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.