Today we begin with a quick brewing fact: Beer is made using grains. These grains (usually barley malt) are allowed to germinate to kick-start the process of turning starch in the grain into fermentable sugars. Following this, the grain is processed by heating or roasting. Depending on the malt you use and the level of drying or roasting, the final beer takes on various colours and flavours. (For “How Beer Is Made 101” further reading, check out this easy-to-follow guide: http://blog.beeriety.com/2009/07/06/how-beer-is-made/)
Back when beer was first brewed, the only way for the barley malt to be dried was over wood fires, which tended to give every beer a hint of smoke. Of course, as brewing became more advanced and ‘high-tech’, barley could be dried and roasted without imparting any residual smokiness.
Luckily,o country in particular realised the potential of said process and turned it into somewhat of an art-form. A country famous for schnitzels, bratwurst, Heidi Klum, busty bar wenches, Bach, Beethoven, Mercedes-Benz, lederhosen, soccer, Rammstein, Einstein, Claudia Schiffer, Steffi Graf and polka. (Just don’t mention the war!)
It’s perhaps what the Germans do best: Make beer. The only convincing you should need is one word – Oktoberfest. More specifically however, the Germans are geniuses at making smoked beer. Case in point? Schlenkerla’s Rauchbier Urbock. Brewed just twice a year, this is perhaps my favourite example of German-beer-engineering.
This particular mob have been producing smoked delights since 1405, so it’s fair to say they’ve had a tiny bit of practice. Using green barley malt smoked over beechwood fires as part of the brewing process, it’s then matured in oakwood casks for three months before being unleashed to the world.
The brew itself is smooth, rich, has a touch of sweetness, and is a bit lighter than you might expect for a strong, dark beer (the Urbock clocks in at 6.5%). Oh, and it tastes like smoked bacon.
Personally, I don’t see how you could have a more perfect match. Beer. Bacon. Combined. Think about it for a while.
For those unfamiliar with smoked beers, Schlenkerla’s range isn’t aimed at beginners. It’s for those who have tried out a few smoked beers and are looking to hark back to the good old days of German reinheitsgebot smoked beer.
And it’s brilliant. I’m not just saying that because I love bacon either. Don’t just take my word for it though. For further proof, this particular beverage pulled a 99 on RateBeer. That’s good in anyone’s book.