Look, if we’re going to have made up beer days like National IPA Day, it may as well be to celebrate some of the lesser known and underappreciated styles.
Enter Jenny Pfafflin at Chicago’s Dovetail Brewery, who’s created National Rauchbier Month. “Anything with smoked malt is fair game,” she says.
That’s right, it’s Smoketober and we’re here to highlight some of the locals.
Both Denizens and Port City have seasonal rauchbiers available. Denizens’ Rauchbier is part of their Hike the Alps series of traditional German-style beers, and is available at both locations as well as in bottles in the area. “Brewed with European smoked malted barley and a unique lager strain. This red colored lager has a bready malt sweetness balanced by the flavor and aroma of wood-fire smoke inspired by the historic brewery in the center of Bamberg,” per their website, 5.1% alcohol by volume. Brandy and Richard both went back for seconds when they recorded The DC Beer Show live from Denizens’ Silver Spring location a few weeks back.
Port City’s Rauch Marzen (5.5%) is a fall seasonal in their rotating lager series, available on tap and in 4-packs of 16 oz cans. “Rauch Märzen is a traditional Bamberg-style smoked Märzen lager brewed with all Bavarian malt and hops. Brilliant copper in color, this beer showcases toasty German malt character, including traditional beechwood-smoked malts that impart an appetizing, savory smokiness.”
On the smaller side, check out Settle Down Easy in Falls Church. They’ve got a wild one, All Weiner, No Schniztel, which is a Vienna lager brewed with a portion of smoked malt and… pretzels, because why not.
Pic via Gene, all other pics via the respective breweries.
Available both at the brewery at in distribution, Elder Pine’s Gjaerkauk also bucks the Bamberg tradition, instead looking north for inspiration. It’s billed as a “Norwegian-inspired Smoke Farmhouse Ale.” 5.7%, and yeah, you can buy singles of it at Craft Beer Cellar on H Street NE, and possibly at Gaithersburg’s Downtown Crown Wine and Beer, too.
Also in northern Montgomery County, but draft-only, Landmade has a smoked beer available. “Trixie is a Grodziskie (Grodge – itz – key), which is a Polish smoked lager sometimes referred to as the ‘Champagne of Poland.’ Brewed with 100% pecan-smoked Wheat with high-carbonation and an assertive yet balanced flash of bitterness derived from the Czech hop varietal Kazbek.”
In addition to the locals, Neighborhood Restaurant Group beer bars and better beer stores in the area should have the classic Schlenkerla lagers available. If you’re new to rauchbier, we suggest starting with their Helles and moving up to some of their stronger, darker, and smokier offerings. Happy National Rauchbier Month to all who celebrate, and remember, we’ve done this before and we’ll do it again!