Who’s Randall? The question is, ‘WHAT’S a Randall?’. If you are a true craft beer connoisseur, you might know what a Randall is. I certainly had never heard of it and was looking forward to learning more. A Randall is basically a filtering system that allows the user, beermeister, barkeep, etc., to run tap beer through a pressure vessel filled with ingredients and flavors to create a one-of-a-kind, on-the-spot beer to be enjoyed for a very limited amount of time. As in just a few hours. It’s the ultimate, creative beer fusion experience. It was invented by Dogfish Head Craft Brewing in 2002 and has been used ever since with increasing popularity to push the limits of beer competitions and tastings.
I was recently invited by my buddies at Foothills Brewing to come check out Randall first hand. Randall is not very big, a little industrial looking, with a lovely chamber inside to show what flavors the beer is going to get and the customer is going to taste.
This day, Foothills Brewing was infusing their Jade IPA with Costa Rican habanero peppers, Florida orange zest and locally-sourced lemons from right in Winston-Salem. This beer was excellent. And S.P.I.C.Y.! The heat from those habaneros hit the back of your throat and stayed warm all the way down. The suggested pairing with a beer like this is a burger or something creamy or cheesy.
Randall expert, Caleb, enjoys Mondays as “Randall Day” as the brewery’s regulars start to count on the experiment as well as helping generate a good crowd, not to mention the “creative” aspect of infusing beer with delicious ingredients. The Randall-ized beer is usually ready to go by 4:00 and they’ll keep it going for several hours, say 7:00 or so or until the ingredients begin to break down in the chamber.
Past Randalls have included:
Foothills Hoppyum with lime and New Mexico green chilis
People’s Porter with locally roasted coffee
Torch Pilsner with jalapenos, lime zest and saaz hops
People’s Porter with chipotle peppers and Peruvian cocoa nibs
Frostbite Black IPA with locally-sourced coffee and grapefruit zest
With April being NC Beer Month, the focus has particularly been on locally-sourced ingredients. While I was there, Caleb, Marketing Director, Ray Goodrich and I all brainstormed about what should be in future Randalls…who knows what might happen?
Lowdown Brown with Hazelnuts
With all the herbs, essential oils, hops and unique ingredients available to us, Caleb is only limited by his imagination, which apparently has few limits. To be the first to hear about what’s going in the Randall, follow Foothills Brewing on Twitter @FoothillsBeer. You can also receive additional info on all events by signing up for their email newsletter on Foothills Brewing’s website.