Soaking Up the Suds with James Crane


When I have a beer, I go for quality over quantity. This was not always the case. While presently I’d rather just have a single beer that’s memorable, I used to have enough beers to not remember anything, let alone what I drank.
Now, after one heavy and strong beer, I’m ready to call it a night. Sometimes, however, quantity is important. If I find myself at a party or out on the town, chances are I’m going to have more than one beer. This presents unique problems. The beers I usually enjoy are rich and full of character. Sometimes they are incredibly dark, other times incredibly hoppy. While delicious in their own right, they aren’t made for the long haul. The days where I could pound down multiple stouts is long gone. If I’m in it for the duration, I need something drinkable.
Enter the idea of the session beer. While not a distinct style in and of itself, the session beer does have certain characteristics. They generally are not too strong and value drinkability over complexity. While it is possible for a beer to score high in both of those areas, its not necessary for a session beer. Ultimately, you just need to be able to swallow a lot of them and not feel bad about it.
This week, I’m drinking Red Hook’s Audible Ale, produced in collaboration with sportscaster Dan Patrick.. I’ve had a few other Red Hook brews, all of which I would consider session worthy. I’m especially fond of their ESB. This one in particular claims to be crushable and easy to drink. I was willing to put that to the test.
The beer poured a hazy copper color. There was minimal head that dissipated with little proof that it was there. A big thick robust beer isn’t something I look for in a session brew so this was okay with me. A thick head generally points toward a great mouth feel but is also generally accompanied by a lot more heavy. With its slow rising bubbles, this one looked easy enough to put down.
The scent was predominately sweet malt with some citrus hints. There was some toastiness there that boded well. Some mild hop presence appears in the nose too, but it was the malts I noticed most of all.
There isn’t much taste at all when it first hits the tongue. There is a slight metallic flavor, but that’s it. As it swallows, it releases a little lemon sensation followed by light bittering hops. All of this was rather unimpressive. In its wake, however, there is some magic. Seconds after you’ve finished swallowing and are ready to write this brew off, the sweet biscuit cookie malt taste sets in. Its grainy and savory and sweet. The brew leaves a pleasant sensation in the mouth.
If a session beer can be qualified by its lack of offensiveness, this one certainly makes the cut. At 4.7% ABV, its not overly strong and goes down rather easy. The carbonation feels good in the stomach while the brew itself is pleasant and incredibly easy going. Audible Ale won’t blow your mind and nor was it meant to. Its a good beer to drink and share, however, beer is always better with friends anyway.