For a certain type of guy, reading the words gadget and beer in the same sentence can definitely quicken the pulse. (Wait, is that really just me?) Okay, fine, perhaps beer-drinking doesn't require equipment more involved than some fine glassware.
(For proof, look no further than this winner.) Beer-making, on the other hand, has its share of useful devices. Unfortunately, it also comes with a four-week-minimum waiting period and a lot of actual work. In other words: It's not for everyone.
But what if there was a gadget that helped you create your own unique beer while eliminating most of the labor and the hand-wringing as your brew ferments and your beard grows? Say hello to Randall Jr. This little doohickey—from the awesome Dogfish Head brewery in Delaware—doesn't actually brew beer, but it does infuse it with flavor. A simple glass jar with a filter and a lid, little RJ, as I've been calling it, is kinda fun. You can mix pretty much anything, from additional hops to spices and various fruit, into your favorite brew.
Fancy an orange-flavored pale ale? Just throw an orange peel into RJ, pour the beer over it, close the top, and stick it in the fridge for 10 minutes. Pretty miraculously, the taste of my Dale's was transformed. I got a real noseful of the orange flavor as I raised the glass to my mouth and a delicate hint of citrus at the finish. I was so sold I started making this "new" brew for some friends over the weekend—12 ounces at a time. Unfortunately, this rather slow method of preparing "cocktails" kind of pissed off my wife, who wasn't having as much fun as I was waiting for each single serving of beer. But what does she know? Little RJ has been such a hit, Dogfish recently sold out of the $19.99 gadget. But don't fret, beer geeks: Your average tea infuser, like this one, will also do the trick. And that includes annoying impatient drinkers like my wife.
—Greg Emmanuel (@gemmanuel), articles editor at Details