I will be profiling a quality craft brew each week prior to the game, one that fits with the theme for the week, because beer and game day are highly complementary. Please don't ‘rec' this post, as I would like them to roll off the front page each week.
My criteria for this list are:
A) use a combination of foreign and domestic beers that are generally available this time of year
2) only high quality beer
D) beers from a variety of U.S. regions for domestics
Θ) present a variety of styles, with attention to the season, and do both classic styles and offbeat beers
Germanium) in general, bigger beers for bigger games
Once again, let's do this thing...
November 8 - Virginia Tech 7:30 p.m. -
Looking back, some weeks I've focused on a particular beer style, and other weeks on a brewery. This week I want to do both. Smoked beer is the style, since we're going to smoke VT at home in Blacksburg. Not much goes better with a nice fat turkey leg than a smoked beer. With the weather moving into full on fall around the country, I think a smoked beer is seasonally appropriate as well.
Rogue is a great craft brewing company out of Oregon with a very solid lineup of brews and a dedication to unique, well balanced beers. They almost always take home some hardware at GABF and have a wide distribution in the U.S. I consider them the northwest version of Southern Tier, who I profiled earlier this year. Many of their big bottle beers are great, but I shy away from the 12 ounce offerings. Check out the beer section on their website, where they give a nice breakdown of what the information listed on the bottle means. I have not had this particular beer yet... it checks in at $13 a bottle so I am not going to open one ahead of time for the preview this week. Instead, I'm going to focus on a review of the style rather than the specific brew. The VooDoo Doughnut is a beer dedicated to a unique doughnut shop in Portland, and is a limited run beer. If you can find one, feel free to join me and post your review below.
The game day brew:
Here's a little information on smoked beers. Most smoked beers are not considered a classic style, necessarily, and are extensions of other styles. Brewers incorporate smoked malts in order to complement the other flavors in the beer with a smoky taste and aroma. To get smoke flavor, malts are smoked before being introduced in the mashing process, and may vary by the type of malt selected for smoking and the type of wood used to smoke the malt. While there are several standard types of smoked malts used for classic smoked beers (cherrywood), the relative ease to produce smoked malts give a lot of options to creative craft brewers (applewood smoked caramel malt, maybe?). In some cases, very little smoked malt is used in a beer; in other cases, a much larger amount, depending on how much of the smoke flavor is desired in the end product and how the brewer wants to balance flavors versus the base beer. These malts are popular in Ambers, Porters, Stouts, and some classic German styles (Marzen, for example) because the smoke goes well with the toast, roast, and caramel flavors in the base beers.
Alternate Brews - If you want to go Rogue, I can vouch for the Hazelnut Brown, the Mocha Porter, the Oatmeal Stout, and the Chocolate Stout. The Juniper Pale Ale and Chipotle are relatively recent offerings which are both tasty and interesting, though not quite in the same class as these others, in my opinion. If you want a different smoked beer, try the Stone Smoked Porter, which is pretty amazing, perhaps a German Rauchbier, or see what your local supply store has.
What I'll (probably) Be Drinking Thursday night - The Maple Bacon Ale and maybe a homebrew. And of course, I'll have a list of brews for the weekend. More on that later.
What about you? What are your thoughts on Smoked Beer and what is your favorite? What will you drink this week?
Previously reviewed brews: