Last night I had the pleasure of hanging out with some friends (along with the co-founder of tDoB, Chuck!) at Two Stones Pub in Newark, Delaware for what has become a Wednesday night tradition. The place was packed (nice business for a Wed) and the beer choices were excellent as usual. But that’s not what brought us in – it was Randall.
Now Randall isn’t the cook, the beer buyer or the pretty bartender with the sweet smile (but if she was that would be funny), no randall is a little contraption dreamt up by the boys at Dogfish Head. This little device allows you to infuse any beer from your tap system with anything you want. And I do mean anything. If you can get it into the first chamber it’s fair game! From what I have read and heard the unit started from humble enough beginnings as a way to put an extra hop kick into a beer as it was being poured into the glass. But beer drinkers being the creative bunch that they are, it wasn’t long before other things began to sneak their way into it.
The system itself seems simple enough (although since you’re dealing with liquid under pressure I’m sure it’s not), the first chamber holds what ever you wish to infuse into your beer while the second chamber gives the infused beer time to settle to reduce foaming when poured. A cylinder around the second chamber allows ice to be added to keep the beer in it chilled until it is dispensed. And there’s a filter between to the two chambers – no floaties please!
I watched the bartender from my envious vantage point of “right in front of it” pour several glasses throughout the night and I can tell you that those baristas who make your coffee in the morning had nothing on this guy. He was working the system like a champ and the rewards were excellent.
Last night was Dogfish Head’s Theobroma (a beer brewed with Aztec cocoa powder and nibs, honey, chilies and annatto) over strawberries, shaved chocolate and vanilla beans creating what Two Stones called “a napoleon” after the popular ice cream trio. The shaved chocolate really popped the already chocolate tones in the Theobroma and the vanilla seemed to pull everything together. The strawberries were subtle but there, possibly over powered a bit by the already big brew. One of the interesting things about the randall is, depending on what you put into it and how well or how quickly it infuses into the beer – the beer can change throughout the night. The beer you get at 9pm might be completely different from the one you had at 7. Or if your timing is right, order the beer before it is installed and then save it (tough, I know) to compare with the beer coming out of the randall.
Past randall nights at Two Stones have seen:
- 21st Amendment Hop Crisis over Hawaiian Pinapple and Tahitian Vanilla Beans
- Victory Brewing Old Horizontal over brandied figs and dates.
- Dogfish Head Festina Peche over local peaches and (yes, no kidding) Sour Patch Kids.
- Victory Brewing Golden Monkey over bananas and walnuts.
As you can see you’re only limited by the beer you have on tap, and your own imagination. So next time you’re on a pub run, keep an eye out for my buddy randall hanging out around the bar. And if he’s there forget all that nonsense the commercials used to try and tell you about “not fruiting your beer” and give him a try. Maybe if you’re lucky after a few beers he’ll tell you how he got his nickname “the enamel animal”. Oh, and tell him I’ll see him next Wednesday will you? Thanks.
Have you had a beer through a randall before? And if so, what’s your favorite beer/randall combination?