25 September 2014

On and off the hook

I had to go and look up why Red Hook describes its Audible Ale as "crushable". Seems they mean something like "sessionable": a beer to chug down and move on to another. At 4.7% ABV I can see the sense in that. It pours out a clear Dortmunder gold, and has a similar spiced golden syrup aroma. Malt dominates the flavour, again in quite a lagery way, with lots of crusty white bread and sweeter buttery cookies. But there's also a galvanic orange and grapefruit tangy bitterness to liven it up and stimulate the salivary glands, plus a gentler chew-sweet fruitiness. I casually drained my glass while writing those few sentences so it's safe to say the marketing department's claim of crushability definitely holds up.

I would have quite liked another but all that was left in the fridge was Red Hook ESB, a larger proposition altogether at 5.8% ABV. It's another bright gold lager lookalike and fairly light of body for the strength. Can't say I'm a fan of the flavour, however. A mild waxy bitterness meets a big chewy cereal base without any fun features or high points, just a dull, clanging lump of a beer, all grain husks and metal with a vaguely unpleasant gastric aroma. It took me a while to get through it and I found it gets even sweeter as it warms which doesn't help matters at all, though I generously shared some with the wife who, unprompted, offered "orange squash fermented with mushrooms" as a tasting note. Anyone who thinks English strong ale resembles this needs educated.

Bit of a ying and yang situation going on here, then.


  1. Anyone who thinks English strong ale resembles this needs educated.///

    As a non-native English speaker I feel a couple words are missing here, no?

    1. It's a little idiomatic, perhaps, but still perfectly good English.