[two]Smoking food originated as a method of preservation. Smoking beer however is something quite different; before the 18th century when Kiln roasted malt became common, brewers dried malt over an open flame, imparting intense smoky characters to the beer. The Australian Brewery have picked up this old German tradition and have made a beer that has a rich and intense smokiness.[/two]
The aromas are dominated by wood-fire smoke with hints of grapefruit and lemon. The colour of this beer is deep copper and pours with a small head that quickly disappears.
Smoking food or, in this case beer, typically weakens the underlying flavours. For this reason, food that is smoked must have naturally strong flavours that don’t dissapear after smoking. A good example is smoked cheddar cheese. Cheddar possesses powerful flavour for a cheese and for this reason tastes brilliant when smoked as the flavour remains.
An IPA was a good choice for smoking as it traditionally is very full flavoured due to the level of hops and alcohol content. The AB Smoked IPA has a surprisingly light bitterness for an IPA and the smokiness embedded in the beer weakens the power of the hops. This seems to actually make the beer well-balanced and very enjoyable. The flavours are typical for an IPA – fruit driven with nice spice. As you drink more of this beer, the smoke flavours will decrease.
Overall, this beer is a unique drinking experience and certainly recommended. This is a seasonal beer, so check out Hart’s pub over the next month or so before it runs out.