Saturday, March 26, 2005

Belated, but Schlenkerla Fastenbier appears on draft at Rich O's.

There's action on the non-Gravity Head front with the tapping today of Schlenkerla Fastenbier (Lenten Beer), a very special treat from the Brauerei Heller Trum in Bamberg, Germany.

In Bamberg, the Fastenbier has been served only from Ash Wednesday through Easter, and only from the Schlenkerla tavern's familiar wooden barrels. However, a small portion of kegged Fastenbier was sent Stateside, and we purchased two 30-liter kegs. The importer, B. United International, was a wee bit tardy getting them out to us, so we'll be selling the beer past Easter ... although it shouldn't be around for long.

While Schlenkerla's flagship Marzen and superb Ur Bock both are made with 100% smoked malt from the brewery's own maltings, Fastenbier is made with 50% smoked malt and 50% pilsner malt. Naturally, this proportion yields a milder smokiness. The beer is reddish amber, and unfiltered, though it was pouring bright today.

The flavor is very fresh. There's more smoke in the nose than on the palate, but it's there, and although I favor the smokier examples, Fastenbier is an ideal introduction to the nuances of smoked lager.

Those close to me know that I can't say enough about Bamberg, and Schlenkerla is my favorite brewery (of ten) in that lovely Franconian city. I've had the incredible good fortune to meet and become friends with Matthias Trum, the sixth in his family to own the brewery and tavern.

Sampling the Fastenbier this afternoon, I could shut my eyes and pretend that Bmaberg, not New Albany, lay outside the doors. All that was needed was Schlenkerla's beer cheese and smoked ham ... which prompts an idea. Perhaps I'll save the second keg until we can round up some German food, and then have an intimate gathering of smoked beer aficionados.

Stay tuned. I'll let you know.


barenada said...

While I'd probably prefer smoked beers, snoked beer sound just intrugiong enough to see if I can wrangle an invitation.

barenada said...

1. Making fun of a typo while making one of your own.

The New Albanian said...

Typo duly repaired ... beer still good.