Subscribe on iTunes

On Smoked Beer

  • Guest :Sam Cruz of Against the Grain
  • Duration :20 min
Download this episode

By Sarah Freeman, May 25, 2017

Where there’s smoke there’s fire. If you’re lucky, there’s also BBQ, maybe some s’mores. But are you really expecting to find smoke in your beer?

Smoked beer is not so much a style but a seldom-used technique. Popular in the 18th century, a time before the Industrial Revolution, wood-cured malts were the grain of choice. Smoke was not so much a desired characteristic in beers brewed from these malts, but rather a consequence of wood fire being the only way to dry grains.

Rauchbier is a style that came out of this time and has also survived the test of time. Although it has taken its fair share of scrutiny: It’s too overpowering, it’s not drinkable, and the ever-so-popular claim that it taste like meat. Correctly smoked beers offer a subtle smoke flavor and hint of dryness that allows other flavors to shine, though. 

Against the Grain Brewery in Louisville Kentucky has staked its claim on perfecting the art of smoked beer. From stouts to sours, an in-house smoker has allowed them push the boundaries of this technique. Co-owner Sam Cruz joins us today to shine light on the misunderstood style.


Thanks to Remo Remoquillo for the header illustration.

ZX Ventures, a division within AB InBev, is an investor in October
Related Articles

Winemaker Krista Scruggs to the Beer World: “Are You OK?!”

Krista Scruggs is considered one of the most exciting winemakers in the country and now she's set her sights on a new beverage: beer.

Denver Is Using One Brewery’s Carbon Dioxide to Grow Weed

New technology allows Denver Beer Co.’s CO2 to be fed to local cannabis plants.

Where There's Smoke, There Might be Beer

Learn about smoked beers from Against the Grain, Cruz Blanca, and Schlafly – they're worth a(nother) try.