Admittedly we are suckers for a well thought out ‘smoke’ beer. From the regions of Germany we have enjoyed such brewery beers as Aecht Schlenkerla Marzen, Aecht Schlenkerla Urbock, or Aecht Schlenkerla Weizen. Closer to home it’s beers like Rogue Chipotle, or Chuckanut Rauch Bier that come to mind.
But there is one beer that for those in the Northwest (let alone the West Coast) that we feel defines the American-style smoked ‘ale’.
The 23rd vintage of Alaskan Brewing Co’s original winter seasonal,Alaskan Smoked Porter, officially releases this week on draft and in 22 oz bottles throughout the 12 states where Alaskan beer is sold.
The first release of this now vintage-dated beer was in 1988 as “Alaskan Seasonal” - a hearty winter seasonal brewed as a nod to the malting and brewing practices of the turn-of-the-century brewers in Alaska who had to malt their own barley using local alder wood for direct-fired heat. The name officially changed to Alaskan Smoked Porter a couple of years later,but the Alaskan Brew Crew still employs the same smokehouse used for the first batch 23 years ago. And since the 2010 vintage just picked up its 20th medal at the Great American Beer Festival last month - more than any other craft beer at the 30 year event - Alaskan isn’t likely to change the recipe or get a new smokehouse anytime soon.
“Alder adds a traditional smoke character to our Porter that is true to the Alaskan landscape. Due to natural flavor changes in the wood and malt each year, no two vintages will age in exactly the same way,” says Alaskan Brewing Plant Manager and 20-year employee Curtis Holmes, “That’s what makes each year’s release exciting for us.”
The dark, robust body and pronounced smoky flavor of this limited edition beer make it an unforgettable taste experience that can be enjoyed fresh, or aged for many years to come. The 2011 vintage of Alaskan Smoked Porter releases this month, just in time to toast its recent win and to celebrate the holidays with a bottled taste of Alaska. To find some of Alaskan’s favorite holiday food and beer recipes featuring Alaskan Smoked Porter, visit their online collection of Cooking with Beer recipes.
It goes without saying that you should expect this beer featured on draft or on shelves at your local pub, bottleshop, or grocer.
About Alaskan Brewing Co.
Alaskan Brewing Co. has been making award-winning beer in Juneau, Alaska, since 1986. The Alaskan Brew Crew bottles the unique character of the Last Frontier with historic recipes, local ingredients and glacier-fed water. Alaskan Brewing handcrafts Amber, Pale, White, IPA, Stout, Smoked Porter, Winter Ale, Summer Ale and a variety of limited edition beers in the Alaskan Pilot Series. Visit www.alaskanbeer.com.