3 Smoky Beers to Try Right Now

Trending now: smokey notes in your pint glass

April 20, 2015

There’s a lot of things we prefer to be smoke-free—airplanes, restaurants, boyfriends—but right now, beer isn’t one of them. Where brewers were once engaged in an intense hops arms race, they’re now competing to push the limits of smokiness (traditionally a flavour associated with German beers), crafting exciting new options with smoked malted barley. Taste the trend with any of our three favourite bottles below, all ideal for fans of peated whiskeys and campfires (and, yes, beer).

Russell Specialty Series Smokey the Beer Rauchbier ($7.10)

Available at specialty liquor stores

The Bamber-style beer is brewed with Beechwood-smoked malt; the result is a pint with complex smokiness, but a smooth, crisp finish. (But we’ll admit it—we tried this one for the name alone.)
russellbeer.com

Steel & Oak & Four Winds Smoke & Sour Gratzer ($4.70)

Available at specialty liquor stores
A collaboration of two great BC brewers, and possibly the most ampersands ever crammed into one sentence, the Smoke & Sour Gratzer pairs smoked flavour with a crisp wheat beer. Not too sour, not too smokey—somewhere delightfully inbetween.

fourwindsbrewing.ca

steelandoak.ca

Coal Harbour Brewing Company Smoke and Mirrors Imperial Smoked Ale ($10.50)

Available at specialty liquor stores

It’s a strong one, clocking in at 8.5% alcohol, so take it slow. There’s no better beer to savour though: the thick, malty ale just won a gold medal at the BC Brewing Awards.
coalharbourbrewing.com

 

Food Pairing For Smokey Beers

Savoury beers can be a little surprising to the palette at first, but pair these bad boys right and you’ll enhance both your brew and your meal.

Meat This one’s pretty obvious. Upgrade a grilled steak with a glass of Rauchbier on the side.

Cheese Listen, we know we recommend cheese to go with everything, but trust on this one. Just make sure to choose a strong cheese, or it may be overwhelmed by the strong beer flavour.

Caramel and chocolate Think toffee pudding or maple frosted doughnuts. Basically, use bacon (everyone’s favourite surprise dessert ingredient) as a barometer for success—if bacon would work in a pairing, so will smokey beer.

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