Ramblin’ Road at Southwest Ontario Licensees

Since December 2012 our hard working neighbours and friends have been able to take home our 3 premium beers, the Country Pilsner, Country Ale and Country Lager in 6 packs as well as 20L and 50L Kegs. Shortly after our un-official launch we also made our beers 999537_534290003296336_170542008_navailable to local licensees within Norfolk – your favorite restaurants, check it out and ask if they have Ramblin’ Road stock. During this spring we took our time perfecting the unique and refreshing DPA, Dakota Pearl Ale, made with pure potato goodness, making it available in single-serve bottles as well as kegs.

The buzz about the brewery is growing daily as a natural result of the delicious beers and local support we have gotten from not only Norfolk residents, but surrounding communities and visitors to our area, seeking out the Brewery Farm experience. Over time, the number of licensees that carry our beers in either bottles or on draught has also grown.

We would like to thank all of our supporting licensees, and we hope for long and prosperous partnerships. To find the closest licensee based on your postal code, please click here. If you are a licensee looking to add us to your offering, please get in touch via sales@ramblinroa.ca.

5 Beer Myths

When it comes to beer, it seems that every one has quirky rules, or knows at least one or two myths. We have compiled the top 5 beer myths, so we can set the record straight:

Beer and fine dining don’t mix

Fortunately, this is very un-true. The beer market has evolved tremendously over the past 10 years, with all types of beers being available. Beer is no longer the perfect pair for a burger or wings. The different beer styles allow you to pair it with any foods and flavours you might like. For a guide on Food matches for our Ramblin’ Road beers, please see our Flavour Guide here.

Beer is a man’s drink while wine is a woman’s

This is another stereotype. It is important to note that beer was originally brewed by High Priestesses, and many breweries in the olden ages were also run by women. Women like and consume beer as much as men also like and consume wine.

Beer is fattening

Consuming any food or drink in high quantities makes you more responsive to gravity. Beer is no different. However beer in itself, when consumed as part of an active and well balanced diet does not make you less responsive to gravity. In fact, a glass of beer with alcohol volume of 5% has less calories, than the same measure of wine, milk or even fruit juice.

Beer must be consumer very very VERY cold

Unfortunately, too many people believe that the proper drinking temperature of beer should be just below freezing. It so happens, that people’s taste bugs become less active when consuming foods at extreme cold temperatures. Also, the beer might not release it’s full aroma when it just too cold. Different beers have different drinking temperatures. Beer enthusiasts say that beer should be consumed in a glass as to release the flavours, and your touch on the glass and the heat transferring from your fingers will actually allow the beer to release its flavours. That’s not to say that one should wait for beer to warm – are you kidding!

Darker beers have more alcohol, while lighter ones less

The alcohol percentage and the colour of the beer have no correlation. Many people think a darker beer might be heavier, and thus carry more calories and alcohol in it. In fact, many dark beers have less calories and a lighter mouth feel than light beers. The colour of the beers only depends on the roasting of the malts.

 

Have you ever heard of any funny or crazy beer myths? What were they?

 

French Family Ramblin’ Road Rib Recipe

Delicious Ribs with Ramblin' Road Country Pilsner

Delicious Ribs with Ramblin’ Road Country Pilsner

This is one of the French Family Flavourites! So after years of rib recipe trials and t-ribulations, here’s the recipe they have created and selected to share with the Ramblin’ Road Community!

 

 

Ingredients:
2 1/2 pounds of pork side ribs (about 1 big side )
1 Tbsp. dry Italian seasoning
2 small cooking onions, peeled and quartered
water
AND…
1-2  bottles of Ramblin’ Road Country Pilsner
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 cloves garlic (or more if you LOVE IT), minced
1 tsp. dijon prepared mustard
1/4 tsp.ground ginger
1/8 tsp.ground cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp.ground allspice
1/8 tsp.ground cinnamon
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1 tbsp. corn starch

Cooking instructions:
Carefully remove the thin membrane from the bone side of the ribs.
Cut the side of ribs into 3 – 4 equal sections and place in a large deep pot with the onions and seasoning. Add water to just cover the ribs and pour 1/2 a bottle Ramblin’ Road Country Pilsner into the pot. Set the remaining bottle of Pilsner aside (or just drink it because it’s really good!).

Bring to a boil and simmer 1 hour. When done, drain. In a roasting pan or casserole dish place the ribs meat side down and in a single layer.

Ribs soaking in the Ramblin' Road sauce

Ribs soaking in the Ramblin’ Road sauce

While meat is cooking:
Prepare sauce a small saucepan by combining remaining bottle of Pilsner (or pop open a second bottle if you finished off the first earlier) with soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, mustard, ginger, cayenne pepper, allspice and cinnamon.

