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Hello, it’s Jon here
Sorry it has been a while since the last post but no worries as we will be making up for that with lots of Pubcask activity in the next few months. To keep up to date with all of our escapades make sure you follow us on twitter @pubcask.
You may have seen on Twitter that we had a special delivery from Beers of Europe just in time for the New Year. On one previous trip we spoke to Derrek the owner and he recommended us this beer saying it is one of if not the best smoked beers you can find. Well I get all giddy when I hear the words smoked and beer together so I had to get one and I can tell you I wasn’t disappointed.
The beer in question was Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Marzen. But what does that mean in English? Aecht Rauchbier translates to Original Smokebeer, Marzen is German for March but what about Schlenkerla? Here is a suggestion from their website.
Its roots lie within the Frankish vernacular, in which “schlenkern” is an expression for walking not straight – just like a drunken person does. Allegedly one of the former brewers had a funny way of walking due to an accident, or maybe due to the beer, and so he was called the “Schlenkerla” – the little dangler.
Schlenkerla is based in Bamberg which is a city in the famous beer region of Bavaria in Germany. Based in the Old Town part of the city just below the Cathedral the brewery is first mentioned in back 1405. To find out more about the history of the Schlenkerla check out their website here
So what exactly is a smokebeer? Basically it is the drying of malts and the only way to do this was over an open fire and coincidently the malts developed a smoky flavour.
Technical developments over the centuries made it possible to dry malt indirectly without open fire and thus without smoky taste. As this new technology was cheaper and usable for mass production, almost all of the old smoke kilns vanished. Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier has preserved the old craft tradition of smoking the malt in Bamberg until today.
This is what I think makes Schlenkerla so special.
Now let me tell you about the beers I tried. Here are my tasting notes!
Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Marzen – smoky, meaty, dark, like drinking a log fire. The ultimate smoked beer. You are immediately blown away by the smell. A brilliantly overpowering smell of smokyness. Running out of superlatives.
Helles Schlenerla Lagerbier – It is what lagers should taste like. It has layers of flavour a nice fizz with a hint of sweetness from the smoky overtones of their other beers.
Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Wiezen – This Wheat beer is similar to the marzen slightly lighter brown in colour. It has that brilliant smokiness smell and has a similar taste but it has a lighter bodied texture which makes it quite refreshing.
As you can tell I was a fan of these beers. That’s the understatement of the year so far. Here is a Pubcask exclusive. We are thinking of visiting Bamberg in the summer so keep your eyes and oranges peeled. I really urge you to visit their website to understand the whole culture behind Schlenkerla and drinking in Bamberg.
Now this is a quote you will find on Schlenkerla coasters and I think this sums things up rather nicely.
Even if the brew tastes somewhat strange at the first swallow, do not stop, because soon you will realize that your thirst will not decrease and your pleasure will visibly increase.