Schlenkerla, Meine Liebe!
Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Marzen is my all-time favourite beers. There are better tasting beers, and beers I’ve drank more times, but this Marzen from Bamberg, smoky heaven, is my fave, because of its no-nonsense pungent aroma that overwhelms newcomers and satisfies my cravings for a particular taste that I’ve been happily avoiding in 23 years of vegetarianism.
I first drank it several years ago in Israel. It was distributed here, then distribution stopped. Then another importer started marketing this beer and even brought Schlenkerla wheat beer for a while but then they stopped bringing it as well. Maybe there was no demand for it. I believe there wasn’t. I also believe that Schlenkerla is a classic acquired taste product and that both distributors failed to educate the market. There’s a small but dedicated fan-base for Laphroaig single malt, which is an even more challenging drink than Schlenkerla, so there’s something to work with.
The Secret Agent and I try to drink this brewery’s products whenever possible. Last Saturday Heavy Metal Cousin brought over bottles he bought in Prague. We organized a tasting, took Schlenkerla Eiche – doppelbock – out of the beer fridge – and tasted it, along with a fine collection of Slovanian, French,Scottish, Danish and English beers we’ve accumulated in our travels, and a few more that the other participants added.
There were Beavertown and De Molen and Weyerbacher and Brewdog, but the crown jewel were the three Schlenkerla bottles, especially the Marzen – long time no drink, my love, and you’re as beautiful as I had remembered you. Smoky, meaty, bitter and complex, yet very sensible and drinkable, providing you’re prepared to the unusual taste.
Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Marzen is beer #407 I Must Try Before I Die (and try again and again and again…)