Ram is a place that I wanted to like, because it is fairly close to where I live and work. Unfortunately, it suffers from that crushing corporate control that does not mix well with craft brews.
The beer selection seems good at first. They have a half dozen on tap at any time, with some standards and a few rotating styles.
The problem starts with the temperature. Every beer is served ICE COLD! I found it difficult to even taste the beer. If you find yourself here, be sure to ask for a warm glass, so that the beer will be at a drinkable/taste-able temperature in less than 15 minutes after it is served.
I found most of the beers at Ram to be too bland for my tastes.
The food at Ram is mediocre. I really went for the beer, but a man has to eat. I haven’t had a wide selection from their menu, but in general I found it to be expensive for the quality. It is basically fancy pub grub that is trying to be hip for the Schaumburg crowd.
The layout of this location is your typical giant corporate restaurant. I have sat at the bar as well as in the general restaurant booths. The bar had way too many TVs and lights for my taste. I also wish they could clean up the smell of stale beer a little better.
The restaurant seating was very loud. I did not like the number of children that were present. These types of brewpubs cater to the suburban families that think nothing of bringing children to bars. This is common, so not really a Ram problem specifically.
Overall, I would probably go back to Ram if I was in the area, but I wouldn’t seek it out. It is not terrible, once you are aware of its deficiencies, but I keep wishing it was better.
Fantastic Large ceiling bar, medium dark lighting, not too loud, a few TVs, sweet wait staff, average food at best, fabulous brewery ambiance through the glass. Personal homeboy tours on request. Atmosphere the best draw for me. Really like only 4 of the 7 or 8 micros I tried. Will go back a third time when in town again.
Can’t say too much for the ambiance: another over size steel building with a sports bar in it, or a TGI Fridays, but with brewing equipment. They did have a nice burger menu, one of which went pretty well with the beers the served. Of note is the fact that a "Curl" (a sampler tray shaped like a ram’s horn) cost $5 no matter how many beers they had on tap to sample. And I got 10 of ’em. The brewer was a pretty friendly guy, and he did seem pretty happy with his setup. He did have the choice to make some big beers besides the mandated company recipes. They do schedule tapping events for their special beers, but their corporate webpage is very skimpy on details.
Neat little place. Bartender was super cool and the prices were pretty reasonable for chicago. Beer was ok. Nothing super special but all pretty drinkable. Probably wont be making any special trips but i would stop there again.
Visited October 2010, the last stop of a long night.
Got in really late, as in after midnight, and it was still pretty full. Despite that the service was pretty good. Got a sampler and didnt eat anything. Beers at this location were a bit subpar after having been impressed by the Ram in Seattle a year earlier.
Seems like a fun place to hang out but I dont think I’d make a trip out from Chicago for this place.
(Visited 05/2010): Ram Restaurant/Big Horn Brewing is located in Schaumburg right off I-90 on McConner Pkwy. They have a fairly large lot.
The inside is very spacious with high ceilings. The lounge/bar area is on the right and the restaurant seating area is on the left. There is a lot of brick along with red/brown colors and the place has a somewhat industrial feel. In the bar area the brewing equipment is visible, and there are large boards displaying the beers on tap.
As for the beers, this location has more or less the standard "spiral" group of beers from the Hefe, Big Red IPA, 71 Pale, etc as well as a seasonal (Maibock). All of the beers are more or less average and are available in a sampler for $4.
Service was decent on a weekday lunch. The bar server didn’t seem overly knowledgeable about beer but was friendly.
The food at Ram is pretty good, no complaints about my sandwich.
Overall this is a decent stop along the highway but is pretty far down the list of Chicago-area beer spots.