Why only crush it once when you can crush it twice?
That seems to be the philosophy espoused by production, at least when it comes to our latest Tasting Room-only release, Double Crushed.
Twice the fruits of Crushin’ It. Quadruple the hops of Crushin’ It. Twice the ABV (minus ½ because 16% would be obnoxious).
Double Crushed releases on Friday, only in the Tasting Room!
A warm orange light washes over the brewery floor as the sun begins to peek over the horizon to begin a new day. Tired brewers rub the sleep from their weary eyes as they shuffle in to work, punching in and offering half-hearted jokes to their fellow workers. Lab Manager Lauren Appleman has a mug of coffee in her hand and a smile on her face because she’s already been at work for four hours. Vice President of Operations Brandon Greenwood calls the assorted brewers into his office — a.k.a. the conference room in HQ — demanding ideas for the next variant of Crushin’ It.
BRANDON: Our next variant of Crushin’ It has to crush it! No one has made that joke before!
PRODUCTION PLANNING AND SPECIAL PROJECTS MANAGER BRIAN HINK: (beardedly) My title is too long.
BRANDON: There’s NO TIME FOR THAT!
BREWER BRAD YOUNG: (smiling) Let’s do a salami-inspired Crushin’ It because John Mayer — also known as “Johnny Salami” — is an awesome frontman for Dead & Co. even though I’ve never seen Phish to be able to compare him to a real frontman like Trey Anastasio.
Blank looks all around.
PACKAGING MANAGER MARK GRAVES: Could we not invite Brad to these meetings anymore?
BRIAN: Well, if you think a salami Crushin’ It is a crazy idea, just wait for Double Crushin’ It! (laughs manically)
BRAD: (smiling) We’re not really going to do a Double Crushin’ It, are we?!?
Fade into A Beautiful Mind-esque scene on Brian as he devises the recipe, with numbers and hops and grains and different fruits flying about. Brian deftly dodges a grapefruit as his face ignites with a spark of realization. Fade to black.
“Once I jokingly made that statement I couldn’t stop thinking about it,” Brian tells us.
But, once he gave it some real thought and began planning out the recipe, Brian realized a few things:
- “Double Crushed” rolls off the tongue better than “Double Crushin’ It”, and
- Doubling an 8% ABV beer was going to be a challenge.
“16% obviously would’ve truly doubled the ABV,” he says, “but if you think about IPA vs double IPA, a double IPA isn’t double the ABV of a regular IPA. A double IPA has a higher ABV, and usually more hops, but it’s not two times the original ABV — it’s just more.”
So, we took the approach that more is better than double when it comes to ABV.
“A 16% ABV glass of hoppy orange juice sounds kinda silly,” he continues. “12% just made a lot more sense, I thought.”
And trying to get a beer to 16% is incredibly difficult. It requires a huge amount of grains in the mash tun and an extremely stressful environment for the yeast, so we compromised a bit and opted for a 12% ABV.
“But, it’s double the fruit and quadruple the hops of the original Crushin’ It,” Brian says, “so, even with only 1.5 times the ABV, it averages out to about double overall, I guess? Mathematically, it works out to 2.5xs Crushin’ It, assuming the fruit, ABV, and hops all have equal impact on the overall Crushin’ It allure, so I feel justified in calling it Double Crushed.”
Doubling the fruit made a lot of sense, too, but we weren’t going to do something as lame as simply add some more orange juice to an already orange juice-heavy beer. So, we decided to make some logical combinations with a nod to the beer’s history. Since Grapefruit Crushin’ It was the first extension to our Crushin’ It line this time last year, as well as one of the first variants of the Orange Crush cocktail, it made sense to start there.
Mixing the two is nothing new.
“A ‘half-and-half’ — half Orange Crush and half Grapefruit Crush — became a staple at many bars,” Brian explains, “with the grapefruit’s pithy, tart bitterness balancing out the sweetness of the orange very nicely.”
So, as we began filling out Crushin’ It line extensions with offerings like Mango Crushin’ It and Blueberry Lemon Crushin’ It, we filed Double Crushin’ It away as a “maybe”.
“But, when Double Crushed finally came to be,” Brian says, “it made a lot of sense to take the ‘half-and-half’ inspiration on the fruiting for this one.”
As we mentioned in a previous blog, the entire concept behind the Crushin’ It line was to change up the fruits with each new variant, keeping the malt and yeast the same while choosing hops that will accentuate the new fruit. As such, Double Crush has some hop crossover with both the orange and the grapefruit versions with Citra, Azacca, and Amarillo.
“Citra and Azacca bring their orangey citrus brightness,” Brian says, “and Amarillo has a strong, zesty, grapefruit character, so it just made sense to stick with what makes sense.”
So, once we had the recipe in place and the time in the schedule, it made sense to really do something with Double Crushed, brewing up the largest Tasting Room-only release we’ve ever done.
“Even though it’s outside our busy summer season,” he explains, “we took a risk on brewing up such a large amount because we wanted to make sure it gets to as many fans of Crushin’ It as possible.”
“This beer is everything that you love about Crushin’ It but turned up to 11,” she says. “Or 12 in this case because it is 12-freakin’-percent ABV! It is surprisingly easy to drink considering the alcohol content, but if you have too much of this for breakfast you will need a nap by noon.”
And Brian is pretty pleased with how Double Crushed came out, as well.
“It’s silly how drinkable this thing is,” he says. “The hops are present, both fruits shine through nicely, and alcohol heat is there just enough to let you know it’s a cocktail-inspired beer. It’s scary good. And not just because it’s coming out right before Halloween: it’s scary crushable any time of the year.”
Double Crushed releases only in the Tasting Room this Friday at noon. You can place an order online or brave the elements and stand in line. Either way, we’ll see you then!