Our beer adventures seem to have been inextricably linked to Matt and Rammy Craft. His beers were on our first ever farmers’ market stall and we have been regular customers of his ever since we first bumped into his wife, Lysha at Summerseat Garden Centre about 3 and a half years ago. Matt was ill and she was doing a tasting session in his stead.
Matt kindly sold us his 200 litre mash tun as he upscaled a little. I could sense his pain at letting it go. It had been made with care and attention and had seen him through many brews. It is now doing the same for us and has not let us down yet.
We keep our stall fresh by adding a selection of local beers and Matt’s are invariably interesting. He always has something new for us to try. We have followed his path from part-time to full-time brewer and our first selection was a beer he made to celebrate his 5 years as a commercial enterprise. He called it 5.
Rammy Craft Ales – 5 – 9.3% vol – American Imperial IPA
5 is a beer to respect. It is one of those that is either the first beer of the night or the last. Whichever, we think it is not one that should be lumped into the middle.
The bottled looks great and sits there daring you. It pours deep and rich with a big creamy head and citrus aroma. No filtered, pasteurised nonsense going on here. The first sip is alive with carbonation and big hoppy hit. As you get into it, vanilla from bourbon, oak chips comes through. This beer packs a punch.
I was passing through Bunbury’s soon after it release and was lucky enough to get hold of a half on draft. I needed a quiet sit down afterwards. We have had a few bottles stashed away and bring them out for special occasions. I have one hidden and it will come out on New Year’s Eve.
The next 3 choices were picked up from the unit in Bury were Matt now bottles his beers. He wasn’t there at the time but messaged me later to say that he thought we had chosen well. We started with one that Matt rates as one of his best ever.
Rammy Craft Ales – Quattrus 5.3% vol – IPA infused with real citrus fruit
The bottle states clearly that this is arguably one of Matt’s best ever creations. Good choice of word. I stood at the bar with Matt at last year’s Bolton CAMRA beer festival and we got chatting about our favourite parts of the process. It is the creativity and the sheer variety of Matt’s output that makes Rammy Craft stand out.
Quattrus is made with orange peel and limes and it pours rich and deep. We gave away lots of samples today on our market stall as the antithesis of our own 8.1% malty, Scotsman’s Stump. It has a great dry bitterness that avoids being sweet and cloying. If this is marmalade it is a very grown up version.
On to the beer with the lowest abv of the selection.
Rammy Craft Ales – Live and Let Rye 3.6% vol – American style with rye
Pours with a good, creamy head that promises plenty of body for its 3.6%
I have been searching for a tasty rye since having an almost perfect pint from Blackedge Brewery (Horwich) in the Cheethams Arms in Chapletown. This was a little lighter and full of American character. We sold a few of these today. We get quite a few regulars looking for a lower strength beer with plenty of character and this certainly fits the bill. There is lots going on in there. It sent us down the path of thinking of other characterful beers in the same sort of range. Lightweights and Gentlemen (Irwell works – Ramsbottom) came up. I am a fan of Lightweights but this is more my cup of tea. A good choice.
Tea leads us nicely into the last Rammy choice of the evening
Rammy Craft Ales – Citrus Tips – 5.8% vol – Tea infused IPA
This came towards the end of a long evening. To paraphrase Dustin Hoffman in Little Big Man. ‘That god, I found it last.’
Citrus tips is made with lemon peel which comes through in the aroma and infused with tea. First taste is excellent. Plenty of citrus but the tea counteracts it superbly. Smooth, balanced and bitter. In a evening of many beers, this was the best of the night.
We still have a few bottles of each to take with us to market however, I might have less of the Citrus Tips than expected.
A really enjoyable evening trying a good selection. That is what it is all about for us. Interesting beer. Cheers Matt. Top job. You can find out more about Matt on Rammy Craft’s website.