When you have a killer thirst, you need a brutal beer to quench it.
Darling Brew’s Bone Crusher is a Belgian style wit beer inspired by Africa’s iconic Spotted Hyena, a brooding and misunderstood creature. In a country of lager drinkers, Bone Crusher wit rivals our lager sales. This says much about the quality and flavor of Bone Crusher.
With its silky mouthfeel and delicious notes of coriander and citrus, Bone is also one of our most awarded beers. In 2017 it took both a Gold Medal and the Best Light Beer Trophy at the SA National Beer Awards.
In that year, it also took a Gold Medal at the annual Craft Brewers Pow Wow – high praise from our peers. In 2018 Bone was named Best Beer Brewed with less than 50% Malted Barley in the African Beer Awards.
Creating a Beast
One of the pillars of the Darling Brew brand is innovation. As Africa’s first carbon-neutral brewery, we’ve looked deep into our craft and found creative ways of doing the things we do. It’s not all serious beard-stroking and brewing science though, we like to have a little fun.
A range extension idea came up in one of our creative meetings. After a bit of banter, we decided it might be time Bone Crusher whelped a litter. The immaculate pedigree was ready to establish a bloodline of quality craft beers.
In Belgium, traditional wit beers are often flavoured with seasonal aromatics or fruits. We thought we could get really creative with our candidate. He had the makings of a great dad.
Somewhat Dry, Always Refreshing
Our brew master, Rene du Toit, had been wanting to experiment with the technique of double dry hopping. He didn’t need much encouragement to get to work on the wit beer’s flavor profile. As you might expect then, the first whelp of the Bone Crusher bloodline was more lively and bitter with a strong hop character.
We dubbed him ‘Hoppy’. Hoppy is a cheeky little beast with all the impressive build of his dad. Dual dry-hopped with Amarillo and Calypso, Hoppy is slightly more bitter with a refreshing light citrus undertone. He’s young and brash but, like the patriarch, he’ll quench the hell out of any thirst.
Hoppy rocking our wit beer sales in the second quarter of 2019. It seemed the bloodline’s time had come. Bone Crusher’s next parental foray happened quite by chance.
Rene was chatting to a farmer friend who had a supply of ripe marula fruit. Keen to see what character fermenting on fruit would bring to a wit, he put his hand up for a wagonload.
Some will contend that ‘Marula Noire’ is our best wit beer yet. It is a dark, intense beer, hence the ‘noire’ in its moniker. The bloodline is strong with that one, yet the mysterious tropical flavours from Africa’s iconic fruit set him apart.
Not only is he moody and filled with the brooding power of a light chocolate and toffee-malt backbone, he is irresistible. A true son of Africa. A dark Wit beer, bursting with juicy citrus and just enough alluring lychee sweetness to take the edge off the hop.
Along Came Cherry
The bloodline is rounded off by the matriarch of the line. The Spotted Hyaena that inspired Bone Crusher lives in matriarchal clans on the plains of Africa. Family is everything, and all members of a bloodline live and hunt together. Mothers in the clan have a bit of cheek to them, a little sass.
This is perfectly reflected in ‘Cherry’.
There’s a style of Belgian beer called ‘kriek’ that’s made with ripe cherries. We thought we’d play with the style, but instead of working with fruit, we looked for a pure juice. A natural sour cherry juice was added with the hops to the boil on this batch..
The result is Cheeky Cherry, a wit beer with strong cherry notes on nose and palate. This strong, refreshing fruit acidity pushes the traditional coriander and orange into the background.
With the sour bite of real cherry, she is probably the most anticipated beer in the Bone Crusher line. When word got out that she would be leaving the clan burrow, we instantly started getting requests for stockists countrywide. Who doesn’t love a little cherry flavor?
Mike Cowling of Beer Review SA certainly does. He gave Cherry 4.9 Bottle Caps out of 5 in a recent review. Cheers Mike, more innovation on the way. Read his review on Instagram @beerreviewza.