Name – Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier, Märzen.
Brewer – Brauerei Heller
Classification – 'Smoke beer'. Lager style dark beer.
Strength – 5.1% ABV
Verdict - At A Glance
On the eye – Rubied ebony.
On the nose – Bacon. Smoked. Actually, make that – bacon reduced almost to ash.
On the tongue – Maple cured Pancetta – the smouldering remains of.
On the subject – In a class (or perhaps even a world) of its own, this beer and the German town of Bamberg have become almost synonymous.
On the market – It all gets a bit 'specialist' with this one. Many online outlets will stock this. Mine was from The Real Ale Store.
On the whole – 8/10
On the whole – 8/10
It's been Sunday afternoon so, naturally, I felt like a cigar. But, as I have (technically) given up smoking cigars – I reached instead for this beer.
Now, as it turns out, I do not regret my decision to reach for this beer. However, my theory that it might adequately substitute for seven glorious inches of Cohiba, was somewhat misguided.
The reality is that this beer would have worked far better as a substitute - if I had recently given up smoked pork products.
Which, mercifully, I have not.
If, though, I really had given up the many varied delights of all things 'pig' – this brew really would have been the perfect way to get a serious 'porcine' fix without having to feel any guilt.
My point is – this beer tastes like bacon.
Smoked bacon, that is.
Now, as I've already implied, I really am partial to a few rashers of smoked bacon, whether they are forming part of a traditional American diner breakfast, or crammed into a sandwich with a splash of ketchup, or laying in neat rows across the back of a Sunday chicken.
However, I never once had the inclination to drink smoked bacon.
Not once in my whole life.
And, wouldn't you know it... I've been a fool. Because liquid bacon utterly rocks!
Basically, this extraordinary brew is a proper lesson in what can constitute great beer.
The 'smokebeer' process involves popping the malted barley into a kiln filled with smouldering beechwood logs and letting it generally soak up the atmosphere.
The result of this, once the Bavarian hops and water have also had their say, is a velvet textured, smoothly aggressive master-work.
As well as the main (and pretty damned dominant) flavour theme, there are faint suggestions of all kinds of other stuff - chiefly ginger, watercress and, rather fortuitously...maple syrup.
This brew might not be something you'd reach for with any great regularity - its a 'mood' beer without a doubt.
But this is one of those beer's which makes you yearn for those moments when you are in the mood for them.
Such beers are rare, and I'm liking them more and more.