In a small bowl mix the pineapple juice and corn starch and add it to the mixture in the saucepan. Bring the sauce to a boil and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened.

Pour sauce over the ribs. (You can cover and refrigerate at this point until ready to cook)

Bake uncovered at 375* for 30 minutes (45 minutes if refrigerated) , turn over, and continue cooking an additional 15 minutes or until browned and dazed ( I mean glazed!)

Ramblin' Road Ribbers!

Ramblin’ Road Ribbers!

ENJOY!

A very special THANK YOU to Janice French for sharing her Family Recipe with us. We hope that all you Ramblin’ Road lovers will have the opportunity to make these at home. For those creative, we invite you to share your Ramblin’ Road recipes with us!

 

Tips for Growing Hops – From the Brewery Farm

Hop Garden - Ramblin' Road Brewery Farm

Hop Garden – Ramblin’ Road Brewery Farm

We get a number of people asking in-person and on social media about how to grow their very own backyard hops, so here are a few tips to get you started.

Hops are not terribly picky about where they can grow, but there certainly are places where they grow best. Hop, or humulus lupulus – try saying that 3 times really fast – is grown in the northern temperate regions of North America and Europe. In the past hops plantings were wide spread across South-Western Ontario . While we have one twitter follower that plans to experiment with growing hops north of the 60th parallel, our growing tips are for those of us residing in warmer parts of Canada where we get 120 frost-free days or more in a year.

Step One: Getting your beerly paws on rhizomes

The best place to find a reputable seller for home-growing is asking folks in homebrew forums or getting in touch with your local homebrew supplier. Keep in mind that getting rhizomes across the border would be rather difficult so stick with Canadian suppliers. Choosing one or two varieties is a good start for a home hop garden.

Step Two: Find out what kind of soil you have in your yard

Ideally, well-draining soil that is slightly acidic (PH ~6.0) is well enjoyed by hop plants. Here in Norfolk County, we typically have sandy loam, which is fantastic for drainage. If you’re stuck with soil that doesn’t drain well, it can be amended by mixing in some peat moss and plant material compost with lots of elbow grease. Soil conditions will also improve in subsequent seasons if you’re actively growing plants in the plot.

Hop Rows at the Brewery Farm

Hop Rows at the Brewery Farm

Step Three: Setting up a trellis or locating a fence for the vines

Set up the trellis before you plant the rhizomes so you don’t disturb the roots. If you don’t like getting telemarketers calling you at dinner time then you’ll have a pretty good idea of how the hop plants will feel if you start hammering poles into the ground next to them.

Step Four: Plant, Water, and Watch them Grow

Once the threat of frost is over, you can plunk them into the ground. The buds on the rhizomes should be point up or horizontally and be 1” under the soil. They need plenty of water and fertilizer because they get big, really big. So water often and before the sun is at its peak so they it doesn’t evaporate too quickly. Once the vines sprout, make sure they are on the trellis and not touching the ground.

Ramblin' Road farm grown Hops

Ramblin’ Road farm grown Hops

Step Five: Harvest, baby, Harvest

This is the best part. When the cones are papery and dry to the touch, harvest with small scissors. If you only harvest ripe cones, you can get a harvest every other week. While we have machines to help us harvest the acres, there is something serene about getting up with the sunrise and hand picking the cones – we would do it by hand if we could.

Are you thinking about growing hops? Which varieties are you going to grow? Let us know in the comments.

 

John Picard

Ramblin' Road Hops

Farm sunshine through our Hop Garden

For the Love of the Humble Spud

Potatoes at the Brewery Farm

Potatoes at the Brewery Farm

The potato is probably one of the most humble foods we can grow and eat. I mean who came upon the humble spud with its dirt covered skin and said “that’s going to be delicious!” But we’re glad someone did. There are probably hundreds if not thousands of different variety of potatoes. If you’ve ever come across a seed catalogue then you know what I’m talking about – and that doesn’t even include the wild varieties of potatoes found all over the world.

Interestingly enough potato plants are part of the nightshade family of plants, which tomato, eggplant, peppers, and tobacco also belong to. Norfolk County’s climate and soil conditions are quite ideal for growing these plants. Before farmers here took up horticulture, many farms in Norfolk County grew tobacco as a cash crop – there’s a black and white documentary produced by the National Film Board if you want to see what it used to look like back in the day. Those days are now long gone. Instead Norfolk fields are covered with plants that produce delicious foods, like potatoes.

