In Bamberg, Germany, brewers use beechwood to smoke Vienna malts for the local specialty: rauchbier, or smoke beer, a Marzen-style amber lager with sweet, smoky tastes and smells. These beers range in smokiness, from uncannily bacony to more delicately nuanced so as to highlight the toasted malt. Hops should work in tandem with the smoke to lend a bitterness, but no hop flavor, to the drink. Because their degrees of smoke differ, drinkability varies; however, all rauchbiers should appear clear with large heads.
Pair: Rauchbiers’ smoke flavors accentuate savory beef flavors and bring out the rich and creamy characters of cheese, so sip one with a grilled ribeye or a creamy gouda. Up for a brave breakfast? Try one with creamy, savory biscuits and gravy.
Glassware: pint glass