The Ram presented a pre-WWII British way of life—a full line-up of cask-conditioned beer. Six brews were tapped at The Ram in Fishers March 20 March 27 Downtown. Brooklyn Brewing Company brewmaster Garrett Oliver writes in The Brewmaster's Table, "brewing and serving cask-conditioned beer properly requires dedication, and large corporate brewers started to feel such dedication was too expensive. Cellarmanship is an artisanal craft and it takes time to learn." Jon Simmons and Adrian Ball concur "it is a gutsy undertaking to age six batches over a year." That's a lot of inventory waiting to pay its way.
A large and eager group of tasters on March 20 were agreeing with Oliver's poetic description of cask-conditioned beer at room temperature allowing "the palate [to be] caressed by waves of malt, fruit and hop flavors, all dancing alluringly in a wonderful interplay." Cask-conditioned beer is alive and changes from day-to-day, but generally this is what you can anticipate over the next few months as The Ram puts these beers on tap one at a time:
Aged in Woodford Reserve barrels, three will have a sweeter, softer cast:
Irish Stout immediately wafts up the delicate infusion with caramel and a vanilla bean. Light to medium bodied, Simmons calls this "a mild Irish Car Bomb" –a bold mix of Guinness® stout, Bailey's® Irish cream and Jameson® Irish whiskey.
Buttface Amber delivers "a huge butterscotch flavor and aroma. 'Think Wurhter's original candy," says Simmons. Its effervescence makes it fun to look at.
Total Disorder Porter's "intense Bourbon nose and flavor pairs nicely with the chocolate and coffee undertones of the ale," making this an even more delicious version of The Ram's fine house porter.
The drier Jack Daniels barrel distinguishes Breakfast Stout with its upfront java nose. "Lingering whiskey flavor gives this a kick," says Ball. "Rich chocolate, oats and lactose built the beer."
The Jameson Irish barrel adds its whiskey nuance to the annual "delicate caramel flavored" St. Mick's Irish Red.
Aged in a Buffalo Trace barrel, Cream Ale is the most intriguing one-of-a-kind-recipes. Its sunny hue and soft creamy taste comes from a blend of three favorites – Oktoberfest Lager, Kolsch and Blonde. "We had no idea how it was going to turn out," offers Ball, delighted it did.
More information on the schedule at www.theram.com or call 317-955-9900 [Downtown] or 317-596-0079 [Fishers].
For a fine description of barrel aging log on:www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/beer/barrelaged-beers-loving-or-hating-beer-sessions-099063
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