What's a smokebeer?

What's a smokebeer?

You've probably enjoyed a beer and a smoke over the years. In a way, the Schlenkerla brewery's special creation combines the best of both worlds, sans the lung cancer. Smokebeer, or what the Germans call "rauchbier," isn't actually a type of suds, but a technique for flavoring a variety of them.

After soaking and germinating the barley, brewers at Schlenkerla dry the malted grains in kilns fired with special wood. As burning logs dry the air, they infuse ingredients with a powerful and distinct smokiness. The historic brewery in Bamberg, Germany, makes a variety of smokebeers, including a marzen, bock and wheat beer.

What's it like?

A smoky aroma emerges when you pop the cap, and it continues until the final sip. As I poured my first pint, I remembered playing games in my old best friend's basement, which was heated by a beautiful, aromatic wood-burning stove.

You'll notice the smoke flavor more in the nose than on the tongue, and it's pleasant but not overpowering. Like other marzen lagers, this one has a slight maltiness and clean finish lurking through the haze.

Pair it with barbecue?

If you're a smoke hound, pair Schlenkerla with a hearty, heavily smoked beef brisket. Go hard or go home.