With so many great beer styles, sometimes it’s hard to give them all the attention they deserve. Case in point: Rauchbier, the elusive style that you’ll rarely see in even the best bottle shops. And yet, if you took a trip in your time-traveling phone booth to the 1500s, practically every beer you’d see would be a Rauchbier.
That’s because back then, they didn’t have any propane with which to kiln their malts. So when it came time to dry out the grains and get them ready for brewing, they could only do it over a wood fire. And as we all know, wood turns into smoke, smoke turns into smoked malt and smoked malt turns into smoked beer.
With the advent of clean-burning fuels, the smoky style fell out of flavor. But we think there’s something to be gained from the gamey, meaty taste that the Rauchbier brings. This beer was built for food. So here are a few suggested pairings with some food we had laying around the brewery. Stop on in for a taste, or grab a bottle to go and experiment on your own!
AG Salt + Pepper Almonds: This pairing amps up the nuttiness of the almonds, while highlighting and slightly turning up the smoke levels of the Rauchbier. A nice, balanced pairing, complementing flavors in both alike, and making the whole greater than the sum of the parts. The guys at AG take pride in their smoking process, which uses almond wood (of course), as well as peach and cherry wood.
AG California Chili Almonds: We decided to try if we could use the same basic ingredients and make a totally different pairing here. All that’s different here is the spice, and you end up with a completely changed profile. Think of this pairing as a play on your favorite BBQ sauce. The spices of the chili, combined with the maltiness and smokiness of the beer, combine to form a sweet and spicy combo. The spice slowly intensifies with each taste, but never reaches an unpleasantly hot level. A great tasting for those BBQ fans out there.
Lawless Jerky Mango Habanero: Rauchbiers often get called “bacon beers” because of their smoky depth. But bacon isn’t the only cured meat this beer goes well with. Like the last pairing, that spice is a natural balance for the smoke in the beer, but you also get a dimension of fruitiness in this ridiculously tasty jerky that pops everything open and makes you want to keep chewing.
Downtown Taco Tacos Al Pastor: If we’re diving into meat, why stop at jerky? Fortunately, we’ve got our Resident Taquero Pablo Romero to serve up his specialties. With this pairing, you get everything – porky protein, caramelly searing, bright pineapple, and of course, smoky, smoky goodness.
Find a bottle of Rauchbier at the Public House while they last!