So...finally have these things going...hopefully I'm using them correctly
Bomber of the Week: Rauchbier by Upstream Brewing Co
December 12, 2014
When selecting bombers to highlight on the blog, I generally try to include items that can be found in the Denver area (some are easier to find than others admittedly). This week will be a bit of an exception to that trend, due in large part to a rare opportunity for me to sample a bomber from the far flung land of Omaha. This might seem a bit curious as Nebraska is known more for football and Saddle Creek (if you don’t know what the latter is you just lost some cool kid points by the way…) than it is for good beer; however I’ve found more than one solid brewery lurking in the land of flat. It was this positive beer history that made the Rauchbier from Upstream a most promising proposition.
This bomber with its simple exterior and hand written label turned out to be a very good choice indeed. The caramel color and minimal head on this beer gave way to a smoked aroma that walked a fine line between being present and overpowering. The smoke is where the “Rauch” in Rauchbier comes from and it applies to not just the smell of smoke from the beer but features quite prominently in the flavors of the beer as well. Upstream has done a fantastic job of letting the smoke play a supporting role to the earthy and sweet tones of the malt in this offering, with the smoke present more in the back of the pallet. It is also surprisingly crisp, without any of the flavors lingering too long as an aftertaste, including the smoke. This is a difficult proposition for this beer type and one that many breweries cannot pull off.
I can say with full honesty that most smoked beers I’ve tried either fall flat or taste like I’m drinking a campfire. In the Rauchbier from Upstream I found a delicate and complex brew that stood out and shows that with the right ingredients dedication and skill even something as abstract as smoke can turn a beer into an entirely different experience. If you happen to be in Omaha (or know someone who can smuggle things across that dangerous Nebraskan border) this brewery, and more specifically this beer, should be something you seek out.
Brew Ratings: (Listed on a scale of 1-5 penguins: 1=lightest 5=strongest. Why penguins? Because 'Merica, that's why)