Thursday, April 16, 2015

Gonzo's BiggDogg Brewing utilizing Randall The Enamel Animal For Unique Flavor Combinations

Written by  John Liberty
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Gonzo's BiggDogg Brewing Co. is finding some creative magic in the power of Randall the Enamel Animal.
The "Randall" was created in 2002 by Dogfish Head, of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, and has been updated and revised several times since, most recently in 2012. Dogfish Head Sam Calagione described it as, "an organoleptic hop transducer module."
"Basically, it's a sophisticated filter system that allows the user to run draft beer through a chamber of whole-leaf hops, spices, herbs, fruit, etc. so that the alcohol in the beer strips the flavor from whatever you add and puts it in the beer," he said on the company's website.

Keith Love, the general manager at Gonzo's in Kalamazoo, said he purchased the latest version of the Randall in early February for use at the brewery's beach party later that month. He said he first heard about it while visiting World of Beer in Florida. He's tried a number of ingredients and beer combinations.

"The options are endless. We've put cereal and candy ... you name it we've probably put it in there before," Love said.

Love said he wasn't aware of another brewery in Southwest Michigan using the Randall. The addition has been popular enough that Gonzo's made it a weekly feature on Thursdays at the brewery located at 140 S. Westnedge Ave.

The afternoon of this week’s Randall day, Love purchased fresh blueberries, passion fruit, raspberries, pomegranate and Citra hops and will combine them with Gonzo's session IPA, SPCIPA, a beer made a for a recent SPCA fundraising event at the Kalamazoo Beer Exchange.

The SPCIPA with blueberries, passion fruit and citra hops will be available at 4 p.m. Thursday, April 16, while the SPCIPA with raspberries, pomegranate and citra hops will be tapped at 7 p.m. Love said Randall pours will cost 75 cents more than than the beer's original price. Randall beers are not sold in howlers or growlers.

Love said Gonzo's will also use the Randall for special occasions, including on April 25-26 when they will run their new Hefeweizen through several Randall treatments throughout the weekend.

Love said he uses "Goggle and curiosity" to develop the flavor combinations.

He said he's already struck gold by infusing the brewery's flagship Vanilla Porter with mint and chocolate.

"People beg for that beer. We do that once a month," Love said. "What we'll do is probably screw up and make a beer we fall in love with and have to put it into production."

For more information, call Gonzo's at 269-382-2739 or go to

John Liberty

John Liberty

John Liberty has covered Michigan craft beer since 2007. He is also the general manager and co-founder of West Michigan Beer Tours. You can read more about Michigan beer or book a tour at