUVO: What makes The RAM unique as a combination of a national and a neighborhood-centric destination?

Coy: We are your local, family-friendly neighborhood restaurant and brewery. We are lucky enough to share this in 30+ neighborhoods nationwide and growing.

NUVO: What does it mean to be "employee-owned?" How does that reflect on what a patron gains when visiting The RAM downtown and Fishers?

Coy: This means The RAM will always be family owned and operated! Being “employee-owned” will continue our growth and success by providing every team member the opportunity to have ownership interest. The result of team players with ownership mentality will reflect in our warm, gracious hospitality to every Guest we serve.

NUVO: What do you most want a RAM patron to experience?

Coy: We want out Guests to experience our gracious hospitality, award winning beer and superior eats. Our number one goal is to share memorable experiences with each Guest.

NUVO: How does the RAM promote craft beer education/mindful eating and drinking?

Coy: We always encourage our Guests to tour our brewery to get an inside peak to our production. Our team members are all coached about the beer making process and we continue to educate them on a daily basis. We offer a variety of mindful options; lo cal, gluten free, vegetarian and even vegan entrees.

NUVO: What are the ways The RAM serves the community outside your doors? Philanthropy? Being a 'good citizen'?

Coy: Community involvement is very important to us and we are always looking for new ways to get involved. This year alone The RAM donated over $10,000 across the nation through school takeovers, fundraisers and more. For every taster curl we sell, we donate $0.50 to the U.S. Curling team.

NUVO: What is particular about The RAM food & beer experience?

Coy: We put a lot of passion into what we do here at The RAM. Every plate, every pint and every experience is an opportunity to impress our Guests!

NUVO: What else should a NUVO reader know about The RAM experience?

Coy: We would love the opportunity to meet you and share a great experience. We are happy to host a variety of events, gatherings and family celebrations. If you are interested in a tour, call or stop in anytime!

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Counting to 25

May 14: Broad Ripple Brewpub is celebrating reaching the halfway point in their historic 25th year with $4 “20oz Pints,” giveaways of 25th anniversary merchandise, a raffle for a chance to buy a 1/6 bbl of one of our beers – “something no one has ever been able to do in our long history,” according to Billy Hannon. Festivities start at 6 p.m. with the music by The Midwest Rhythm Exchange starting at 7:30 p.m. Expect a special brew from Jonathon Mullens.

American Craft Beer Week Bonanza Continues

May 13: Triton tapping Summer Shandy and Wit or Witout You Belgian-style Wit at Triton Brewing Company, 3-10 p.m. Summer Shandy will be available on draft. Wit Or Witout You will be released on draft and in 4-packs! Der Pretzel Wagen, 4:30-9 p.m.

May 13: Brugge & Outliers 5 beers-4 courses dinner at Binkley’s includes the standard Tripel de Ripple and the newly created Madeline la Framboise. $45. Tickets at: 31-722-8888.

May 13: Flat12 hosts Pints For Parks fundraiser at 414 Dorman St., 5-8 p.m. free for 21+

May 14: Triton tapping their newest Sour, Barn Phantom with fresh strawberries and raspberries, 3-10 p.m. KG Slider Station 4:30-9 p.m.

May 14: New Belgium Brewing and Girls Pint Out present a beer cocktail mixer at Binkley’s, 5902 N. College Ave. GPO president Amanda Wishin reports, “This is a national event with 12 Girls Pint Out chapters across the country. We will be exploring New Belgium's newest Lips of Faith offering, Pear Ginger Beer, as a base for a beer cocktail. $10 ticket includes: One full beer cocktail made with New Belgium Pear Ginger Beer, Two samples of beer cocktails, Samples of other New Belgium beers, Appetizers. tickets here:http://indygpomixernbb.bpt.me/

May 15: Triton tapping Railsplitter Five Alive IPA infused with orange, lemon, lime, tangerine and grapefruit; layers of citrus flavors are balanced by a hoppy finish., 3-10 p.m. Scratchtruck 5-9 p.m.

May 15: Triton Beer Sampling at Crown Liquors downtown at 150 N. Delaware, 4-7 p.m.

May 16: 10th annual celebration of American Craft Beer nationwide toast.

May 16: Triton joins Eggfest 2015 at Chef JJ’s Backyard, 1040 Broad Ripple Ave. 10 a.m-2.p.m. Adults: $35. Children: $5 (12 years old and under). Appropriate for all ages; includes grilling demos, giveaways and food from the Big Green Egg. Tickets at: chefjjs.com.

May 16: Triton Tap’s Two Year Anniversary Party at 915 Broad Ripple Ave., starts 12 p.m. Specialty beer tappings including Barn Phantom (Sour) with fresh strawberries and raspberries and Railsplitter 5 Alive, live music, food, t-shirt discounts and more; check out tritontap.com.

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News From The People Who Make Good Beer Experiences Happen in Indiana

Lennie’s and the Bloomington Brewing Co. invites: “Stop by the Brewpub at Lennie’s anytime during business hours throughout the month of May, fill out an entry form, and you’re entered to win a pair of reserved seats at the Soldier Field show on Sunday, July 5th for what the Grateful Dead say will be their last show ever.”

