Food - Drink
Rauchbier: The German Beer With A Bold, Smoky Bite
By MELISSA CORBIN
Rauchbier, a truly unique type of beer with origins in Germany, has a bold, fiery bite and smoke-infused profile that puts it in a category all its own. Learning about Rauchbier’s origins and the way it is made can help you appreciate this smoky brew before you try it, especially since it's not the most accessible beer at the pub.
According to legend, Rauchbier originated in medieval Bamberg, Germany, after a brewhaus ran into an unfortunate accident with fire; however, part of the brewery was spared from burning, and the malt stored there took on the flavor of the smoke. One the most renowned Rauchbiers, Aecht Schlenkerla, dates all the way back to 1405.
Today, Rauchbier encompasses all beers made with smoked malts, and is traditionally smoked with beech wood, though modern brewers experiment with other hardwoods. The intensity of the smoky flavor depends on the brewer, but a good Rauchbier should have a balance of smoke, malty sweetness, and a dry finish.
Rauchbier pairs well with BBQ and other meaty, smoky foods. Since it can be an acquired taste, the masters at Schlenkerla offer this bit of wisdom: “Even if the brew tastes somewhat strange at first swallow, do not stop, because soon you will realize that your thirst will not decrease and your pleasure will visibly increase.”