Brewery: Nils Oscar
I’ve always found rauchbiers to be a curious genre in the world of beer. Some people love them and some people detest them with a fiery passion. I personally think they’re great as they are just so interesting with their smokey complexity. St. Eriks did a very nice rauchbier for a while but unfortunately that is discontinued now. I always like to have a bottle from the Aecht Schlenkerla range in my fridge though as it pairs beautifully with grilled meats. I haven’t tried as many as I’d like due to the genre being rather small and relatively hard to get hold of here in Sweden. I was happy when Nils Oscar announced they were producing a smoked beer, even if it was limited edition. I picked up some bottles on release day and tucked them away for the Swedish Allstars tasting.
One of the first thing that struck me about the beer is the bottle, or rather how underwhelming it is. You could say it’s not exactly the most exciting bottle to look at in the world. I’m not sure who decided on the label design but I must say that mustard yellow and grey are hardly the most fun combination of colour. The beer however was unclouded chestnut in colour with an impressive amount of carbonation displayed. The beer had a medium body to it and was topped with an off white bubbly head that held well. One whiff of the beer and all those delicious meat smells associated with the smoked beer style leapt from the glass. Notes of smoked pork and sausage came through nicely from the round sweet smokiness that emanated from the froth. Behind that was hints of toffee, raisins and a light brown sugar in the aroma. Smokey caramel malts were the first to be noticed in the tasting followed closely by digestive biscuits. It was surprisingly light in smoke on the palate, yet what was there continued through into the after taste. It was light and easy to drink, with an enjoyable peatiness that never overpowered the senses.
I enjoyed this but I wouldn’t put it among the best smoked beers I’ve had in my life. It was light and easy to drink, but I hoped for a tad more smoke in there to really up the ante slightly. I would almost say this is more of a beginner rauchbier, and definitely a good place to start but there are much better out there on the market today. If you find this though, it’s worth a go. Just try to ignore the terrible label design though.