Aecht Schlenkerla Fastenbier
Where It Will Be Spotted: Rustico, 825 Slaters Lane, Alexandria.
Barbecue Beer? Beer nerds who recognize Schlenkerla’s medieval typeface already know where this is going: the Bamberg brewery is the standard-bearer in rauchbier, or “smoke beer.” Today’s beer malt is toasted in modern, industrial ovens, but Schlenkerla uses the classic method of kiln-firing it over a direct flame, resulting in an intensely smoky flavor. Schlenkerla produces this sustenant treat just once a year for Lent—like doppelbocks, it’s meant to be a sort of “liquid bread” that you can consume while maintaining the fast. Stateside, precious few shops get a keg of their own.
40 days and 40 pints: I couldn’t try this beer before my deadline. Rustico will tap its keg on March 18; beer director Greg Engert says it’s more nuanced than generally muscular rauchbiers, with “a fine dovetailing of smoke, malt and hops.” It’s lightened considerably by the addition of pilsner malt, so Engert says it’s akin to a “well-herbed sausage.” I can vouch that drinking Schlenkerla’s smoked Märzen is like getting your nose broken by a salami.
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