I'm a fan of smoky beverages. Be it tea, beer or whisky, the peaty and smoky aroma and flavors always delight. If there's an accompanying peat fire on a cool evening it's an added pleasure. I recently sat down to enjoy a bottle of Aecht Schlenkerla Urbock. The flavor of this and other Rauchbiers seems to be one that folks either love or hate, and I fall among the former.
This beer pours a deep, dark brown with a thin beige head. The peat and smoky aroma with sweet with hints of vanilla and molasses is immediately noticeable. The sensory treat continues in the flavor with peat, brown sugar, and molasses smokiness. The smoke flavor lingers just a short time, along with a bitter, dark beer finish.
I've been enjoying the occasional drink of Lagavulin Distiller's Edition (2013) Scotch recently. This single malt whisky is known for it's rich peat flavors. I think this was confusing my senses as I drank the Schlenkerla Urbock. I deeply took in the aroma as the glass of beer approached my lips, and without fail, my mind expected the warmth of a whisky. I was holding a cool glass of dark beer and yet my mouth kept expecting a different drink. It was quite the sensory misdirection.
There was no accompanying peat fire, but it was still an enjoyable drink, even if my senses were a bit confused.