Cranker's Bulldog Red Ale

The Professor IPA from Cranker's was very, very good. I don't know how a beer maker can come out of Michigan with a hit right out of the gate, but I assume it's because they A) love beer and B) tried a few different things before they started shipping beer. This is a technique I wish some brewers would follow. Let's see their red ale...

I'll be damned if this isn't a (dark) red ale. The creamy head becomes a lilly pad within a few minutes, and the aroma is pretty damn overwhelming for a red ale. I know that red ales sometimes have more character than, say, a Killian's, but this is definitely strong. the malt is just jumping out of the glass.

First sip is caramel, some dark fruit with grains, earth, and even a bit of toffee. It is luxuriously rich with all of the malt just heaped inside that glass, and the nuts and brown sugar seem to trail off into the distance. This is a very solid, almost decadent red ale; it might start bordering on a Belgian ale with the darkness and fullness.

Tip-in is a watery sweet grain, fruit, and bread. The middle opens up into an also somewhat watery brown sugar, caramel, nuts, and a very light earth. The finish does away with any wateriness and slams down with yeast, dark fruits, a hint of hops (with the bitterness), and toffee trail-off. So, the middle and tip-in definitely give it the red ale mildness that I expect from this style, but it finishes as so much more.

Bottom Line: A red ale that others might aspire to be.



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