May 9, 2018 words: jen beauchesne photos: marc doucette
Do you remember the first time you heard a beer called crushable? It crept into our collective brew-jargon dictionary not too long ago. The word itself conjures images of an ’80s-movie jock crushing cans of lite beer on a meaty forehead, but really, crushable beers are just simple, easygoing and super-drinkable. You know them – maybe you crush a few while you cut the grass or do yard work, play video games, or sit on your couch and watch the playoffs.
Many crushable beers are also tasty, but they tend to work as an accent, not a focus to your day or evening. “Part of the appeal of crushable beers is not having your palate force your brain into mental gymnastics,” Beau’s Brewmaster Matthew O’Hara pointed out. “The simplicity of most of these beers is blissful. Drink. Don’t overthink.”
What you choose to crush can be a matter of personal taste, but in general, crushable beers share certain characteristics.
– Lower alcohol – you can drink more of them than you would bigger beers
– Low residual sugar – a sweeter beer tends to be more filling
– Low to moderate carbonation – too bubbly and you are less likely to want another
– Low to medium complexity of flavours – mango habanero saisons need not apply
– Balanced – they usually have good equilibrium of sweet to bitter
Crushables certainly have their time and place, especially as we set our sights on summer beer drinking. On the other hand, some moments call for a beer that is more complex, more contemplative – and some beers stand up and deliver just that. Is there such a thing as a not-so-crushable beer? You bet. In fact, here are three beers we suggest that you totally don’t crush this weekend.
1) Tom Green Summer Stout
This golden ale is brewed with oats and lactose, a milk sugar that yeast doesn’t ferment into alcohol. The oats and sugar give a surprisingly stout-like creaminess and mild sweetness to this beer. Aging on coffee and cacao nibs add complexity to the flavour. We suggest you meet up with an old friend this weekend at a cozy pub, order this beer – and then spend some time.
2) Blood Simple
This hazy witbier is brewed with barley and wheat malts, and organic blood orange juice. You might be tempted to just crush this reasonably sessionable 5.3% sip of sunshine, but then you’ll miss out on the subtle Belgian yeast-driven fruit and spice. To you we say: don’t crush this beer! With its orange-juicy tang, serve it up this weekend as the star of your brunch, with eggs Benny, smoked salmon and a citrus hollandaise sauce.
3) Halcyon Barrel House’s Gravity Well
This intense, flavourful take on a Flanders red sour ale ages for months in barrels, and is only available in limited quantities – so don’t you dare go crushing it after all that! Instead, take a bottle of Gravity Well to a party this weekend to share with friends… or even better, host your own “Bottle Share” party and get friends to bring rare and cool beers of their own to try. Take note of the tart cherry, wine and stone fruit flavours while you sip, savour and enjoy.
Bonus: The King of Crush Lewis Kent, centre, is joined by (l-r) Steve Beauchesne, Kris Mychasiw, Jen Beauchesne, Tim Beauchesne and Phil Beauchesne at the Beau’s tap room in Vankleek Hill. Canadian track runner Lewis Kent is a former world-record holder in the Beer Mile: an event where runners crush 4 beers as fast as they can, interspersed with running quarter-mile lengths. Lewis is the King of Crush when it comes to beer miling, but he saves his Beau’s drinking for off the track. Kent’s favourite Beau’s beer to not crush? Full Time I.P.A.Share:
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