Source: Columbia, TN: The Daily Herald | Mike Christen | January 26, 2020
Tennessee Brew Works is commemorating the state’s unique role in bringing the nation into the atomic age with its release of the Secret City IPA.
Oak Ridge, a community tucked away in the Hills of East Tennessee, about 30 minutes outside of Knoxville, was once a national secret home to a group of scientists working to gain control of the materials that make up the universe. Their mission, the Manhattan Project, was to build one of the most powerful weapons ever created by man.
Using the X-10 Graphite Reactor, scientists working there during World War II were able to irradiate and transmute uranium into plutonium in a vital step in creating the atomic bomb that forever changed life on earth.
Today, the U.S. Department of Energy hosts five campuses at the Oak Ridge reservation; the National Laboratory, the Y-12 National Security Complex, the East Tennessee Technology Park, the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, and the developing Oak Ridge Science and Technology Park.
Recognizing the state’s role in this major event, the Nashville-based brewery has released the Secret City Imperial IPA.
Just like the subject matter of its namesake, this beer has a heavy presence.
With a burly 10% alcohol by volume, this beer sits right under the legal limit.
With 70 IBUs, the beer begins with a cantaloupe orange color and moves to aromas of pine, tangerine, stone fruit, mango and honeydew.
As described by those who make it, the beer’s aromas are replicated in its flavors which are highlighted by a rich full body, a nice resin mouth feel, solid malty backbone and a dry crisp finish.
Spears, the founder and president of Tennessee Brew Works, says the beer continues the brewery’s effort of celebrating the state’s history.
“We try to celebrate the history and the heritage of Tennessee,” Spears said. “The Secret City is a celebration of Oak Ridge. We want to use our beer to educate about the state.”
Spears says he hopes the beer will not only taste good to customers, but encourage people to learn more about the state and its history.
An opening celebration for the new limited run of the seasonal brew was held in Oak Ridge at the Crafter’s Brew Beer Garden.
Next week, on Feb. 1, the Casual Pint Hardin Valley at 10677 Hardin Valley Road in Knoxville will celebrate the release of Secret City and showcase other beers from Tennessee Brew Works.
Although Crafter’s Brew Beer Garden was given the majority of this year’s batch, the beer will also be available in Middle Tennessee.
Spears said Secret City will serve as a special guest with limited distribution on an annual basis.
Tennessee Brew Works’ other recipes include the 1927 IPA. Available year round, the beer is a nod to the Bristol Sessions, a series of recording sessions held in the East Tennessee community of Bristol. The recordings marked the commercial debut of country music legends including Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family.
The famous session gave the community its moniker as the birthplace of country music.
With the State Park Blonde, Tennessee Brew Works supports Tennessee State Parks with a portion of the proceeds going to support the Tennessee State Park Conservancy.
“They are just a great organization to work with and we have some of the best parks in the country,” Spears said of the ongoing partnership which began in 2017.
Since 2018, the beer is a collaboration with Batey Farms, an 8th generation family-owned farm located in Murfreesboro which now produces the malted barley sourced straight from their farm and sent to the brewery.
Founded in 1807, Batey Farms is located in the Blackman community of Rutherford County, just six miles northwest of Murfreesboro. Dating back to a Revolutionary War land grant, the farm has remained in agriculture production.
“We want to create beer that is indigenous,” Spears said. “There is so much character to our state and manufacturers are so important to the community. There are so many jobs that are created by our state’s manufacturers.”
This past year, Spears said Tennessee Brew Works was able to present the state parks department with a $9,000 check from the proceeds from the sales of the State Park Blonde
“For a business our size, that is a big deal,” Spears said. “We are very proud.”