Saturday, December 02, 2006

NABC’s Bonfire of the Valkyries: Magic fire mood music for Saturnalia.

To know the Curmudgeon well is to understand that ounce for ounce, he craves smoked beer as much or more than any other beer style on the planet.

Consequently, those knowing readers who aren’t enthusiasts of the smoked beer genre often express wary trepidation with the prospect of visiting Bamberg, as they’ve been bombarded for so long with merry tales of the city – most of which begin and end at the fabled Schlenkerla tavern – that they’ve come to imagine every beer brewed there as being the beech-smoked variety.

Rest assured, it isn’t the case, although if it were up to me …

Of course, there are always ample supplies of Schlenkerla and Spezial for Daddy, and to suit the tastes of almost anyone except the chronically Lite-addled, also plenty of other classic German beer styles from Bamberg and the heavily breweried adjacent areas.

(These days, even the Liteweights can find some manner of tragically misdirected diet beer to suckle, thus facilitating their decision to miss the entire point of both brewing and traveling. But that’s another essay.)

Among the non-smoked choices are a scattering of Schwarzbiers – literally, black lagers. They’re regarded as variants of the Munich Dunkel (i.e., “dark”) brownish lagers, and are black-colored, with coffeeish overtones but not burnt flavors. Naturally, German “Noble” hops are used, and help to dry the finish. If you can imagine a style falling between a mildly hopped “black” Pilsner and a Porter brewed cleanly with lager yeast, you’re somewhere in the vicinity.

Schwarzbier isn’t smoked … until now. When I seize control during the coup d’Curmudgeon, they’ll all be.

Some time back, NABC’s brew crew of Jesse Williamson and Jared Williamson profited from Reese’s venerable lesson about chocolate accidentally meeting peanut butter. They formulated Bonfire of the Valkyries, a uniquely black smoked lager. Here are the specs.

OG: 1070
Malts: Weyermann smoked 2-row, black, special B, aromatic
Hops: SaazYeast: San Francisco/”California Common” (fermented cool, as a lager)

Taste tests are being regularly conducted, and BotV will be tapped on Friday, December 15, for the commencement of Saturnalia MMVI. Anyone want to bring some smoked ham and radishes?

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