…that’s a mouthful and no mistake. This is a German Rauchbier, or smoked beer. It’s the malt that’s smoked with beech chips as part of the kilning process, making for an interesting end product.
I tried this beer at Chappys (http://www.chappystaproom.com/Pages/index.htm) it was a style of beer that I’d always wanted to try, and even considered making myself. There was also an added incentive – provided by m’ colleague James H; who emailed my boss, from the UK, and said that my sexuality would be in question if I didn’t try it.
It’s a lovely looking beer, all brown and thick and looking like it’s made from a recipe that’s aeons old…which I guess it is, really. A gummy, viscous head suggests stoutiness in the body and taste, but quickly collapses and disappears.
The aroma is one dimensional, as it’s heavy on smoke…smoke like Autumn’s arrival in Berkshire. If you’ve been in the woods and caught the smell of woodsmoke on the breeze this is it in bottle form. There’s some woodiness and malt there too, but you have to search for it…
The body is thinner than expected, and the taste is again dominated by wood smoke, with a wisp of woodiness. I couldn’t discern any hops or malt in any of it, but I’m sure they’re there somewhere.
The aftertaste is all bonfire, a smidge of persistent bitterness hangs about, but it’s really all about the smoke.
Do I like it? I’ve no idea. To start off it’s interesting and feels worth pursuing, but after half a glass it becomes a bit of slog and your mind fondly turns to thoughts of malt and hops. I’ve been told that Rauchbier pairs well with smoked ribs, so maybe that’s worth a try. You could also drink it on Bonfire night as it might provide an interesting diversion…
PS: I noticed that my “motions” the next day we’re all suffused with a delicate smokey quality. If you like variety in your life, then maybe this angle will sway you in Rauchbier’s direction.