Brew Review – Fordham’s Rams Head IPA

If you live in this area, or more so in the Annopolis, MD area, you’re probably aware that Rams Head Tavern and Fordham Brewing are pretty much joined at the hip.  Rams Head owner Bill Muhlhauser owns a stake in the now Dover, Delaware located brewery and Fordham beers can pretty much be considered the “house beers” of the tavern.

It was with this knowledge that I stood in my kitchen looking at my bottle of Fordham’s new Rams Head IPA with my head tilted, much like that of my editor as he watches me take cookies out of a package.  Has Fordham really never had an IPA in their catalog before?  Have they never used the term “Rams Head” in association with one of there beers before?  It struck me as odd, that they’ve wait so long to make what appears to be such an obvious connection from a branding standpoint.  Then I went to open the beer.  Are all Fordham beers screw tops?  How unobservant have I been?  What other things in the world have I missed because of my lack of attention?


AHHHH! Ok, maybe walking around in a kalnienkic hazy isn’t a bad thing.  So let’s focus what little attention I have to the beer at hand, Fordham’s Rams Head IPA.

THEM: Rams Head is built on a grain bill of pale, munich and rye (interesting) malts.  A combination of Bravo, Chinook and Motueka hops are added to give the beer its hop flavor and balance the beer out at 75IBUs.  The beer clocks in at 7.5%.

Not to step on Beerbeque’s  Hop-epedia project but Motueka?  From New Zealand Hops Limited:

A triploid aroma type developed by New Zealand’s HortResearch. This hop was bred by crossing a New Zealand breeding selection (2/3) with Saazer parentage (1/3). First selected by a notable Belgian brewery lead to this variety being called Belgian Saaz and later shortened to “B” Saaz so as not confuse country of origin.

Ahhhh, go ask Scott what it means.

Fordham's Rams Head IPA
Fordham’s Rams Head IPA

ME:  I’m going to say right off the bat that this is a pretty good IPA.  There are no surprises here.  The aroma is pretty straight forward with citrus (grapefruit/slight lemon), floral and pine notes that carry over into the flavor.  The hop flavor isn’t overly aggressive,  this is a pretty easy sipping beer.  It starts clean in the front with the hops coming up in the middle.  I would have liked a little more malt support but that’s just how I like my IPAs, not a knock on this beer.  The finish is clean, a little lingering “bitter rind” hop that stays with you and gives your mouth a little water.  Rams Head is an attractive beer in the glass as well.  After the initial white, fluffy head dissipates, A steady vortex of bubbles rise up to support about a quarter inch of white foam on the top and the generous coating of lace that was left on the glass after every sip.  In my glass it starts as a shade lighter then yellow at the bottom, ends at the top in a nice orange.  The over all balance is enough to hide the 7.5%ABV.

The New Zealand Hops page says that lemon (and lime) are not uncommon flavors with Motueka hops.  Sounds interest.  I’ll be keeping my eye open for more beers with this hop in it.  As for Rams Head, I think local hop heads are going to like it.  It’s a solid IPA.

Time for another beer.