Today we have another rauchbier from Germany that I purchased on a recent trip to Chicago: Roog
, by BraufactuM. Roog is a rauch weizen while Braufactum, whose motto is "Das Craft Bier", seems to be a subsidiary of Radeberger which is the largest brewing company in Germany as of whenever the websites I found saying as much were published. That makes BraufactuM the Teutonic equivalent of Blue Moon or Shock Top, I suppose. The off-shoot seems to have come into existence back in 2010 with their biers making it to these shores three years later.
I admit to knowing little to nothing about the German brewing industry. However, this doesn't stop me from speculating. American craft brewing seems to have made its mark (ahem) in Germany. This combined with declining bier consumption must be making the big German brewers a bit nervous. Not only has Radeberger created a microbrewing subsidiary, but so has another large German brewing concern, Bitburger. Their subsidiary Craftwerk
, goes beyond the pale (lager) and into American territory with hoppy pale ales as does BraufactuM. And no, I don't know why the terminal "m" is capitalized.
My mostly baseless speculation aside, I am happy to support some German brewers if they're going to leave me with more rauchbiers at my disposal.
Roog (no idea what that means) pours a lovely deep mahogany. Holding my glass to the light, the bier appeared to have the characteristic weissbier cloudiness. A crown of about a ¼ inch of tan frothiness topped my bier. It lasted about a minute before disappearing.
This bier had one of the best aromas I've ever encountered in a brew: it smelled just like banana bread. Well, smoky banana bread. Mind you, that bacony smokiness was very mild here in the aroma. Mostly it was mouth-watering banana bread. As someone who is more enamored of banana flavors in weissbier than of clove-like ones, I took this to be a good portent.
While the bier didn't taste like banana bread, it did have that banana phenol flavor. Joining the yeasty contribution were a moderate smokiness, some wheat/grain, and some unexpected sweetness. The bier is brewed with caramel malt and caramel wheat which surely explains the latter. There is also dark wheat in the grain bill and it blended with the smoky flavor well. Smoke flavor in beer is rather divisive. People tend to either enjoy it or loathe it. I am of the former but must say that the rauch here has been tempered. This is nowhere near as rauchy as Schlenkerla's Weizen. Folks in that small group who are in the middle about rauchbiers will likely find a friend in Roog.
The smoke and banana flavors faded at the finish which allowed the hops to come through. They had a herbal/grassy flavor which wasn't overly bitter yet, in concert with carbonation, they made for a fairly dry ending.
In a word: ausgezeichnet! Roog has a medium-light body (yet weighs in at 6.6% A.B.V.) that handles the myriad of flavors here very well. I loved how the smoke and banana flavors, present in roughly equal measures, did this graceful pas de deux
on my tongue. They just mixed perfectly. One may take the lead but then it would hang back and let its partner do so. In addition, there was just enough sweetness to enhance to the yeast flavors while dark wheat complemented the smoke flavor with hints of coffee. Sheer gustatory joy.
Junk food pairing: Pair Roog with Snyder's Bacon Cheddar Pretzel Pieces to accentuate the smoky aspects of this bier. You can also can stuff some dark chocolate covered pretzels in your maw to complement the banana flavor. Alternate them or, if you're brave, eat both at once and see what happens.
Labels: Beer Camp, BraufactuM, Hefeweizen, Rauchbier, Weissbier