Last year Red Hook teamed up with television and radio personality Dan Patrick to produce Audible Ale, which they proudly trumpet as "the ultimate craft beer for watching sports." What confers this ultamism? The marketing material suggests it's derived primarily from Audible's "crushable" status, which in the esoteric language of the youth refers not to the structural integrity of one's hopes, dreams, and takeout containers but rather to a beer's ability to be drunk quickly, repeatedly, and with great enthusiasm: A crushable beer is low in alcohol and tastes good. It's session beer for dipshits.
That's all cool with me, although I don't quite understand why one requires low-alcohol beer to watch sports. "Bro, slow down. Easy with the Bud Light Platinum! That shit's six-percent alcohol by volume, bro. BRO. Bro? We got a lot of television-watching to do today, bro." Are they afraid of being charged with remote-controlling while intoxicated? Getting sloppy with their Dorito fingers and further encrusting the futon? Or, worse yet, are these sports-bar people who need to drive?
I know I'm being shitty and judgmental and relying on lazy stereotypes, but that's what you're in for when your promotional copy includes references to "man caves," "tailgates," "crushability," and "passion buckets."
Speaking of which: Did I wake up this morning knowing what a passion bucket is? I did not. Did I suspect the term to be vaguely dirty and anatomical in the manner of "man cave," and, come to think of it, maybe "tailgate" too? I did. Was I mistaken? Eh, kinda. It seems that Mr. Patrick often refers to one's capacity for excitement as one's "passion bucket." When Tom Brady gets caught screaming "Fuck!" on camera every single Sunday, it is a telltale sign that his passion bucket hath runneth over.
My ignorance of the passion bucket betrays that I have never listened to The Dan Patrick Show. I love sports and I love radio, but I don't listen to sports radio for the same reason I don't type with my thumbs or brush my teeth with hummus, which is to say that just because sports, radio, thumbs, and hummus are all great doesn't mean they work in every combination. But all the smart-assing aside, I like Dan Patrick. I remember him fondly from ESPN, and I don't mind at all when I run into him hosting a pregame show (which is the highest praise I can offer a pregame-show host). Dan Patrick's smart and good at his job, and he's certainly no meathead. But he's hitched himself to a beer with a beefiest-common-denominator marketing plan, and for that he deserves to be teased. Which he was, and now we'll move on.
Audible Ale has a nice pine-over-orange aroma, with a bit of light grapefruit. It tastes like that, too, along with some bready malt and very faint caramel. It's decent beer, but it tastes a bit short and thin, as if it was "crushed" down from 5.7 percent ABV to its final 4.7 percent, and the finish is quick and papery in an adjunct-lager way.
Audible Ale serves its purpose, and I'd never pass up a free one, or even a half-price one, but it does demonstrate the traits that make people dismissive of session beer: It tastes like watered-down pale ale. You could do worse, but you could also do so much better.
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Will Gordon loves life and tolerates dissent. He lives in Cambridge, Mass., and some of his closest friends have met Certified Cicerones. Find him on Twitter @WillGordonAgain. Image by Jim Cooke.
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