Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Ram: A Sheepish Kinda Root Beer

Some Root Beers exceed expectations and some aspire to be something they aren't, while others just never really manage to figure out what they want to be and embrace mediocrity as their norm. The latter description applies to the Root Beer brewed by the Ram Restaurant and Brewery in Fishers, Indiana and, unfortunately to the food, as well.

This past weekend my family and I managed to make it into The Ram after a previous attempt failed due to the large, early crowds. One of the main reasons I wanted to check the place out was their Big Horn "Soda" Root Beer and my wife wanted to see if their beer was any good...she's a Chemist who home brews, plus it was Friday night and the Man In Brown doesn't cook on Fridays. I almost wish I had stayed home and called out for pizza. It would have been a lot cheaper.

We didn't have to wait for a seat and the service was fairly good. During the ordering process I mentioned that I wanted a Root Beer and was informed that it was flat. That was a shame, since it was the real reason I bothered to show up. When I asked if they had any which was bottled, (as they advertise on their website) I was told they fill growlers...but, the Root Beer was flat and they were waiting for more. "No bottles?" Nope. But maybe they had tapped another keg of Root Beer that wasn't flat.

You can see where this is going? I have never had to work so hard to get a Root Beer at any place I've been to. It was like pulling teeth. Finally, it showed it up with my meal...in a non-frosted glass. Grrrrr...a minor enough faux pas on their part, entirely forgivable in most circumstances, except my wife got one with her beer...a beer she had to ask for twice.

So, I'm finally drinking my Big Horn "Soda" Root Beer and paying attention to it and....I'm not impressed. It had a nice aroma, a nice head, biting carbonation, slight sweetness, unremarkable flavour and no real body. It was...OK. Not bad, not great, it was just OK. Much like the food. Mediocre.

I ordered what was purported to be a "Kobe" Wagyu Beef Burger, a premium imported Japanese beef. One would think you would let a premium ingredient speak for itself and use nothing to detract from it. Nope. Not at The Ram. The burger, (cooked to perfection at medium rare) was slathered in an overly sweet and cloying "bourbon glaze". Even scraping it off didn't rid the meat of the taste of this artificial tasting glaze. Why anyone would ever think to cover a premium meat with something that covered the taste, rather than enhancing the flavour is beyond me. The rest of the family had Fish and Chips and Mini-Corn Dogs. It was exactly what you could have expected, more mediocre fare.

Am I sorry I went to The Ram? Nope. If I hadn't gone I would not have been exposed to their bill of fare and wouldn't know what to expect if I were to return. Now, I know. I probably won't be going back, since there are so many other places in my area which I have either not tried or are on my good food list. Despite a professional and open kitchen The Ram failed to deliver when the chips were down.

PS: My wife? She brews better beer. While I'm not a drinker, I am a taster and hers has better attributes than theirs.

Big Horn "Soda" Root Beer

Ingredients: A Secret

Aroma: Nice and light, nothing that really screams Old Time Root Beer, but easily identifiable.

Carbonation: A fine bubble with a biting edge to it. Nice.

Mouth Feel: Kind of watery, nothing distinguishing.

Root Beer Flavour: So-so. A bit of spicyness, but...again, mediocre.

Sweetness: Lightly sweet, the sugar came out when the Root Beer warmed up.

Head: A nice head. Ringed the glass for quite awhile.

Aftertaste: Very lightly sugary with no Root Beer flavour aftertaste.

Overall Taste: Not bad, not great. Mediocre. You can get better mass produced Root Beer in a bottle.

Score: A mediocre 4/10


Sunni said...

Wow. From what you've said, I wouldn't call their service "fairly good". But I am getting curmudgeonly ...

Michael said...

Well, to give them some credit, they didn't abandon us as so many servers do in restaurants. We were continuously asked by staff if we were doing OK, it was just a matter of getting what we wanted, when we wanted it. Perhaps I should have said the service was "fair".