Microbreweries in Seattle are like Seahawks’ interceptions: a dime a dozen, it sometimes seems. So with all that competition over your liver, the beer nerds behind the counter are constantly trying to come up with something new and interesting, from inoculating beer with bacteria for a flash of tongue-stinging tartness to dumping ingredients like habanero peppers and cocoa nibs into the kettle.
One of the innovations popping up at local breweries is the Randall, a double-chamber filter that holds whatever, really – coffee beans, a sprig of your favorite herb, hops – and connects to a tap to impart a bolt of flavor to a beer. The Randall was developed by the folks at Dogfish Head brewery in Delaware. Locally, Randalls have popped up at Fremont Brewing, Standard Brewing, and at the Pine Box bar.
“We’re always looking for a way to keep things fresh and interesting, and figured that throwing a beer on Randall was an easy way to change things up,” says Justin Gerardy, whose Standard Brewing opened last March in the Central District. “Nine taps might seem like a lot of choice for a little brewery, but when you’re trying to keep a number of crowd favorites available, it can be hard to find room for experiments. Randalling can be great, and it can be horrible. We try to keep the Randall ingredient to more aromatic things like herbs and hops so as not to completely bury the beer. We’re not doing bacon or candy or anything like that.”
One of Gerardy’s latest concoctions was his CDA run through Chinook hops and rosemary. Standard has been serving Randall beers on Sundays to coordinate with showing Seahawks games, but that might not keep up after the Super Bowl. For the latest, check the brewery’s blog.
Fremont Brewing has two Randalls in its lineup, with infusions changing constantly. Recent infusions include a pale ale filtered through lemon and lavender and their Sister Imperial IPA filtered through Buddha’s Hand, the wacky orange citrus native to Asia. Fremont announces their line up on its Facebook page.
The Pine Box Bar on Capitol Hill will occasionally Randall someone’s beer, and they’ve been known to Randall 12 of their taps. For the past two years at Christmas, they’ve hosted a Randall celebration called the 12 Randalls of Xmas. And in the fall, they filtered Fremont Brewing’s Universal Pale through 12 Randalls, each containing a different type of hop. Their latest work is also announced on Facebook.
And tiny Rooftop Brewing, in North Queen Anne, has been hooking up its Randall on Fridays. Check their Facebook for updates about the latest combination, which recently featured their phenomenal Makeda Coffee Porter Randalled with cocoa nibs from Theo Chocolate.