Style: Smoked beer
I have somewhat of a soft spot for smoked beers. It is such a niche and divisive genre, and I understand that the deep smokey and meat like notes aren’t to everyone’s taste. I find them to be delicious though and so I like to slip a smoked beer in to the tastings now and again just to try to initiate a few more people in the style. I love seeing people who try one for the first time because it always seems to be a “love it or hate it” reaction. Stigbergets are a prominent and experienced craft brewer, who have a history of producing high quality products. I chose to pair this with smoked mozzarella, which added an extra dimension to the beer which I didn’t expect (more of that later though). I had high expectations of this and thankfully I wasn’t let down!
Deep ruby red in colour with a thick, this beer had a heavy white head that hung well. The aroma was, unsurprisingly, all about the smoke. It smelt like cured meat in liquid form, with those delicious dark malts backing it up. There were hits of salt, iron and black syrup that round off the aroma nicely. The taste was very well-balanced, with the sweet dark malts coming through first. The caramel and brown sugar notes gently transitioned into a smokey edge that lingered on the palate. The smoke clung to the aftertaste with a delicate sweetness that was pleasing and full of flavour. It was fascinating eating the smoked mozzarella with this. The mozzarella had a bonfire character to it as it had been smoked using beech wood chips. You could really tell the difference between the “meat” style smoke of the beer and the “wood” style smoke of the cheese, which helped to emphasize the characters of both on the palate.
This is one of the milder smoked beers that I have enjoyed, and I think some connoisseurs might think that the smokey notes are a bit too low for their liking. Even if this is a bit lighter than the traditional Bamberg style smoked beers, I thought this was lovely and very good value for a 44cl can. This beer would be the perfect pairing with a burger or smoked BBQ ribs to really accentuate all the flavours. Just simply a great beer!