Author Archives: Don Dehm

About Don Dehm

Don A Dehm was born and raised in Iowa, where he was heavily involved in youth activities such as 4-H. He graduated from Austin Peay State University with degrees in Computer Science and Environmental Geography and minors in Geology and Mathematics. Don is an accomplished software engineer, producer, and director and has also worked as a restaurant manager and naturalist. He fills what spare time he has honing his homebrew craft and playing with his family in the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA). He is driven by vision, value, community, and adventure.

Beers of the RAM, Indianapolis, IN

What better place to start this adventure than at Gen Con Indy, 2012 – The Best Four Days in Gaming.  I have been going to Gen Con Indy for years and had always appreciated the way the RAM Restaurant and Brewery re-skins their outfit to the gaming themes of Privateer Press, specifically the miniature war game, Hordes.  My recent interest in beer drew me back to the brewery for a closer taste.

It once made sense to dedicate an entire post to the sampling of one beer and to really take time to go into some detail, but the answer I seem to give more often or not when asked to choose a beer, is “yes.”  The sampler it is.   I was fortunate to be joined by my Pulp Gamer Prime Co-Host, Scott Forster.  I hope my insights are able to give you a head start in choosing your beer this weekend.

The first beer we tried was on the menu as the Cygnar Blonde and normally goes by the name Indy Blonde.  This was probably one of the more flavorful blondes I have had.  It was crisp, clean, and refreshing.  The menu describes it well as delicately hopped and it represents them very well as it had a sweet character I found in most of their beers.  After finishing the sampler, I had another pint of this blonde to finish my meal with.  When I put the pint to my nose, the hops first hit me reminding me that it was present, but not overpowering.  On a hot day of travel or setting up for the convention, this is a great choice.  ABV 4.4% SRM 6.0 IBUs 20.

The Hellion Hefeweizen, usually called the Big Horn Hefeweizen was probably one of the most citrusy Hefeweizens I have had.  My palate is not yet sophisticated enough I guess to pick up on the banana-clove flavors or the aroma of the restaurant was just yanking my nose around but I did detect fruitiness and of course that character of wheat you would expect.  If you are a wheat beer fan, you will not go wrong here.  I loved it.  ABV 5.2% SRM 8.0 IBUs 15.

Monoth’s Fury, also known as Buttface Amber Ale was again a good sample of an Amber Ale and represented the RAM well.  It was a sweet amber that I could see having a pint of in the near future. ABV 5.8% SRM 22 IBUs 25.

Blackbane’s Ghoast Ale (71 Pale Ale) was not as hoppy as I was expecting, which is very much a good thing.  I am not a huge hophead.  I like my beers balanced and this one was.  Sometimes, Pale Ales can lean a bit too far on the hoppy side for my taste.  I could detect the hint of spiciness credited to the rye.  I have brewed with rye before and this always catches my attention.  ABV 5.5% SRM 12 IBUs 40.

Raseth’s Red, or what is also known by the natives as the Big Red IPA was actually quite pleasant to me as well.  As mentioned before, I am not a huge hophead but didn’t turn my head away from this IPA.  It had the hoppy character you would expect but it doesn’t blow you away with it. This is also why I like heavier and darker beers, too.  It tends to balance out the hops.  This may be what has happened here as it is a little darker than most IPAs I have had in the past.  ABV 6% SRM 15 IBUs 65.

The Primal Porter was more than I expected.  I love porters, and especially smoked porters.  Finding one just meant I had picked the growler I wanted to take with me back to the room.  You can smell the smoke; you can taste the smoke.  The chocolate and roast undertones of this brown porter also come through quite well.  ABV 5.1%, SRM 80, IBUs 28.

Worldwrath’s Omnipotent Ale was especially made for this weekend to characterize its namesake.  They were looking for something mystic and earthy and captured it well in this black pale ale.  The bitterness of this deceptive beer rests gently in the back of the mouth gradually after it is sipped.  The menu claims a citrusy hops but I was getting more of a piney or a resin flavor.  It did find the chocolate and roast undertones on my pallet.  Black IPAs have a fun deceptiveness about them because you expect something so dark to be thick, but they taste more like their more pale brethren, but they always have some character of the dark malt to give them a very distinctive flavor.  Well done, RAM.  ABV 4.8% SRM 46 IBUs 40.

