Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Like the Smoke of a Distant Fire:

Keeping with our theme of seasonal beers, I am currently imbibing a beer formerly unknown to me:  Sam Adams Bonfire Rauchbier.

Why Bonfire?

Well, it came in the Harvest pack, which is the usual way of trying odd/rare SA beers.  The name "bonfire" sounds smokey to me, and I like smokey beers (Shiner Black is an outstanding example of an under-appreciated smokey beer).

My Bonfire was poured into a chilled glass having a narrow bottom and wider mouth.  The head was unremarkable; in fact, less than most Sam Adams.  It doesn't smell hoppy (which makes me happy).  Cloudy amber in color, it presents a distinct aroma of subtle spices.  Unfortunately, I'll have to go look up what they are.

I seldom drink beers super cold, so I enjoyed mine with a spicy meal.  That was a mistake, since the Mexican chilies overwhelmed the beer until all I tasted was bitter seltzer water.
I went back to the beer after dinner when it had warmed a bit, and at first taste I sensed a hint of smoke at the back of my tongue, as if catching a hint of distance campfire on an evening breeze - unmistakable, but gone with the next gust of wind.

By Adirondack contemporary artist Michael Ringler
Over at the Sam Adams site, I learn this is the first year for the Bonfire brew.  Apparently the spices I thought I detected are only assorted malt blends. 
Not bad for a new, simple beer.  Not my favorite, but I'd have another pint, only this time, I'll pair it with mild cheeses and a summer sausage.

Cost:  I have no idea because I'm fairly certain it isn't sold by the 6-pack.  Buy the Harvest Collection, and receive two bottles.

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