Crush practically leaps off the shelf at you. The can is a searing orange and scored with yellow pinstripes emblazoned with a silver cursive “R.”
But Reuben’s Brews’ Crush series is a bright beer, even beyond the packaging.
Co-founder and Head Brewer Adam Robbings has brewed several iterations of the Crush series of East Coast-style IPAs – each one citrusy, juicy and hazy – and has created an interesting dynamic with the latest offering: the Loral Crush.
“Some people liken Northeast IPAs to juice due to the turbidity – this can almost looks like it should have orange juice in,” he said.
Robbings, British by birth, prides himself on his brewery’s ability to recreate classic English styles on the same taplist as bold and hoppy American-style IPAs.
The Loral is brewed with 75% of the newer Loral hop strain, blended with Ekuanot. Those two combine to create a cornucopia of fruit, from bright lemons to honeydew to some darker stone fruits like plums.
Robbings said it was his first time working with the Loral hop, and that it presented some unique possibilities in blending.
Each Crush beer Reuben’s has made has the same yeast and a similar malt backbone. The hops are where it gets interesting.
It’s a barrage of lemons and oranges right to your olfactory system.”
“One of the original pre-conceptions when we started our Crush series, was that we wanted to experiment with different hop varieties.” Robbings said. “We were just starting this new style for us, and wanted poetic license to experiment with different hop blends as we searched for the perfect one.”
Reuben’s has brewed beers in the Crush series featuring Galaxy, Azacca, and Citra hops, all in the same bright orange can designed by a regular at the brewery’s Ballard location.
On cracking open a can of the Loral Crush, the intense citrusy aroma immediately fills the room. It’s a barrage of lemons and oranges right to your olfactory system – like peeling a ripe orange with the zestiness flung into the air.
It pours a dull orange color too hazy for light to sneak through and is topped with an off-white head which dissolves down to a slight ring very quickly.
The Loral hops keep the Crush series’ signature citrus character, heavy on grapefruit and orange with some sweet melon notes filling out the front of the beer’s flavor. It has a slight biscuity maltiness, but is otherwise sweet and finishes extremely clean and wet. Unlike the Citra or Azacca varieties, the Loral hop has a little something darker lying underneath, a dankness and stone fruit character which juxtaposes itself with the bright nature of the beer.
It’s a beer that you can’t help but feel childlike while drinking. From the bright packaging to the orange juice-like nature of the Loral Crush, the beer says Saturday morning cartoons and boxes of sugary cereal more than an East Coast IPA.
So go ahead. Be a kid with an adult beverage. Grab the bright orange can and pour a hazy glass of Crush. Be quick about it next time, though, as each variety lasts just days before selling out.