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Posted by on August 15, 2012 in Reviews


My Brewing Library

I find that to really know a subject, you have to absorb many viewpoints on it.  With something as personal as homebrewing, that is certainly true.  I have many more on my wish list, but here is my collection so far.  If you have something to recommend, let me know (comment below) so I can add it to my wish list.

  • The Complete Joy of Home Brewing, by Charlie Papazian.  Start here.  This is probably the best getting started guide I have seen.  It starts assuming you know nothing of yeast and continues into advanced topics.
  • Brewing Better Beer, by Gordon Strong. This one took me to the next level of understanding what I was doing and really gave me the edge to think for myself.
  • Designing Great Beers, the Ultimate Guide to Brewing Classic Beer Styles, by Ray Daniels.  This is a must for anyone that wants to craft their own recipes.  It really gave me a good understanding of how to set and hit my target beers.
  • Dave Miller’s Homebrewing Guide, by Dave Miller.  This was recommended to me as a great book to help me diagnose and discern specific flavors in the beer.
  • A History of Beer and Brewing, by Ian S. Hornsey.  I got this to take a more serious look at history.
  • Wassail! In Masers of Mead, by Robert Gayre.  This one has a great historical approach and some awesome recipes.
  • Strong Waters, by Scott Mansfield.  I bought this specifically to help a friend make an alcoholic ginger beer.  It has some wine recipes I still want to try.
  • A Sip Through Time, by Cindy Renfrow.  This is a well-respected and just plain awesome guide to historical beverages and how to make them.
  • Sacred Herbal and Healing Beers, by Stephen Harrod Buhner.  Medicinal herbs go way back and everyone knows that beer is good for you, right?
  • German Wheat Beer, by Eric Warner. I got this for some further research on brewing with wheat.
  • Brewing with Wheat, by Stan Hieronymus.
  • The Joy of Home Winemaking, by Terry Garey.  I got this to learn more about the differences between making beer and wine.  It was helpful.
  • The Complete Meadmaker, by Ken Schramm.  This is a good guide if you really just want to focus on the making of mead, which I did for quite some time.
  • Cider, Using & Enjoying Sweet & Hard Cider, by Annie Proulx & Lew Nichols.   There is certainly a lot to learn about apples.  I’ll consult this book again when I start pressing my own.
  • Craft Cider Making, by Andrew Lea. This inexpensive guide to cider has some additional insights.
  • Cooking and Dining in Medieval England, by Peter Brears.  This had some great insight as to how brewing fit into the medieval life.
  • Homemade Root Beer Soda & Pop, by Stephen Cresswell.  I used this to experiment with some Ginger Ale and Root Beers.
  • Beer in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, by Richard W. Unger.  I purchased this one to look for more clues in the designing of recipes that give historical nods.
  • Early American Beverages, by John Hull Brown.  This one was given to me by a friend and has some great recipes to try.

Posted by on June 10, 2012 in How-To Brew


Position and Purpose

I started homebrewing about a year before starting this blog and quickly became what a friend of mine calls an enthusiastic amateur.  I think it summed up my position pretty well.  For a while it seemed like I was either making or bottling beer every week and reading everything I could get my hands on – several times.  I quickly found that I really got the most out of the hobby when I crafted my own recipes.  I have now set out to build a collection of recipes inspired by geek culture.  I hope that what I mean will be apparent to you as the blog unfolds.  If I can manage to build enough value, I’ll publish in a more traditional way.

Of course, I can always build a collection of recipes in a notebook or a document on my hard drive, so that doesn’t entirely explain my reason for writing a blog.  I hope it will keep me motivated, but more importantly it seems to me like a good way to contribute to the communities I belong to.  Like anyone else, I also love to share.  My friends the in Society for Creative Anachronisms (SCA) value the craft, its historical ties, and the other geeky things.  My friends in the gaming community certainly value anything geek and many of them at least love good beer.  I hope the brewing community will find something new and inspiring from my unique take on the art.

I also hope the blog will give me more of a personal connection to those who previously have only known me through my many years of podcasting and a number of credits in various web series.  Topics were adhered to pretty tightly.  While the focus for the time being will mostly be focused around beer, I do not expect to stick strictly to the topic.  I hope to have some fun from time to time and recognize that other interests will crop up that I want to share with you.

So, bear with me as long as you can.  I hope you find it to be a good ride.


Posted by on June 10, 2012 in Random Ramblings