Chillin’ with Hank - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Chillin’ with Hank

Recently on a warm spring day, I had the opportunity to meet Hank. Hank is really good at giving me beer, so I like Hank. But Hank is not a person. Hank the Beer Tank is a Kickstarter project from Sebastian Ehreiser and Adam Koeppel.

The problem: Draft beer is delicious, but is not portable.

First attempt: Let’s put in a growler! – this is a great idea if you don’t want the beer to last more than a couple of days, and you aren’t sharing with more than 1 or 2 people.

Second attempt: I’ll buy a keg fridge! – this is a great idea, but now you are tethered to your home.

Third attempt: Hank. Compact, portable (well luggable), energy efficient, will run off any power source.

Hank is a portable – well – transportable keg fridge made for 5 gallon or 1/6 barrel kegs, often called Sixtels. Hank utilizes a highly efficient Danfoss compressor, a paintball CO2 tank, and a traditional tap tower to serve up perfectly chilled beer.

I have spoken with quite a few people about this product, and about portable refrigeration in general. Many say that $700 is too much to pay for a portable keg fridge. They also say they can get a portable refrigerator from Target for under $100.

While there is some truth in that statement, it is not completely accurate. Yes, $700 is a commitment. But you cannot get a portable refrigerator from Target or anywhere else for that matter. What you can get for about $100 is a thermoelectric cooler. This is NOT a refrigerator.

What you are getting here is an honest to goodness compressor driven refrigerator (and freezer if you want) that runs off the most common forms of power available at home or on the road.

It doesn’t have a USB port to charge your phone. It doesn’t have a blender or Bluetooth speaker. This is a keg fridge only.

For those of you that think $700 is too expensive? I challenge you to find a portable refrigerator cheaper. The only thing that this is missing is a second lid so that it can be used as a more traditional camping refrigerator.

The product is a well-made product, that does exactly what it promises. And barring supplier issues, its one of the rare Kickstarter projects that should be able to deliver on time. The question is – is this product for you? I am going to attempt to list who it would be great for.

Homebrewers – homebrewers tend to brew using 5 gallon soda kegs. And homebrewers like to share their creations with others. This would be perfect.

Commercial brewers / beer distributors – These guys have dozens of festivals each year where they rely on jockey boxes, which offer them no control over the temperature of their beer. Jockey boxes, if you aren’t making your own are quite expensive too.

hank2Campers / Off road Enthusiasts – Nothing better at a camp site than a nice cold beer. If you backpack camp this isn’t going to be your thing. But those that car camp it can be quite useful. Especially off road enthusiasts who tend to large groups camp together.

Boat owners – Easy access to beer dockside is great. Especially when you don’t need to worry about broken glass getting into your flip flop.

Event Venues – image catering a wedding that had a beer station almost wherever you wanted to setup? You can do it with this. If you only need to serve for an hour or so, you really don’t need to keep it plugged in.

Craft beer lovers – Most craft beer lovers that buy kegs to dispense at home don’t tend to buy the old school ½ barrel associated with college frat parties. Instead we buy more reasonably priced (and sized) sixtels to dispense our Godly nectar.

My guess is, if you are reading this, you fall into one of these categories. I know that the price might be a little shocking at first, but do some research, you’ll find it’s quite a bargain. Being a person that has owned a similar fridge (mine won’t hold a keg) for a few years, I couldn’t be happier.

Check out their Kickstarter here.


About the author

John Thompson

John Thompson is a beer enthusiast who began evangelizing craft beer a few years ago on his blog thehoplocal.com. John has been homebrewing sporadically for almost 20 years, and also is a Cicerone Certified Beer Server. When not enjoying a cold malty beverage you will find John spending time with his spouse and two young children or working his day job in Financial Services Technology. Make sure to find John on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter @TheHopLocal and Untapped. at : http://untappd.com/user/thehoplocal Contact the author.
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