Friday, 3 April 2009

The Session #26: Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em!

The Session #26: Smoke

I LOVE SMOKE, smoked beers, smoked food... can't get enough of them, smokier the better.

I am yet to find any smoked beers to better Schlenkerla, I love the Marzen, one of my absolute favourite beers. I think the Weizen is a brilliant food beer. The Helles is lighter, less in your face, but works a treat, sat in the sun with some cold smoked meats, brings back happy memories.

I remember my first experience drinking a Schlenkerla Marzen, the first smoked beer I'd come across, only about 4 years ago. I didn't really know what I was ordering but the bottle attracted me, as did the virtually unpronounceable writing on it. I have to try this strange animal in front of me. It was like nothing I had tried before, I took in the aroma... a packet of smokey bacon crisps in a glass... wierd. I tried it... do I like it? Yes, yes I think I do. And so started a love affair.
The Schlenkerla Weizen doesn't seem to be to everybody's taste, but it certainly works for me. I love it with smoked haddock and poached eggs, one of the best beer and food pairings I have enjoyed. I have read other people say that they don't think that smoked beer and smoked food work together, it is too much smoke, they claim. I believe as long as the intensity of the beer and food work together, then it is a match made in heaven. I wouldn't drink the Urbock or the Marzen with delicately smoked fish, they would obviously over-power the fish. Pork and smoked beers are another great food and beer pairing, there is some natural smoke flavour in pork, that, when matched to a smoked beer, is accentuated just a little bit. Slow roasted pork belly and Schlenkerla Weizen is a great way, in my opinion, to introduce people to smoked beers, even my Mum liked it.
I have searched out other smoked concoctions and been relatively disappointed by the porters of O'Kells and Alaska and the couple of other German offerings I have tasted. There just isn't that big smoke that fronts up in a Schlenkerla, that smacks your taste buds, and says give me more smokey things, NOW.
Smokey Adventuring!

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