Here in South Korea, a craft beer boom in recent years has started to make some of us (me) a little spoiled for choice. Gone are the days when anything, anything that wasn’t Hite, Cass, OB, or Max was welcomed with often outsized enthusiasm. Red Rock? It’s not great but at least it’s different. San Miguel? Yes, please, that’s so much better than Red Rock. Indica IPA? Holy crap, this is so good.
But, times have changed. Indica IPA is no longer so good but simply a decent beer. San Miguel is drinkable but not far removed from Korean beer if we’re being honest. Red Rock still isn’t good.
It is with this mindset that I present Abnormal Beer Co.’s “Crushability,” a 5.0% abv hazy pale ale recently brought over from the States for the first time, joining the four other Abnormal beers already being consumed at a few places in SK, notably at the Abnormal Taphouse in Haeundae, Busan.
My first experience with Abnormal beers came during a brief offering of their delicious Boss Pour IPA at HQ in nearby Gwangan. That served as something of a test run for the beer and, ultimately, the taphouse that carries the “Abnormal” name. And, the Boss Pour remains my favorite Abnormal Beer Co. beer. It’s bitter like IPAs often are, but approachable and drinkable like a good IPA should be. I am far from a “hop head.” I do not ask what the most bitter beer is at a bar and order it. I enjoy things other than IPAs (on the menu above, I would also recommend Abnormal’s Mostra Mocha Stout or Maloney’s Gaahhdn Laahga.. Garden Lager. Think bad Boston stereotype… without hesitation).
But, would I recommend Crushability? If it was the only Abnormal beer on the menu, or only it and the 5 p.m. Session IPA were the only ones, then yes, I would. Abnormal Beer Co. is producing some good stuff and it’s definitely a drinkable beer, one with bitterness that belies its lack of “IPA” in its name.
Unfortunately, as can be the case with some so-called “session” beers, it also lacks enough flavor for me to be interested in it beyond one glass. It drinks fine. Like Boss Pour, it does not leave an unpleasant aftertaste. Unlike Boss Pour, however, I did not find myself excited for the next sip. I found myself wishing I had ordered a Boss Pour, instead.
Ultimately, if you’re looking for something with a low-to-moderate alcohol content that isn’t another IPA but which still carries a bit of bitterness, Crushability is certainly a decent beer to enjoy. But, amid South Korea’s crafty craft beer salad days, it does not offer enough to rise above the increasingly-crowded field of very satisfying suds.