At Lou Dog Events, we love creating one-of-a-kind beer experiences for our guests. That’s why we’re proud to announce the return of the Infusion Tent to this year’s Naperville Winter Ale Fest. The Infusion Tent will feature beers from Pollyanna Brewing, Werk Force Brewing, Boston Beer Company and Half Acre Beer Co. infused with unique flavors by a feat of beer-engineering called a Randall. What’s a Randall? Glad you asked.
The Randall: A Craft Beer Infusion Machine
Originally created by the craft beer innovators at Dogfish Head Brewery, a Randall is an organoleptic hop transducer module… which is a fancy way of saying it’s a device that infuses flavor into beer. The beer flows through the Randall on its way from the keg to the tap, pulling flavors out of the ingredients in its path. Randalls run beer through fresh hops, coffee, cinnamon, vanilla beans – anything really, making it a fantastic way to participate in one of our favorite parts of craft beer: the experimentation. It’s a way to take something great, and make it even better.
We sat down with the brewers behind each of the Infusion Tent’s custom Randall Recipes to learn more about their creative process and inspiration. Check out the interviews below and grab your tickets before they’re gone!
Eleanor Porter with Vanilla & Toasted Coconut
Brewery: Pollyanna Brewing Company (Lemont, IL)
Recipe By: Brian Pawola, Brewmaster and Co-Founder
“Ingredients that work well in Randalls are things that give off flavors quickly like hops, coffee, vanilla, toasted coconut, and certain fruits. In this case, we’re taking our robust porter called Eleanor and adding it to the Randall with vanilla and coconut.
When you’re writing a recipe for a Randall, it’s all about the base beer — you want to complement the existing beer without taking away from the beer itself. Eleanor has lots of dark coffee, dark chocolate, caramelized raisin and dark fruit notes. It’s got a lot going on but lays a good foundation for some pretty cool subtle flavors, so the coconut and chocolate aren’t going to overwhelm the notes of the base beer.
Eleanor is my personal favorite beer that I brew. It’s more complex than most porters out there, and I think it’s my best beer. By adding vanilla and coconut in a Randall, it makes it something really special.” – Brian Pawola, Pollyanna Brewing Company
Farmhouse Vultures Saison with Tangerine & Grapefruit
Brewery: Werk Force Brewing Company (Plainfield, IL)
Recipe By: Brandon Wright, Owner
“Because we’re a brewery and a homebrew shop, we’re able to constantly experiment with stuff some other brewers haven’t had the chance to try. For our Randall Recipe, we’re using Farmhouse Vultures as our base beer and adding Tangerine and Grapefruit. The base beer uses a Dingemans pilsner malt, which is a traditional Belgian malt, our house saison yeast strain and Nelson Sauvin hops for a nice white wine, chardonnay bouquet. Even though Nelson Sauvin, out of New Zealand, is super hard to get, we got our hands on some through our homebrew shop connections.
This beer is awesome for infusions because it’s so neutral, which allows the citrus fruits to really shine through. The tangerine and grapefruit will give it a citrus backend along with a nice maltiness, and because the beer is almost bone dry, you get a little bit of phenolics and spice character which should compliment the fruits nicely.” – Brandon Wright, Werk Force Brewing
Rebel Grapefruit IPA with Fresh Whole Cone Mosaic Hops
Brewery: Boston Beer Company (Boston, MA)
Recipe By: Jennifer Glanville, Brewer
“Our recipe takes the newest member of our Rebel IPA family, Rebel Grapefruit IPA, and adds fresh whole cone Mosaic Hops – which will give us a delicious fresh hopped IPA. Brewed with real grapefruit, Rebel Grapefruit IPA hits the palate with a juicy citrus punch. These grapefruits are known for their thicker peel, and during the brewing process the peel is added in the kettle to give the beer a tart, sharp character. Before the beer is filtered, grapefruit juice is added for a sweet juiciness and to round out the bitterness from the peel. The grapefruit amps up the citrus and fruit notes of the four hop varieties, including Mosaic hops, which impart the tropical, citrus notes at the forefront of this beer.
There are so many different directions you can go when using a Randall. And although we feel like the beer is perfect as is, it’s fun as a brewer to experiment with flavors and push boundaries. Ultimately, we look for what ingredients work best to enhance the overall flavor profile of the beer. We love how the mosaic hops contribute to the overall beer.” – Jennifer Glanville, Boston Beer Company
Black Feather Black Ale With Cocoa Nibs, Coffee & Toasted Pecans
Brewery: Half Acre Beer Company (Chicago, IL)
Recipe By: Lee McComb, Brewer
“We’re doing Lead Feather with cocoa nibs, toasted pecans and coffee. Lead feather is a black ale that kind of bridges the gap between a few different styles. It has a little bit of the roastiness of a stout, with some of the malty, chocolatey qualities of a lot of porters but it’s hopped more aggressively and is drier than both. Its dryness makes it a great base beer because you can add a lot of ingredients and it doesn’t get to be cloyingly sweet. Thee roast and chocolatey qualities also work well to balance out ingredients.
Get Your Tickets Now
If you haven’t grabbed your tickets already, do so now — we’re getting close and you don’t want to miss out! Tickets include a dizzying array of experiences and access to over 130 unique beers from craft breweries around the country, live music, an ice sculpture demonstration, the Samuel Adams Homebrewers Pavillion, three fire pits, seven food trucks, a 12-piece live New Orleans brass band… and the opportunity to try four one-of-a-kind Randall Recipes in the Infusion Tent.
We’ll see you in Naperville!
About Naperville Winter Ale Fest
Situated on the frozen tundra of Naperville’s Frontier Park – Naperville Winter Ale fest will feature over 130 unique beers from more than 65 different breweries. Pull out your long-johns and parkas, it’s time to experience winter’s best craft beers. The fest will also feature live music and food from some of Chicagoland’s favorite food trucks.