In the Chicago Tribune’s food section today there was the article: When smoke gets in your beer, drink up.
The article goes on to talk about a few Smoke beers, including Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier which I have had always referred to as “Marzen smoke ale” even though Marzen is the type (if I remember correctly) of beer and not a brand name. Also, I don’t speak German.
Smoke is a two-faced friend. It’s great on barbecue, but lousy on our clothes after a night out. A smoky Scotch is one of life’s rare pleasures, but a smoked beer? Well, that’s a pleasure maybe best not left to the meek of palate.
The above quote pretty much sums up my feeling on smoke ales. I like them, I like them occasionally, but not all the time. At the establishment formerly known as Bud’s that was the last beer on the Centurions club. I think that was a good pacing for having one of the smoke ales, about once every 100 beers.
“It’s like liquid beef jerky,” said Chad Wulff, manager of The Map Room, a Chicago tavern that caters to beer connoisseurs. “And it’s fantastic.”
When I hit the beef jerky quote in the paper this morning, I laughed out loud on the train and scared my fellow passengers. The first time we tried to order an Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier at Bud’s our favorite waitress, Deena, warned us that it was “8 dollars of liquid beef jerky, are you sure?” Being adventurous we of course said yes, but that is an apt description. Its just great to see it almost word for word from someone else.
Schlenkerla, whose aroma B. United’s Web site describes as containing notes of “smoked sausage, bacon [and] carpet,” gets its smoky flavor from beech forests that surround the area.
You can never go wrong with bacon and carpet!
In any case, I recommend that any beer lover at least try a smoke ale on two separate occasions before you decide if you hate it or not.