Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Session #26: Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em!

Today is the first Friday of April, so it's time for The Session, beer blogging on a common topic. This month it's my turn to host it. I invited people to write about smoked beers. Anything you want to write, the only 'rule' is that you actually have to drink at least one.

Here's where you want to leave a comment with your URL, or you can
e-mail me the link (your comment may not show up immediately, so don't double-post; I moderate comments to keep out spam and jackasses). Drop it off here, and I'll do a round-up later this weekend. Cheers!

It's Friday, and it's Lent, and I am at least a practicing Catholic, if not a perfect one, so I'm not having the smoked meat that I'd like. And my cheesemonger didn't get in any Bruderbasil and I just don't care for smoked Gouda, so I'm doing smoked fish. Because I love smoked stuff, smoked cheese, smoked fish, smoked meat, smoked sausage, smoked nuts -- anyone ever had smoked fruit? -- and smoked beer. But I most of all love smoked beer with smoked food.

So, first course: Spezial Rauchbier with cold smoked salmon made at my local fishmonger's. Nothing 'spezial' here, no smoking juniper twigs or Nova Scotian peat, nothing e*treme, just plain old German rauchbier, made with smoked malt. The only thing special about Spezial is that it's so damned good, and it's one of the Bamberg breweries I've been lucky enough to visit, a wonderful session that I still look back on fondly. The smoked salmon is still moist, delicious, and the Spezial doesn't overwhelm it. As rauchbier goes, Spezial is fairly mild, yet very tasty.

Second course: Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen and whitefish. And now the pair's stood on its head: the beer is bold and rocking, and the fish sure doesn't overwhelm it (the fish is nice, too, moist and yummy). I love this beer, huge, smacky, rambunctious, and ready for food, and I've liked it in multiple servings from the first time I tried it.

Smoked beers represent a great example, maybe the best, of beer's directness. When a winemaker wants a smoky character in wine, they use grapes and yeast and oak that have produced wine with hints of smoke before...and they suggest that smoke to the consumer. When a brewer wants smoke in beer, on the other hand, they do just that: they put smoke in the beer. Period. They smoke the malt, just like you smoke fish or cheese or meat, and then brew the beer.

Smoke has been tagged as a carcinogen. Well...this is just one of those times where I'm going to remind myself that I could get killed crossing the street. God help me, I do love it so.

Thanks to everyone for participating in The Session!

32 comments:

Velky Al said...

Here's mine: http://www.fuggled.net/2009/04/sessionless-friday.html

The Beer Nut said...

My post is up. Tasty topic, thanks for hosting.

Mark said...

Here's my post...

http://pencilandspoon.blogspot.com/2009/04/session-26-rauchbier-smokin-story.html

Tougher one this month so I thought I'd try a little bit of beer fiction!

Rich said...

I'll have to write something up...I've never really gotten into smoked beers so this is new ground for me.

jp said...

Lew what is the difference between Steinbier and Rauchbier? they both seem smokey to me

Ray Daniels said...

Hi all,

My small blog is behind a membership sign-in, so I'll just share some notes directly.

Had a smoked bock at Goose Island last night that is made with a new cherry-wood smoked malt from Briess. The malt itself seems very good: clear cherry wood smoke flavor with very little acrid/burnt character. As it was just made a few weeks ago, it is still quite potent. The bock had 75% smoked malt and was a bit much, I think. I would have been happy with 40-50%. Should make a nice smoked porter at 20-30% of the grist.

Cheers,

Ray Daniels
Cicerone Certification Program
www.cicerone.org

Dean said...

This was a first for me, both the beer and the post for the session. Mine is athttp://www.leishman.me/?p=557

Mario (Brewed for Thought) said...

I'm all smoked out:

http://www.brewedforthought.com/?p=1266

Al said...

Here is my humble contribution:

http://hop-talk.com/2009/04/03/session-26-weyerbacher-fireside-ale/

I believe Ron will have one up later today.

Lew Bryson said...

jp,

Steinbier is a revived process in which the wort is boiled by tipping hot rocks into it. It caramelizes the sugars, but every steinbier I've had also tastes smoky. Maybe the rocks get smoky from the fire? Dunno.

The American Don said...

http://thebeerbrotha.blogspot.com/2008/11/smoking-like-barack-obama-on-election.html

And there's a little Racer 5 in there for your trouble...

thbeer said...

Been to Bamberg and really enjoyed the smoked beers. Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Marzen is a go to favorite. Tried for the first time their Lentbeer. This would be a good first time smoked beer for someone to try. Not overpowering but a good intro. I'm still wishing to have the Alaskan Smoked Porter again but it's not available here.

Beer Sagas said...

Mine is also up:

http://beersagas.blogspot.com/2009/04/session-smoked-beers.html

Thanks for a theme that widened my horizont and made me try a new beer style.

Steven said...

Think of it as a very BIG blog:

http://www.realbeer.com/discussions/showthread.php?t=19619

haddonsman said...

http://www.reluctantscooper.co.uk/2009/04/session-26-passive-smoking.html

Now I need some Islay malt...

bticknor said...

Our post is up at BeerTaster.ca

Thanks for hosting. It was a worthwhile experience for me. Turns out I LIKE this stuff.

Adeptus said...

And here is my humble contribution. Thanks for the excuse to pop the cherry on several German smoke virgins :)

Stephen Beaumont said...

Here's mine, Lew. I'm sure you'll recall the occasion...
http://worldofbeer.wordpress.com/2009/04/03/session-26-smoked-beers/

Brian Yaeger said...

Just like the time I drove along the Blue Ridge Pkwy, I'm on top of old smoky...
http://beerodyssey.blogspot.com/2009/04/session-26-smoke-em-if-ya-got-em.html

Mark Andersen said...

Here's mine:

http://abeerparadise.blogspot.com/2009/04/session-26-rauchbier.html

flowerysong said...

My contribution's up at http://blog.flowerysong.com/2009/04/03/the-session-26-smoke-em-if-you-got-em/

JBH said...

Thanks for hosting. Great topic!
http://www.humpsbrewing.bluegosling.com/2009/04/03/smoke-em-if-you-got-em/

Edmond said...

Here is my contribution to this Sessions. http://www.ew3.us/?p=749
Thanks for giving me a reason to drink this great beer.

Jon said...

My post is here:

http://www.thebrewsite.com/2009/04/03/the-session-26-smoked-beer.php

Thanks for hosting Lew!

- Jon (The Brew Site)

Jimmy said...

Not quite Friday anymore - but I'm in anyway:
http://hopwild.com/2009/04/03/smoked-beers/

THOMAS 'Tom' CIZAUSKAS said...

Written yesterday but posted today ... with proof of purchase. At Yours For Good Fermentables.com.

Thanks for hosting, Lew.

Peter said...

Here is my contribution: http://www.betterbeerblog.com/index.php/2009/04/04/the-session-26-smoke-em-if-you-got-em/

sam k said...

How about that smoked porter at Rock Bottom?

Alan said...

Sorry - late but still in the game I hope: http://beerblog.genx40.com/archive/2009/april/session26lateto

J said...

Behind, as usual, and not just the barn. Here's mine:

http://www.brookstonbeerbulletin.com/session-26-smoke-gets-in-your-beer/

Thanks for hosting, even if I did guilt you into it.

J

----- Jennifer ----- said...

your blog is so good

Al said...

Hey, Lew. Ron was a little late to the party:

http://hop-talk.com/2009/04/05/session-26-stone-smoked-porter/