We found ourselves running around Meridian and the growling of our stomachs told us that dinner wouldn’t wait any longer. We don’t find ourselves in Meredian all that often so we only had a few ideas of where we could go, but then a sign popped up on the left, Ram Restaurant and Brewery. Everyone that knows me is already aware of my views on beer, the smaller the brewery the better the beer, so the thought of having a beer at the scene of the brew grabbed my attention in a hurry.
First of all the place looks sharp, inside and out; and, we were whisked off to a table as soon as we came in. This could be good timing on our part but it was obviously busy. The wait was a little long, as I said it was busy, but I sat entranced by the beer menu. I ignored the part that covered other people’s beer and concentrated on the local stuff, so imagine my delight when I saw they had a sampler of all six of their beers, 30 total ounces in six glasses. I just wish I remember the name of the sampler from the menu. I brew my own, so the style guide isn’t a stranger to me, but it’s rare that I get a chance to sink my taste buds into a selection like this. First of all, I don’t care for hoppy beers, so I went for them first.
- 71 Pale Ale was very crisp the hops were forward which is correct for the style and even though I’m not a fan of hoppy beers this was smooth enough that I could overlook it and appreciate the quality.
- Big Red I.P.A was also a hoppy beer without yielding to the temptation of being a hop grenade, which many brewers don’t manage that well. It was a clear, sharp beer with an assertive hop presence that didn’t distract from the quality of the brew.
- A little less down the hop scale was Big Horn Hefeweizen, unfiltered and true to style with a blend of hops to malt closer to neutral than the previous styles, a fine flavor that I could see enjoying on a hot day.
- Big Horn Blonde is a sweeter beer, more malt forward and correct to style with an excellent crisply sweet flavor.
- Buttface Amber Ale is normally a little hoppier than my tastes run toward, but this pulled it off well, it hit hoppy but finished a touch sweeter to leave a pleasant confusion among the taste buds, they weren’t sure what hit them but they were ready to try it again.
- Porters and Scottish ales are my brew of choice, so I saved Total Disorder Porter for last, it’s a perfect balance of hop to malt, coming in at 25 IBUs and the flavor curled my toes. This may just nudge my favorite porter from its throne, it’ll probably take a growler or two before I can say for sure, but this is undoubtedly the smoothest porter I’ve tasted yet.
The only thing that could have made the array of beers I had any finer would have been a good Belgian sour or lambic, but they can count on seeing more of me, and I’ll be marking out a section of my beer fridge out for Total Disorder, and maybe a bit of Buttface. I’ll have to see if I can watch the brewing one of these days, no better way to geek out a homebrewer.
The food, yes we did eat, Kim and I both ordered 1 pound burgers, she had the Extreme Bronco Burger, it came loaded with cheddar, lettuce and tomato, hold the onion and pickle, and they did and she got a side of guacamole, which made her day complete. The raspberry milk shake put it over the top foe her. She was smart enough to stop at half, I was not.
I had an Extreme Big Dawg Burger, also weighing in at a pound and this bad boy was fully dressed out, bacon, cheddar, sautéed mushrooms, onions and pickles and I got to choose the condiments, a little mustard and I was good to go. It was so good I didn’t realize I was stuffed until I was done, a massive burger and a side of onion rings and life was complete.
Normally the fastest way for any eatery to irritate me is to charge for the coffee I like to savor after I eat, but this time I was still well pleased, it was a large cup of dark rich brew that made you realize that they didn’t skimp on the quality.
The beer selection was outstanding, they covered the basics that most beer drinkers look for and did it with class and flavor. The food was excellent, I completely respect their notion that you should leave stuffed when you’re paying good money. It was clean, cheerful and pleasant all around. Two big thumbs up and I’ll be back!
© 2009, Tim Boothby. All rights reserved.