9% ABV on tap via Randall
I was pulling out all the drunken tools in my seduction arsenal. I asked kindly. I begged. I pleaded. I whined. I cried. Offered money. Solicited. Played the “Don’t you know who I am?!” card. I enlisted my lady friend to help out. She fluttered her peepers. Showed some cleavage. Insinuated sexual favors. Eh, it was no use. The Blind Tiger’s bartender would not be swayed. Could not be cajoled. He simply refused to let me go into the basement keg room. (Something about breaking New York City health codes. Yeah, like I’ve never done THAT before.)
And why did I want to go into the keg room? For no reason other than to be face-to-face with Randall the Enamel Animal.
And who is this Randall fella you ask me? Why none other than “an organoleptic hop transducer module.” Say what?! “A three-foot-long, cylinder-filter packed with a half a pound of whole leafhops [affixed] to the beer line leaving a keg.” In this case, the beer was Dogfish Head’s legendary 90 minute and the whole leafhops were of the amarillo variety*.
I didn’t get to see this process take place in the keg room, nor did I get to snap a picture–the one above is from DFH’s website–but I did get to try the motherfucker. And whoa Nelly! What a beer! I’m an inveterate 90 Minute fan but the Randallizing of the beer makes it even more spectacular.
Whereas 90 Minute has a strong, almost barleywine-like malt backbone propping up its pungent citrusness, the oily soaking of the amarillo in the Randall module smooths out the whole beer making it far more balanced, surprisingly bitter for the ABV, and remarkably drinkable. It was truly a treat to have, and truly a one-of-a-kind drinking experience. The kind of experience that you can only luck into in a place like Manhattan. I had meager Sunday night drinking plans, and never in a million years did I expect to run into a beer I had so long desired.
Sam Calagione is without question the mad scientist of the craft beer world and his invention of the Randall is yet another avant garde touch that I simply adore. Now some of you may think this is nothing more than a gimmick, but I can most certainly assure you that it is not. The Randallizing of 90 Minute turns an already great beer into something sui generis and spectacular.
I hope you all are lucky enough to try it one day. Hell, I hope I’m lucky enough to get to try it again.
*Some other noteworthy Randalls in the past have been filled with stuff such as lemongrass, mint & bourbon balls, melon & assorted fruits, pine & spruce, roasted pine nuts & dried oregano, and warrior & Columbus hops. Wow.