Friday, September 24, 2010

OMFG - Beer Review Series - Sweetwater Crank Tank Rye'd Ale

Recently, many breweries are producing beers for a cause; Crank Tank is Sweetwaters’ newest brew to benefit Camp Twin Lakes.  “Camp Twin Lakes is a network of camps providing life-changing camp experiences to thousands of children with serious illnesses, disabilities and challenges.” This camp specializes in creating a positive atmosphere for children with disabilities to be surrounded by others young folks in similar situations.  The camp has expertise in ‘customized programs that teach campers to overcome obstacles and grow in their confidence and capabilities.’

To benefit Camp Twin Lakes Sweetwater created the Crank Tank. This brew is a variation of the Dank Tank series: rarely released randomness and each offering will most likely never be seen again. This incarnation, a Rye ale, has a low 45 IBU and a final gravity of 6.2%, very light for the imperial extreme brews. Reading the label, this Rye ale appears super drinkable and a perfect summer/fall/spring beer.  “We cranked up a fermentation tank for this knobby Rye'd Ale geared up with 25% rye malt and dry hopped to the spokes with Mt. Hood and Centennial Hops."

Rye beers were first brewed around the time Columbus discovered America.  After a couple of poor Rye harvest seasons a rule was proposed that limited Rye malts only for bread only. We know this as Reinheitsgebot – the beer purity law. This German and Bavarian law states that beer could only be made from water, barley and hops; the penalty for making impure beer was also set in the Reinheitsgebot: a brewer using other ingredients for his beer could have questionable barrels confiscated with no compensation. Thus, Rye beers disappeared for nearly 500 years only to resurface again in 1988. Many brewers outside of Germany abided by the law meant to prevent inferior methods of preserving beer that had been used before the introduction of hops. It’s a damn shame Marty McFly didn’t even get a change to try a Rye beer. Basically, many of us, including myself, are unfamiliar with Rye beers and should experience a good example of the suds sooner vs. later.

I chilled the duce duce to about 45 °F, and slowly poured 12 ounces into my Perfect Pint glass. The head was lathered up white; it stood tall in my bell shaped vessel for quite some time. The color is a beautiful pastel copper with a nice chill haze. The smell is fragrant with some spice, lemon, citrus notes. I also picked up some faint sourness from Rye malts. It almost resembles a full body wheat beer but the sourness leans me to think saison or farmhouse ale.

Taste is über smooth upon first sip I picked up some buttery dry mild flavors, similar to chardonnay. As it warmed the bitterness began to rear his beautiful head. I can only assume the sullenness is derived from Columbus hops. The beer is grassy like summertime on the baseball field after a morning rain. The Crank rounds out with nice spice zest.  I am going to take an uneducated stab at naming them: Bay and Coriander? The swallow is sour, sweet, tart and dry… very pleasant. 

The body of the Crank Tank is nice and thick, and medium bold on the carbonation. I was really impressed at how balanced and drinkable this beer is. I would have it again and again; I hope they plan to make Crank Tank Rye'd reoccurring seasonal ale.  I would definitely session with this beer. It is in my top 20 of all time. It is widely available throughout the Atlanta area so keep an eye out.


1 comment:

  1. I tried this beer on draft at Neighbors in VaHi and loved it. Will be stocking up on it for sure! Great review, agreed w/ all your notes.