The first question that might spring to mind when you hear the name Ramblin’ Road Brewery Farm is, “What the heck is a brewery farm?” Well, in this case, it’s basically a brewery on a farm. The farm does grow hops, but it doesn’t seem like they’ve been used in the beer yet (and presumably the fall of 2013 would be the earliest any home grown hops could be used). It seems safe to say that the “brewery farm” is more of a buzzword now than anything with substance, which is all well and good once you realize it’s just a bit of marketing. The more interesting thing to me is the big splash Ramblin’ Road is trying to make. A lot of start-up breweries are just trying to scrape by once they’ve bought all the equipment and rented the space, but Ramblin’ Road has a spiffy website and a PR firm to help send bottles out to beer bloggers (which is how this bottle came across my desk). It seems there is quite a bit of money to be had in being a potato farmer.
Obviously the business side of things takes a back seat to beer quality, so let’s take a look at the Country Pilsner. The Country Pilsner pours a clear, bright straw/light gold in colour and a light head. The nose was sweet cereal grain. A lot of the same grainy wort character hits the palette at first with a lot of sugars. The middle is bready and earthy, two flavours that come to dominate as the beer warms up. There is an odd malt characteristic that comes late in the finish with a small hint of butterscotch, which is
out of character for a pilsner but not unpleasant. The tasting notes (and some other reviews) have mentioned a bit of hop bitterness adding balance, but no hops were noticeable even as I let the beer warm to above cellar temperature.
Obviously the beginning of January is not the ideal time to rate a pilsner and the Ramblin’ Road Country Pilsner would not be a beer I would reach for right now. That being said, it has no major flaws and would definitely be a beer I’d like to try again on a warm summer day. I hate to nitpick a name, but for something called a Country Pilsner the beer is too clean – I was expecting more of a working man’s pilsner with some rugged qualities. The Ramblin’ Road Country Pilsner probably won’t appeal to many beer geeks, but will work nicely as a gateway beer for people moving away from adjunct lagers.