Every once in a while I’ll grab a beer off the shelf solely due to the fact that I haven’t had the style in a while (or at all). This one caught my eye because the style was kinda “out there” and boy am I glad that it did.
The third of the My Turn Series, Luther made a Helles Rauchbier, which means this one is a little smoky. And we’re talking smooth, mildly sweet smokiness with prevalent malt flavor and low bitterness. It all comes from the Pilsner, Vienna, and beechwood smoked malts, making it reminiscent of the beer of Bamberg, Germany. Look for golden coloring and malty, smoky aroma to complete the theme. Mmm…toasty!
I cracked open this beer the day after a hard night of drinking, hair of the dog and all that. It poured into my mug with a clear golden-yellow body. Streams of bubbles race for the surface, where a bubbly white mesh sits waiting for it. Even after the head fades into a film the bubbles continued to flow.
The nose starts with that familiar hard water scent I associate with pilsners and lagers. Sweet notes of clove offset smoke and honey-glazed ham aromas that hide better than you would think.
Rauchbiers are a very “dividing” style of beer. Their flavors are oft overpowering and several beer drinkers I know avoid them for this very reason. This is why I was surprised that the first thing I detected when sipping this beer was a sweetened biscuit flavor (maybe one with a touch of honey on it). Glazed bacon/ham notes showed up next and made me feel like I was eating dinner in the country. It finishes with a lager-like crispness, a dash of wheat, and a touch of smoke. As the beer warms these flavors become more pronounced and increase the drinking experience (which leads me to believe I was originally drinking this one a bit too cold). I like I said at the beginning of this paragraph, it’s easy for a rauchbier to go overboard with the smokiness, thankfully that is not at all the case here.
Mouthfeel is light and smooth. The carbonation is quite noticeable and leads to a quick absorption of the liquid. Mild drying occurs when all is said and done.
I was impressed with this beer. The smokiness adds a dimension to this beer that is quite enjoyable. The, for lack of a better term, “blandness” that is often associated with lagers is enhanced by the smokey-meat flavors the rauchbier side brings to the party. And vice versa, the lager crispness cuts into the smokiness that often turns people off of rauchbiers. My Turn: Luther ended up being a wonderful choice for a warm Sunday, as I sat in my backyard with a slight breeze shaking the trees. I was quite taken with this beer and hope to find more breweries melding these two styles together.
Overall: 8 out of 10
As a RAUCHBIER: 8.5 out of 10
FOR FANS OF: Fort Collins Z LAGER, Iron Hill RAUCHBIER, Brauerei Spezial SPEZIAL RAUCHBIER LAGER,