Session #26: Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em

The Session is a monthly beer-themed blog-off. This month is hosted by Lew Bryson of Seen Through a Glass. The theme is smoked beers. The roundup is hosted here. Lew writes, “Because I’m not going to tell you that you have to like them, how you have to drink them, or whether you can have an expensive one or where it has to be from. But I do insist that if you blog on this Session, that you drink a smoked beer that day.”

I can follow simple instructions. Today I am drinking a smoked beer.

2009-4-3-spezialAs Lew points out smoked beers are “not just rauchbier lagers from Franconia”, though that is the original and most venerated style. Nowadays these beers are centered around Bamberg, home of the Weyermann malt company, producers of fine beechwood-smoked (as well as smokeless) malts. The popular Brauerei Heller, producers of the famous Schelenkerla smoked beers, is found in Bamberg, with an unassuming pub on a street you’d call an ‘alley’ in the US. I imagine many people will be rating one of these, as they are pretty easy to get ahold of.

I somehow found a bottle of Spezial Rauchbier from the Brauerei Spezial, also located in Bamberg. I spent way too long trying to translate the phrase written at the bottom of the label: “Mindestens haltbar bis: siehe Datumsstempel”. I’ll give you a hint: you can find the same phrase on a can of Bud Light.

The Spezial pours a deep ruddy brown with a bit of off-white head. The aroma is strongly malty: with the usual suspects like strong caramel and toast notes, but a strange bread aspect as well. There is just a hint of smoke to the nose.

On the sip, you are initially overtaken by caramel flavor, but that quickly falls behind a mellow but significant smoke flavor. This beer is definitely smoky, but is not the bacon-wrapped smoke brick of some other rauchbiers. I would suggest this beer to anyone that, while interested in the style, is somewhat unsure of their desire to totally destroy their palate for the evening. A mild flavorful smoke is noticeable but not insistent, as it is effectively balanced by the malt sweetness.

+Spezial Rauchbier

3.4 (3-6-7-4-14)

edit: Somehow I repeatedly incorrectly spelled “Bamberg” as “Bamburg” and didn’t notice it until June. I sincerely apologize.

Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Reply