Bike to Lennie’s throughout the month of May for prizes. “Bike to Lennie’s” rewards restaurant staff and customers who participate in the promotion that encourages cycling and celebrates National Bike Month.

National Homebrew Day: Homebrewers took home an ounce of Equinox™ hops that provide a pronounced aroma profile with citrus, tropical fruit, floral, and herbal characteristics with flavors of lemon, lime, papaya, apple, and green pepper. The diverse and pronounced aroma characteristics combined with extremely high oil content and a tight cone structure make this hop variety very unique.

People’s Brewery renovation is sporting a spiffed-up bar moved from its former end of the room to the side making for a comfortable flow space. A music stage now fits into the old bar space and that allows the sound to flow out onto the out door patio. Brewer/co-owner Chris Johnson is celebrating the week of marathon refurbishing with Alt Ready to Go, a German beer that is an everyday well-balanced, maltier ale and Horse Pils, an Imperial Pilsner.

Upland 2015 UpCup Homebrew Competition winners are: 3rd place: Tony Valenza – American Warrior American Pale Ale; 2nd place: Jason Behenna – Extravehicular Activity – Dry Stout; 1st place: Chris Hoover – 47 ft. Blonde – Blonde Ale. The special prize is brewing with Upland for the Great American Beer Festival Pro-Am competition.

Chris Hoover joins the pantheon of first place winners including: Kenneth Smith, 2008; Tom Wallbank, 2009 and 2013; Brian Steuerwald, 2010; Randy Jones, 2011; Andrew Korty, 2012; Michael Calvin, 2014.

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New Brews

BRBP is pouring the 2014 Best of Show Homebrew winner from the Brewers Cup at the Indiana State Fair. Louisville-native Evan Brill joined brewmaster Jonathon Mullens at BRBP in February to brew the upscaled original 10-gallon recipe. The Lost Slone, a Vienna Lager, is named for one of Brill’s best friends. Brill says he was in Vienna with a group of 20-something friends when they “lost Slone” in a bar in the middle of Vienna about ten years ago. Around 4 a.m., after retracing every bar they had visited, upon returning to the hotel there was Slone. Brill says he’s been brewing the beer ever since, sharing with friends for Louisville events. Mullens says, “It’s an easy drinking flavorful lager that’s perfect for a spring day.” After some three months of lagering, you’re looking at a clear, rich amber with a thin head, lace forming on the glass as you drink and a malt sweet aroma. A first sip delights with a cleansing effervesance that opens to a fine balance between Vienna malt, Noble hops and unobtrusive lager yeast to close with a dry finish. At 5.11% ABV and 18.7 IBU’s The Lost Slone equally is a fine companion with Spring salads and hearty offerings on the BRBP menu.

For the record, Brill says the Indiana competition is fun to enter. He cites the excellent feedback from judges. The 2015 Competition judging takes place July 10-11.
More at: in.gov/statefair/fair/contests/2554.html

Mad Anthony is releasing their first canned beer: Summer Daze Wheat in 16-ounce cans. The popular seasonal greets with a golden hue, sweet aroma and a layered blending of wheat, honey, caromel malt and natural aromatics, balanced with a citrusy hops finish.

Bloomington Brewing Company is releasing their first canned beer—a limited edition of Back Country Session IPA in 4-packs of 16 once cans. A portion of sales supports the Indiana Forest Alliance. To learn more, visit www.indianaforestalliance.org or go to the BBC Brewpub on Thursday, May 14 from 4-7 p.m. for the release party, where IFA will be on hand with more information. Back Country’s generous hops bill includes Nugget, Cascade, Amarillo, Simco, Mosaic, HBC 291, Equinox and Centennial. Pale, Caramel-70 and Vienna malts stand up to the hops for an easy-drinking experience.

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Evil Czech in Mishawaka brought back Periodic Session IPA with Mandarina Bavaria hops adding distinct tangerine and citrus flavors to the aroma. Now in cans

FLIX Brewhouse special Ginger Kiss is a Single Hop American Pale Ale with fresh ginger and LemonDrop hops. LemonDrop is an aromatic hop that originated from a cross between Cascade and USDA 19058 male. Its aroma imparts wafts of lemon mint and green tea and with citrsy, spicy, earthy taste layers. Brewers utilize the newly developed LemonDrop in place of Cascade, Manadarina Bavaria and Centennial hops.

Upland’s Infinite Wisdom strong Belgian-style ale offers complex fruity-ness, a bold mouthfeel and patient balance between malts supporting hops. Sundial Farmhouse Ale as part of Side Trail Series #3 imparts “the rich and sweet flavors of local wildflower honey and the refreshing assertiveness of Mosaic and Mandarina Bavaria hops.

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Rita Kohn

Rita Kohn

Bio:
Rita Kohn has been covering craft beer and the arts for NUVO for two decades. She’s the author of True Brew: A Guide to Craft Beer in Indiana.

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