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!