Traditionally the Yule log was burned through the Christmas season. It seems only fitting that we end with this holiday tradition. On the last day of Christmas the Yule log would be completely burnt and this season would come to an end. To mark this occasion we finish with a distinctly unique style of beer. The Rauchbier or smoked beer is definitely an acquired taste. For those that enjoy smoky foods this will go well. Our Rauchbier is Rauch from Fukizahura Heights Beer. Started in 1997 The Fukizakura Heights Beer Company produces award winning beers at the foot of Mt. Fuji. They focus on the German Brewing traditions of malt smoked with beech chips.
Rauchbier 50º – 55º F (10º – 13º C)
A distinct but not overbearing smoke aroma to the pour. Off white creamy head that persists a good while. Deep amber color that is slightly opaque. Smokiness lingers on the aroma. Slight malt sweetness and no hop aroma on the nose. Malt sweetness on the tip of the tongue hop bitterness through the nose when swallowed and a lingering smokiness to the finish. Well attenuated that has a light mouthfeel. The smoke aroma travels back through your nostrils after each swallow. This is good but the smokiness would only want me to enjoy one of these before moving on to another style. Still a very well made beer. Just if I had more than one I feel that I would have the same sensation after sitting by a fire all night long. Enjoying this beer definitely conjures up thoughts and senses of being around a fire. The smoke swirling and somehow always finding you wherever you sit.
Because most of our food is prepared with fire and heat the smoking sense is able to pair with many if not most foods. I have two suggestions to pair and tie to the final day of Christmas. The first is the s’more. With the waning embers from the Yule log the smoke from the beer will compliment the roasted marshmallows and be balanced by the melting chocolate. The chocolate and marshmallow sweetness will quickly tamp down and whipped the pallet of the smokiness in this beer. Once the pallet is cleaned the follow on sips can draw out the malt sweetness for the beer. The gram cracker flavors will balance with the malty flavors in the backbone of the beer. The second option would be the King Cake. While 6 January marks the end of the twelve days of Christmas it also marks the beginning of the Carnival season. Especially in Louisiana this marks the beginning of Mardi Gras. This cinnamon pastry that is covered in sugar color and a baby token is hidden in the ring cake. This token marks who will host the next Mardi Gras party. So as we wrap up this beer tasting and pairing we move into a carnival time where there are more options for reveling and good beer pairing.