It’s no secret or surprise that alcohol consumption is up since shelter at home orders have been in place across America. I would imagine globally the trend continues as well. While my own intake has maintained consistently at “way too damn much”, I find myself venturing towards exploratory regions during these times. As I sit down to write this, I’m drinking an India Pale Lager (IPL) from a local brewery, Parleaux Beer Lab. While this is a style I’ve always enjoyed, I have recently found myself gravitating towards these lower ABV, clean, and crushable beers. Don’t get me wrong: I am still drinking plenty of orange juice looking hazies and stouts with ingredient lists as long as a Walgreens receipt, but the prospect of something more sessionable has been the motivating factor in my recent beer selection. It’s great to get lit on 8% IPAs and 12% stouts while also appreciating the lighter side of things and not passing out in the middle of the street at 2 PM. During these quarantine days, avoiding that situation is a prudent course of action. With that in mind, I’d like to highlight some of the best crushers I’ve been drinking. All of these can be drank for hours on end while maintaining a respectful level of sobriety convincing enough to not be labeled the deranged maniac of your neighborhood. In no order at all, here we go.
This is the beer that most recently got me back into crushers. I first had it on draft at the brewery shortly after they opened, and I immediately fell in love with this craft Tecate. All Relation started canning it in conspicuously unmarked black cans, making me feel like a bootleg-era smuggler every time I crack one open. This beer is the very definition of sessionable at 4.5%, and its clean flavor won’t distract as you wind up smashing half a case over the course of a long day. Not saying that I’ve done that, but it would be very easy to do so.
I’ve always had a soft spot for grisettes, that easy drinking Belgian brew designed to be approachable. Combine that with generous New Zealand dry hopping to give it an American flair and you’ve got a right proper Covid Crusher. Slightly tart and possessing some great citrus, this has tons of flavor at only 4.5%. For the sour beer lover looking to keep things chill, Surface Tension can comfortably keep you on the edge without pushing you over.
Whoa buddy! I fortuitously saw that Stein’s had this available when I was ordering a sandwich for pickup (thanks Dan!), and I’m not one to pass up on the limited Burial beer we get down here. I had never heard of the collaborating brewery, Halfway Crooks, and I’ve since been told (and drank further proof!) that they make phenomenal lagers. Without being hyperbolic, I can confidently state that DDoS is one of the best lagers I’ve ever had. No bullshit. Even beyond its cybersecurity nerdy pandering name, there is something very special about this crusher. Labeled a kellerbier, this Helles variation has a healthy amount of dry hopping given plenty of room to shine on its clean base. 5% and bursting with flavor, I was blown away by the complexity such a simple beer could contain. Bravo Burial and Halfway Crooks for knocking this out of the park.
Speaking of helles, All Relation seemingly ran out of pop cultural references from the past couple decades and simply named their helles lager The Helles. Sometimes there is beauty in simplicity. One of their silent releases only seeing limited distro in cans, this crusher is baked bread brought to life in beer form. Clean, smooth malt dances on your palate and lingers like a fresh loaf of ciabatta. This is another worthy all day drinker from the brewery down the street from my house.
I already mentioned that I got to drink another beer from Halfway Crooks, and surprise surprise it also landed on this list. Metric is a Helles that solidifies the fact that these Atlanta boys are not fucking around with the lager game. Another imminently crushable beer, I enjoyed this one outdoors while enjoying the brief spring we get here in NOLA. If you’re able to get your hands on Metric, I recommend you do the same.
OK I’m cheating here a little bit as this beer is from 2016, but it is insanely crushable at 3.4% ABV. I popped a bottle open recently and was impressed by how it had aged. In general Jester King sours age very well, and the simple subtlety of this beer held up wonderfully over the course of 3.5 years. A slight tart funk is the main entertainment here, proving that a table beer can remain interesting and something worthy of your drinking.