Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Evil Twin Brewing Ron and the Beast Ryan: My Thoughts on Contract Brewing

Evil Twin Brewing Ron and the Beast Ryan
Evil Twin Brewing Ron and the Beast Ryan

There has been much discussion recently about contract brewing.  In most contract brewing situations, Brewer A will hire Brewer B to manufacture beer.  In some cases, Brewer B will do all of the actual brewing and packaging.  In other cases, Brewer A will actually go to Brewer B's facility, brew on Brewer B's brewhouse, maintain fermentation, and package up the product.  Sometimes, Brewer A will even purchase a fermentation tank to hold their beer at Brewer B's facility, so it doesn't interfere too much with Brewer B's brewing capacity (tank space = $$$).  

It seems simple and harmless, but there is some disdain held for these contract brewing situations.  Some think that these "Brewer B's" should have their own breweries instead of using someone else's kit.  They should invest their own capital and get their own skin in the game.  

Personally, the first thing I hold at the forefront is the beer.  If it's good, I will drink it.  In my mind, I love the idea of a brewer slaving away in an old barn or in their garage, but in the end what really counts is how the beer tastes.

Tonight I am drinking Evil Twin Brewing's Ron and the Beast Ryan, a saison style ale brewed with Brettanomyces.  Evil Twin Brewing is a "gypsy" brewer.  They have contracts all over the world, and so their beer is made at many different breweries.  I am not sure if Evil Twin's owner, Jeppe, is present when the beers are brewed/packaged, but I'm sure he has tight control over the final product.  This bottle of Ron and the Beast Ryan was brewed at Westbrook Brewing Co. in South Carolina.  

Evil Twin Brewing Ron and the Beast Ryan
Evil Twin Brewing Ron and the Beast Ryan

Evil Twin Brewing (brewer's website & Beer Portfolio page)
Saison Style Ale
7% ABV

Evil Twin Brewing Ron and the Beast Ryan
Evil Twin Brewing Ron and the Beast Ryan

Evil Twin's Ron and the Beast Ryan pours a stunning amber color with a huge, persistent white head.  I didn't even do an aggressive pour, yet the head on this beer just erupted.  As the head slowly recedes, a soapy lacing is left on the glass.  The aroma is certainly full of funk and yeast, and also a bit of fruit.  The flavor has a bit of lemon with a slight bite in the finish, and only a hint of alcohol.  Ron and the Beast Ryan drinks very easily, and isn't heavy on the palate at all.

Extra Large Head on Ron and the Beast Ryan
Extra Large Head on Ron and the Beast Ryan

Overall:  An interesting, yet tasty, beer.  Try this one out if you are into Brettanomyces.  Also, if you like Belgian style ales, this beer could be for you.  

Have you had Evil Twin's Ron and the Beast Ryan?  What did you think of it?  What are your thoughts on all the contract brewers out there?  Let me know in the comments!


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5 comments:

  1. I'm always curious about "gypsy" brewing, mostly because I've never understood the disdain. My biggest problem was when I first had a Mikkeller brew, I got upset because I couldn't figure out where the hell it came from!

    Awesome pics.

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    1. With this brew, right on the label it was printed that it was brewed at Westbrook Brewing in South Carolina. However, the website says that Ron and the Beast Ryan was brewed in Denmark. I'm assuming that the website just wasn't updated (it's a busy life to have beers brewing all over the world, right?), and that possibly the same beer could be brewed in multiple locations.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

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  2. There are some issues when a particular brewer takes pride from being a region and their beer being made in different locations outside of the region. Example: Sixpoint a few years back started brewing beers in Pennsylvania and they clearly market those Brooklyn roots playing them up whenever possible. In that case I think its a little disheartening to know I'm being duped. With Goose island being "Chicago's Craft Beer" and having a lot of their brews made in NY ... you get the idea. In the end, if its a quality brew, I don't care where it came from I'll drink it.

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    1. Gotta agree with you there, Irving. If a beer is being brewed somewhere besides the primary brewer's facility, I think it should be on the label of that beer. For instance, if you look at the label of Brooklyn Lager, it clearly states that it's brewed up in Utica, NY, and not the Brooklyn facility.

      I actually didn't know that Sixpoint had any of their beers made outside of their Brooklyn facility. Do you know where they are having them brewed out of?

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    2. The Lion in Wilkes-Barre, PA

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