A Pint of Knowledge

A Real “Winter Warmer”

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It’s a chilly winter day here in the Northeast… freezing, in fact, quite literally at 32-degrees.  Not exactly a good day for a backyard barbeque.

Ah, but wouldn’t those tangy, smoky flavors warm your insides on such a cold and dreary day?  How about a beer that can capture that in a bottle?  Stone Smoked Porter does just that.  It pours a dark rich opaque chocolate brown, and the roasted, smoky aroma gives a hint of the delicious taste to come.  The flavor is initially sweet and chocolatey followed by a flavorful but not too potent smokiness that reminds me of a cozy fireplace or campfire, and slight hints of alcohol warm the insides.  Some earthy notes of birch and sarsaparilla come through, while the finish is slightly charred, which perfectly complements and completes the smoked flavor.

For a simple meal, I paired this with some barbequed pulled pork from my local Whole Foods Market.  Pretty good in a pinch, though some real ribs or brisket from the smoker would be even better.  I also think this would be an excellent match for a char-grilled steak.

While readers in Tennessee, North Carolina and all across the South have plenty of great barbeque joints to choose from, those like me in Northern New Jersey have a harder time. Luckily, Front Street Smokehouse on the industrial Elizabeth waterfront serves up some excellent authentic Memphis-style barbeque.  We even had the chance to see the smoker in action.  While it’s initially heated with gas, a combination of charcoal and hardwood are used to smoke the ribs, pork and chicken slowly in the rotisserie.  The pulled pork is tender and moist, and the smoked chicken glazed with raspberry jalapeno sauce is probably the best chicken I’ve ever had in a BBQ joint.  Unfortunately, no smoked porter to be found here, and not many craft beers at the bar, but there’s excellent birch beer on tap, and the mouthwatering smoked meat and delicious sides (tasty collards, homemade stuffing and cornbread) are well worth the trip off the beaten path.

Definition: Smoked Porter

This unique hybrid style of beer was invented in 1988 by Alaskan Brewing Company when they approached a local producer of smoked salmon about smoking some malt over alder wood in their smokehouse. While the traditional smoked rauchbier has been brewed for centuries, it was an obscure and little-known style outside its native Germany. Today, thanks to Alaskan Brewing’s experiment, dozens of microbreweries around the U.S. have rediscovered the delicious unique flavor of smoked beers, producing their own renditions of smoked porter and other smoked ales and lagers.

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