Potatoes in the pocessing

Potatoes in the pocessing

Ask a potato farmer, “which type of potato should I grow”, and I can guarantee you’ll need at least a 6-pack of our DPA – Dakota Pearl Ale – to share because that’s how long your friendly potato farmer can talk about potatoes. Since I’ve been told that blog posts shouldn’t be 6 beers long to read, here is the reader’s digest version of the type of potato we grow.

It’s called a Dakota Pearl, and rightly so. With very shallow eyes its skin is smooth and bright like a shimmering pearl. We chose this potato with chip making in mind because it comes out of the fryer sturdy, light, and crispy.

Fresh EXTREME Kettle Chips

Fresh EXTREME Kettle Chips

In order for chips to come out of the fryer looking and tasting like chips, its flesh has to be relatively dry and not too sugary or starchy. Who knew that these same properties of the Dakota Pearl would also be perfect as a brewing ingredient too?

It was a few months ago when we said “hey, let’s create a unique beer, one that we can use to wash the sliced potatoes prior to cooking our Kettle Chips. That’ll give us a really great snack chip and hopefully create a fantastic new beer, something very special to Ramblin’ Road.”  All that potato goodness was returned to the brew line where we innovated a process to start the fermenting process again only this time with potato sugars. The smoothness and finished flavours were excellent.

DPA - Dakota Pearl Ale

DPA – Dakota Pearl Ale

We knew we were onto something, so we kept tweaking the recipe. And here we have it, Dakota Pearl Potato Ale for our community. Cheers to you and to potato farmers everywhere!

John Picard

 

The Erie Beach Hotel

Erie Beach Hotel

Erie Beach Hotel

A short trip from the Brewery Farm, the Erie Beach Hotel is located in Port Dover, a picturesque port town. Becoming one of the first licensees to carry Ramblin’ Road beers, the Erie Beach Hotel became an extended part of our family. Patrons have been able to pair the delicious dishes prepared at the Erie Beach Hotel with Ramblin’ Road draught in the Terrace Room and bottled in both the Terrace and the Cove Room.

Ramblin' Road and Perch

Ramblin’ Road and Perch

For over 60 years, three generations of the Schneider family have looked after the Erie Beach Hotel, serving recipes passed down through the generations that have kept people coming back. In the summer the dining areas will always be bustling with vacationers, day trippers and the locals, all anticipating the freshest and most delicious sea food.

For those looking for the port town experience, an ice cold pint of Ramblin’ Road Country Pilsner, paired with a platter of Perch is recommended. Both represent the true local flavour of Norfolk County.

For other meat lovers, the Country Pilsner can also be paired with the delicious wings in the Terrace Room.

Ramblin' Road Country Ale and the Prime Rib Dinner

Ramblin’ Road Country Ale and the Prime Rib Dinner

The bottled Ramblin’ Road Country Ale is recommended to be paired with the mouth-watering Prime Rib dinner, available only on Fridays between 5pm – 8 pm.

Ramblin' Road and the Wings

Ramblin’ Road and the Wings

For the out of towner’s, we recommend staying at the Erie Beach for your Norfolk get-away, and remember, the Ramblin’ Road Brewery Farm is just a short drive from this historic eatery and hotel.

A Short Guide for New Craft Beer Drinkers

If you are new to drinking local craft beer then this short guide is for you. We are not out to get you if you’re a fan of imported or macro-brew suds because there are brewers big and small that do make great beer. When you are drinking a quality beer where the ingredients are pure and straightforward there are a few things to keep in mind.

  1. Temperature: there are no mountains that change colour to tell you the bottle is cold enough to drink. In fact to actually taste what you are drinking cool is better than cold. Like being outside in negative-twenty weather you’re too busy trying to make sure your face isn’t frozen than to really sense much else.
  2. Meant for drinking: a quality beer isn’t meant to be chugged. You should be able to drink it and actually take in the freshness and the flavours and feel of the beer. Maybe you’re not entirely sure what the flavours are, but the point is that there is flavour and you have a sense of refreshment.
  3. Knowing where it comes from: Drinking a locally made beer means you are supporting your community and appreciating the bounty that the region has to offer. Some would call it pride, it’s important that we offer crisp refreshing beers in varieties that appeal to our diverse community, that’s why we’ve taken the unusual step to initially to offer a Country Pilsner, Country Lager and a Country Ale.  So if you’re drinking a Ramblin’ Road beer or another local brew, the best way to appreciate it is by sharing it.
John Picard sampling beer at the Brewery Farm

John Picard sampling beer
at the Brewery Farm

If you’re adventurous, a new craft beer drinker and have a question or thought on beer and its finest moments? Let us know in the comments and we’ll be happy to answer them.