Brauerei Heller-Trum/Schlenkerla “Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Marzen” – Märzen style Rauchbier – ABV: 5.4% – IBU: minimal
Where there is smoke, there is fire… or awesome fucking beer (or sometimes both if you party too hard with hallucinogenic drugs, strippers, marionettes, and chimpanzees in a heavily draped condominium). When I reviewed the Oskar Blues/Ska Brewing “OSKar The G’Rauch” in February I elaborated a little as to how rauchbier style beers are made, after wagging a disciplinary finger at that particular beer for not being a true rauchbier (at least it sure didn’t taste like one). And I pledged to review a true rauchbier for you beer guzzling lushes at some point. So, here is my first one for BaDoink, and a shit-eating grin has plastered my face after drinking the Aecht Schlenkerla Marzen just for YOU.
Brauerei Heller-Trum/Schlenkerla “Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier. Say that out loud and you will sound like an angry villain in an Indiana Jones film. For simplicity purposes I shall refer to this beer going forward in this review as “ASM”. In other words I am too lazy to type this lengthy, harsh, phonetically intimidating German shit over and over again (and before you call me a bigoted American just know German is my favorite language, so juggle my yarbles and fuck off).
ASM is a Märzen style beer, but it is more aptly categorized as a rauchbier. “Rauch” is German for “smoke”. “Bier” is German for “beer”. It’s that simple, in a nutshell. But there is more to be found here than smoke, just as there is more to be found in a brothel than breasts, vaginas, and buttocks.
“So, Deltoid, HOW DOES IT TASTE FOR FUCK’S SAKE?!”
Good question! It’s awesome! When poured into a pint glass it is dark chocolate in color with a slight touch of gold and amber. It has a delicate, silky, off-white head that is quite thick but settles down fairly quickly and calmly. Lacing is mild and spotty. The scent of this beer is rather strong and consists of smoke, malt, and a touch of salt and pepper. It has the aroma of a wood burning iron stove. Are you completely turned off yet? If not, good. If so, you’re a fucking novice, and piss off.
The flavor contains the simple Märzen style flavor of roasted nuts, malt, earth tones, maple, and a pinch of plum. But the flavor is draped in a heavy dose of smoke, oak, smoke, tobacco, smoke, peppered salami, smoke, and smoked gouda cheese… as well as smoke. The aftertaste contains a slightly bitter hop flavor (very mild), malt, and yes, SMOKE! The texture of this beer is quite watery with medium carbonation. It is light and very drinkable. If you enjoy this beer as much as I do your glass will be empty before you know it, and you may feel the same disappointment as the girl who took my virginity away, long ago, in my college loft, on that suspenseful, dizzy, nervously nauseous and sweaty awkward evening when I finished before she even started (in my defense I got my zipper almost COMPLETELY down before eruption). The flavor of this beer isn’t as hard hitting as their other smoked beers, but as a Märzen it’s right where it needs to be. Alcohol content is not strong and not noticeable in the slightest, as is the case with most Märzen brews. If you want a good start in the rauchbier style then I recommend this one, or their simple rauchbier lager.
The first time I had a rauchbier I was a bit thrown off balance by its flavor, although I did like it (it was the Aecht Schlenkerla lager, actually). It tasted like bacon. I wasn’t quite prepared for it. Over the years since then I have had many rauchbiers and have grown to love them. If you haven’t had one yet you will probably not want more than one after first exposure, although you’ll likely enjoy it if my description sounds appealing. Most people list this style as a “can’t drink often” style. But not me. I could drink these endlessly. They are amazing by themselves, paired with meat and cheese, and they are especially fantastic when punctuated by a big cigar. Rauchbiers are not easy to find, and from my experience of swiping them off the shelves at liquor stores the Brauerei Heller-Trum/Schlenkerla “Aecht Schlenkerla” rauchbiers are hands down the best of the best.
Put that in your pint glass and smoke it.