Rauchbier’s an idiosyncratic style that originated centuries ago in Bamberg, Germany. ‘Rauch’ means ‘smoked’ and refers to beechwood smoking of barley during the malting process.
The smoked barley gives the beer a distinct, smoked-meat character. While Rauchbier can be seen as an idiosyncratic curio, it’s absolutely delicious enjoyed with local Bamberg food, like noodle soup with rich liver dumplings – an experience we’ve enjoyed but once.
These days smoked beer finds many expressions beyond Bamberg, including some made in the past or currently by Australian breweries. These include 3 Ravens Dark, Melbourne, Matso’s Smokey Bishop, Broome, and a memorable Wig and Pen, Canberra, Wobbly Boot Smoked Hefeweizen.
Two particularly interesting styles discovered recently at Plonk, were the opulent De Molen Belgian imperial stout – made using peated malt from Scotland’s Bruichladdich distillery; and HaandByrggeriet Royk Uten Ild, a dark but subtle version from Norway.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2011