Follow along with our Beer of the Month selections on our Untappd profile. See past Beer of the Month picks here.
In the increasingly crowded arena of craft beer, sometimes you just need a good angle – in other words, a gimmick. And that’s not a bad thing. A couple of months ago, I wrote about the wonderful gimmick of a golden stout. But sometimes, I’ll see a beer gimmick and think, Really? Man, that is just reaching. It can’t possibly be good. And I’ll admit that when I first heard about Lebanon brewery Snitz Creek’s partnership with Seltzer’s Smokehouse Meats to make a Lebanon bologna beer, that’s exactly what I thought.
Guess what, though? I was totally wrong. Smokehaus #7 is very good, indeed. Let’s get one thing straight, though – there isn’t actually any Lebanon bologna in the beer. (Which makes sense; I’m not even sure how that would work.) This is a rauchbier – a classic German smoked beer style. The flavor is created by smoking a portion of the grains in the Seltzer’s smokehouse in Palmyra, right under the Lebanon bologna. And yes, some bologna drippings inevitably drop onto the grain sacks. When those smoked grains are used in the beer, they convey a great woody, smoky flavor with just a hint of Lebanon bologna (although honestly, the bologna taste is so faint that I might’ve been imagining it).
Bottom line, regardless of how much or how little bologna you actually taste in this beer, it’s a really solid rauchbier. (If you want more bologna taste, just garnish your glass with a slice of Lebanon or ring bologna. Seriously – try it.) Smokehaus #7 is generating a lot of buzz around Central PA – I’ve seen it on tap at several places, and if my Untappd feed is anything to go by, lots of other area beer fans are as impressed with it as I am. And rightly so – it strikes exactly the right balance between hops, malt and smoke. It’s largely true to its German roots, but with its own uniquely local twist. In other words, perfectly Pennsylvania Dutch – which is just the angle they were shooting for.
Are you a rauchbier kinda guy/gal? Tell us ’bout it below.