Schlenkerla Smokebeer is not just some mammy pansy “smoke” beer in name, it truly smells of campfires and liquid smoke – a curious and sublime way to begin a mug of dark, strong beer. According to the website the interesting (and admittedly acquired taste) is made thusly:
Its smoky flavor is being achieved by exposing the malt to the intense, aromatic smoke of burning beech-wood logs at the Schlenkerla-maltings. After mixing it with premium-class hops in the brew, it matures in 700 year old cellars, deep down in the hills of Bamberg, into a mellow, magnificent-tasting beer, best drunk directly in “Schlenkerla”.
The Schlenkerla they speak of is the original ale house in Bamberg where the beer is brewed – the brewery has been around, under different ownership (of course) since the 14th century! Visitors (which I hope to be one of some day) can still stop by, and who wouldn’t want to after reading the site’s inviting description:
There is far more to Schlenkerla than delicious food and drink. If you would rather drink you beer by yourself, be forewarned: it is almost impossible to avoid relaxed, cheerful conversations at the wooden tables. In everyday life the ordinary Franconian acts somewhat reserved when dealing with strangers, but that characteristic is left outside when entering the Smokebeer paradise.
And that is a tradition. For centuries the tasty, dark brown brew has made our guests happy and loosened their tongues. As in the past, when high clerics sat at the same table with farmers, today the musician from the Bamberg Symphonic Orchestra drinks his beer next to the factory worker. Original Schlenkerla Smokebeer levels the differences between classes. It brings together the stranger with the local.