Smokey the Beer
With BBQ season on us in full force, the grills are being fired up for overtime duty to satisfy the crowds craving for meat prepared out of doors. Whether on the deck, patio, in the back yard or at the campsite, grillmeisters charge forward charring meat, whatever the cut. As the flames or the coals heat up the meat, the marbled fats melt and turn juicy keeping it moist, adding flavour and tenderness when chewing. What to serve with these yummy portions of protein? While full bodied red wines come to mind, we have another treat that combines complex smoke character. Smoke beer, called Rauchbier, a specialty from the city of Bamberg, Germany, is world famous. Aecht Schlenkerla, brewed since 1405, is the icon. While clocking in at a respectable 5.1% alc./vol., the smokiness comes from roasting the barley malt, integral to the brewing process, over beechwood logs. Dark brown in colour, it has a rich, foamy head exhibiting aromas of smoked meat/bacon and notes of charred wood, roasted coffee and dark chocolate. Full bodied and off dry, it is slightly bittersweet with a chewy texture. Flavours of smoke, charred wood, toasted nut and dark fruit, caramel and molasses provide a smokey, lingering finish. Not for the faint of heart, but really worth getting used to. Where’s that medium rare sirloin steak?