Monday, 14 February 2011

Hmmmm, Rauch!

I'm always pleased to come across a new Rauchbier, and what better place to get one than from Bamberg and the surrounding area, this time Merkendorf (no Mr BeerNut, not Merkin Dorf) and Brauerei Hummel. I've had a few of their beers before, and found them a slightly mixed bunch, but generally postive in a decent thirst-quenching way. But could the Hummel Bräu Räucherla Märzen beat the beloved Schlenkerla?

A deep, burnished copper with a little sediment, and a frothy beige head, it certainly looks the part. The aroma delivers healthily decent levels of smoked hamminess, but this time wrapped in a candyfloss sweetness, with undertones of banana and tropical fruits. The flavour has smoked bacon very much to the fore, which is the way I like my Rauchbiers, but it's soft and pillowy, cushioned by a sweet, light caramel. The fruit evident in the aroma flows in at the back, serving to consolidate the sweet smoke flavours rather than distract. It's somehow thin on the body, perhaps light is a better word, when these flavours make you expect a chewy affair, but this does make it very easy to sink. My only complaint is a slightly soapy tang to the finish, which is otherwise pleasantly smoked, lightly greasy and altogether very enjoyable.

14 comments:

The Beer Nut said...

Banana, pineapple, bacon: Chicken Maryland beer! Want.

"Räucherla" sounds like cod-German: what Aldi would call their own-brand rauchbier. Is it just an attempt to sound like "Schlenkerla" or does it actually mean something?

Barry M said...

Chicken Maryland, hmm, didn't think of that :D

The "la", or "le" (depending on the region it seems) is a kind of diminution of a word. Think of Rothaus Tannenzäpfle (little pine cone), or the Fässla (little cask) beers. So, this is a "little smoke" or something, but yeah, perhaps a little made up :D

ZakAvery said...

I doff my merkin to you.

Barry M said...

I'm sure there are laws against that kind of thing...

Chris said...

For all your Merkein needs...
http://merkinworld.com/

Barry M said...

I'm surprised blogspot didn't automatically remove that as dodgy link spam :D

Chris said...

Because the blogspot staff probably shops there for their custom merkin needs...

Bierboutique Ølwechsel said...

To me 'Räucherla' sounds very much like wanting to sound like its famous fellow 'Schlenkerla'.
Not being a 'Franke' I am not sure if 'Räucherla' makes any sense. 'Little smoke' to me does not make too much sense.
Nevertheless I like the beer very much - as I like most of the Rauchbiere - exept the Schlenkerla.
To me the smoke note of Räucherla is considerably more reserved than that of Schlenkerla and I favour it, because it does not taste to much like smoked bacon crisps!

Barry M said...

Thanks for commenting. It's not often I get German readers along :D

Yeah, it could be a nod towards Schlenkerla, but there's so many beers with a "la" at the end of the name in that area, it could be semi-innocent :) I'll be in Bamberg in April, so will do some research!

Elektrowok said...

The -la diminishment - or in some parts -le or even -li - is perfectly normal Franconian, quite equivalent to -lein and -chen in high German, but more often used.
If you want to call someone a Depp (idiot) in a friendly and intimate way, call him a Depperla. Little idiot would be an appropriate translation here, I think.
Little smoke, however, is a weird translation for Räucherla. I'd say this -la is more like thoughtlessly attaching -y to name a pet (like Blacky for a black bunny).

Moritz from Nürnberg

Barry M said...

Would "little smoker" be a better translation, if one assumed they weren't just lashing a la at the end of it to make it cute. I like the "blacky" comparison :D

Elektrowok said...

"Would "little smoker" be a better translation, if one assumed they weren't just lashing a la at the end of it to make it cute."
But that's the point of the -la ending in any case.
Well, yes, the word Räucherla looks like it comes from Raucher rather than Rauch.
But I think it's analogous to Depperla: Depp becomes Depperla not Deppla, because Depperla has a better Rhythm. So has Räucherla compared to Räuchla.
I had never even noticed that we insert this filler syllable to make it sound better... thanks for deepening my understanding of Franconian. :D

Elektrowok said...

I am sipping on their Räucherator Doppelbock and I feel obliged to recommend it.
Great stuff.

Barry Masterson said...

Gah! I thought I might have some of that in a mixed box of bocks I ordered, but sadly, just their regular Bock (and their Weizen Bock, which I look forward to trying). Do have some Fässla Bambergator though. Surprised they didn't call it Bambergatorla! :)