It was a hot summer day in Pearl River, NY. We walked into Defiant Brewing and I spied on the menu an odd looking beer title: SMaSH. It was early in my craft beer journey, so you know I had to try it. It was my first encounter with those cherished four ingredients, composed plainly and beautifully. Years later, finally, I’m starting to see them more often.
With all the craziness and pushing of the beer-envelope, I knew it was only a matter of time before the pendulum started swinging back the opposite way. Enter SMaSH beer. Home-brewers have been at this for decades, finding beauty in simplicity. With the release of Southern Tier’s 2XSMaSH and Long Trail’s SMaSH project, and other breweries jumping on the wagon, I felt it was time to post on it.
So, what is a SMaSH beer? Single malt and single hop beers are exactly what they sound like: water, yeast, hops, malt. It’s getting back to the basics, and learning to appreciate one hop varietal and one malt type. I found an easy-to-understand article on a blog after a quick search for SMaSH beer. An added benefit of SMaSH beer is their wallet-friendly production cost on home-brewers and breweries alike.
There are challenges in creating a finely-tuned SMaSH beer, though. While you to want the ingredients to shine, they should compliment each other. Not all styles are suited for a SMaSH treatment. Though most recipes are American Pale Ales and IPAs, there is room for experimentation. Whole online communities and forums exist for the love of and brewing of SMaSH beer. To put my money and beer where my mouth is (the later being the more enjoyable of the two), I will try to acquire a few examples and review them in the coming weeks.
Come along with me on my SMaSH hunt and tell me what you find, if the style works, and which is your favorite.