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Beer culture is coming of age. At any store, restaurant, bar, or friend's house you can now find at least a few good brews. In fact, there seem to be so many new beers, breweries and bars it's difficult to separate the good, the bad, and the mediocre.

If you're going spend $10 on one beer, what should you buy? If you're going to drive 2 hours to check out a brewery, what's worth your time? If you're going to plan a Friday night, what has a good selection and friendly atmosphere? We're here to help you answer these questions.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Aecht Schlenkerla Eiche Smoked Beer

Aecht Schlenkerla Eiche is a Dopplebock Rauchbier (Smoke Beer) by the Schlenkerla Brewery in Bamberg, Germany. Bamberg and Schlenkerla are famous for Rauch or smoked beers. The malts in Rauchbiers are traditionally smoked using beech wood, however Eiche, which is a winter seasonal is made with oak.
Before modern kilning techniques, all beers were technically smoked. Malts were dried over open flames and so a smoky taste was usually picked up. However, smoke-free kilning is the modern method, so rauchbiers have become a very specialized style.

I bought this at the Pangaea Bottle shop for $5.49. It has an ABV of 8%.
The beer pours a hazy amber, with a thin bubbly white head with thin lacings. The aroma is a powerful whiff of the smoked oak, or for a better description beef jerky.  The smoke is strong but mellowed by sweet malts. The taste follows the nose with a powerful burst of smoke followed by smooth, sweet malts. The smoke, slips away after a few sips and is really well balanced with the malts and earthy hops. Its medium bodied with decent carbonation and a smooth finish.
Overall I like this beer and you should Try It. The smokiness makes this a one-time per session type of a beer, but its very enjoyable. The smoke is well balanced yet upfront and dominant. I think this would pair well with a nice meat dish.

The name Schlenkerla comes from the German word to “dangle” or “sway”, but in the vernacular it is used to describe someone who walks funny. This could either reference a drunk walk, or the local Bamberg legend that the founder of the brewery had a bad limp.

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