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Friday, February 27, 2009

Tavern Report: Rams Head Tavern, Savage, MD

I hope you won't be offended, but I'm not one for company dinners and the like. In fact, more often than not, I come up with some excuse like, needing to wash my hair or do my toenails - clip them anyway - so that I won't have to join colleagues in such outings. There are multiple reasons for my anti-social behavior, the least of which is that I don't like to have to make small talk with people I don't really know.

But, after bailing on one dinner during my recent trip to Baltimore (hey, I had already invested in some Chicken McNuggets), I got a company e-mail informing me of of another opportunity to excel, but this time it included a link to the dinner location. Turns out, we would be dining at a tavern called Rams Head only about twenty minutes from the hotel. And since I wasn't doing the driving, I had two Yeunglings and said, "Yes, by all means; include me in this festive dining experience."
Rams Head seems to be a chain of Taverns in the area - in fact, if you fly into or out of BWI, you can have a lunch and a pint right there in the airport. The tavern we visited was built in a repurposed mill of some sort.Inside, the place looks like a tavern. (ya think?) We had a group of six, seated at tables pushed together just in front of the bar. It was great for seeing all the locals around us enjoying the place. The crowd was everything from young families with diaper aged children to professionals having a pint after work to hip 20-somethings being hip. It would be fair to say that our group was a bit older than the standard crowd. We left about the time that music - perhaps a live band - was starting to play in the upstairs portion of the place.

One of the guys in our group is apparently quite the beer aficionado. I don't mean that in the "wow, that guy really puts away a lot of brew" way, but in the way that he actually sniffs the beer like some people sniff the cap of a box of wine to see if it smells good. Or maybe I mean the cork of a bottle, who knows?

The rest of the group was already there when we arrived so they already had their drinks. I started talking to our expert about what would be good and I told him I was more of a light beer drinker (though, I'm sure I didn't specifically mention Milwaukee's Best Light by name), but that I occasionally enjoy something a little darker. And then I noticed that a lady in our group had a really dark beer, almost like a Guinness. I asked her how it was and she said, "Oh, this is very good". But I told our host it was probably a little too dark for my tastes. That's when he told me she was drinking root beer. I guess I could have played it off by saying something snobby like, "Oh yes, I'm a fan of their summer pilsner" but I figured to pretend I didn't realize how goofy I was.
Several people told me that a seasonal Harvest Ale called Close Encounter was worth a try, so I had a pint, and it was in fact very tasty. I thought it had some sort of fruity taste to it - almost raspberry or something, and everyone agreed, but we couldn't pinpoint it. Finally, iPhones and Blackberries were racing to scour the Internet for the answer (as opposed to us just asking the bartender) and somebody found a description of this beer as having a hint of chocolate. I suppose. Chocolate filled with raspberries or something.Rams Head offers a full menu of pub fare but for me, it had to be the Funky Town fish and chips. I had these visions f when I lived in England walking home with greasy fish and chips wrapped in newspaper. I wonder if they still do that? It can't be healthy. Or, maybe it was just a trick they played on us Americans. Anyway, the breading is not crisp like kind of stuff you get at Long John Silvers. This fish tasted good and it may have even been healthy. The fries - chips - were fine and I certainly cleaned my plate (except for that piece of lettuce or whatever it was).

At any rate, I was extremely pleased with the Close Encounter Harvest Ale, the fish & chips, and surprisingly, in spite of the dinner being sort of work related, it was a really enjoyable time.

Feel free to e-mail me about your favorite tavern, fish and chips or Close Encounter, or leave a comment. And you can see more pictures from my trip over on Flickr.


Anonymous said...

Hey Dave!

Was just in the UK last month, and got fish and chips from the high street in Huntingdon. It was the same as it was 25+ years ago when I was stationed there...

Cheers! M2

Anonymous said...

WOW! The Ram's Head has not changed one bit! That was my favorite haunt years ago when I lived in MD.

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I love to observe the odd things happening around me as I go about my day. I especially like it when I can get a picture of people being themselves. Here, I attempt to report the various people and events I have encountered in my neighborhood, and my city. I'd also love to hear from you. Feel free to e-mail your experiences and photos of life in San Antonio.

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