A sessionable smoked beer... seriously
A Review of Fireside Ale by Weyerbacher
Posted on 11/1/2012 by Chops
                   
Delicious
Smoked beers can be really difficult for craft beer novices to wrap their taste buds around. There's a reason why these brews are often called ''bacon beers''. Some of them actually taste like a glass full of liquified bacon. Others taste like beef jerky or barbeque. Needless to say, flavors can vary wildly. So when getting your feet wet with the smoked beer style, it helps to start with a reputable brewery. One of my favorites is the Fireside Ale from Weyerbacher. This savory seasonal treat hits the shelves in January and is the perfect fireplace companion on a cold winter's night.

In the glass, this beer has a rich brown color with a fiery red hue. It comes with a spongy tan head that has nice retention. On the nose, I was immediately greeted with that signature smoked malt aroma. This one is very woody and sweet, which reminded me of burnt molasses. The sweet notes take on a fruity vibe that is similar to baked apples. It's a mouth watering intro that has you really eager to dive right in.

The mouthfeel is what immediately caught my attention on the first sip. It's creamy smooth with a solid medium body. Many smoked beers are harsh and gritty, but not this one. Fireside drinks as easily as a savory malty brown ale. It's strangely clean with a very well hidden alcohol presence. The hop profile is almost non-existent, so don't even bother looking for one (not uncommon for the style). The core flavors are very bold and complex, but without being distracting. The smokey malt reigns supreme, but I also found some roasted nuts, sweet caramel, a dash of spices, hints of chocolate, and some dark fruits like figs. The finish is quite clean and exits with a smokey malty aftertaste.

Overall, Weyerbacher's Fireside Ale is a delicious brew with a savory complexity. I really enjoyed this beer and can recommend it to all beer fans. Seasoned drinkers can enjoy this tasty brew as perhaps the only sessionable smoked beer on the market. Novices can enjoy this brew as a fantastic intro into the smoked beer style without being overwhelmed by richness. Few breweries possess the skills required to infused accessibility into a complex beer style. Weyerbacher is one such brewery and they knocked this brew out of the ballpark. I already look forward the winter months, and Fireside Ale has become the icing on the cake.

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Fireside Ale by Weyerbacher
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