Sunday, 9 January 2011

Day 44, Beer 44 - Brauerei Heller's "Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier, Märzen"

Today's Beer

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

Full Review

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 foolBecause 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.


arn said...

Just tried this myself only a couple of days ago, i completely agree about the bacon! An amazing bottle really.

Barry M said...

I love this beer. First time I had it, it was a shock, and I wasn't sure, but by the third bottle I was converted. Haven't had it in ages, but now I'm living a couple of hours train ride from Bamberg, I'm gonna have to visit the source! There's a few other smoked beers coming from Bamberg, but it's hard to beat the Schlenkerla Maerzen.

Barm said...

I have always found people who don't like Rauchbier to be basically deeply suspect. One of the world's greatest beers in my view.

The Hearty Goodfellow said...

arn - It could be a coincidence, but I woke up this morning craving a huge fry up...

Barry - Allow me to put mild amounts of pressure on you to go check out those other versions and post the results!!

Barm - I agree to a point, though I might forgive a vegetarian for steering clear of it. That delicious bacon feel is more than enough to get them craving flesh again!

Barry M said...

My pleasure, already done a few :)
Here's a short one on a couple of Märzens, and then a couple of the lagerbiers. I came across one VERY smokey one, that I have been unable to get since called Smokey George. And finally, a blind tasting that included some smoked Weissbiers.

I'll do my best to try a few more :D