Germany has a terrific beer culture, characterised by the seemingly endless numbers of small local breweries, satisfying the thirst of beer drinkers in the local village and not much further. Tasty hefeweizens, malty dopplebocks and clean crisp lagers are in abundance.
But thanks to the Reinheitsgebot, there isn’t as much diversity in German beers as there is in other beer-loving nations. And that is one of the reasons we so love the beers of Ganstaller. They comply with the German Purity Law, but are certainly not the run-of-the-mill styles.
So to the Rauch Royal. The name hints at the fact it uses smoked malts, and I guess royal just implies its pretty good. It is probably the most interesting beer we’ve had to date from Ganstaller – a smoked Imperial India Pale Lager.
There is a bit to get your head around with that, but just sip and enjoy it for what it is. The smokiness is there, but certainly not in a confronting way. There is a big malt body carrying all the flavours, there is a nice fruity sweetness with almost a hint of honey. Then the beer dries out with a firm bitterness thanks to the dry-hopping.
To fit all the above in one beer, and manage to keep everything in balance is a pretty neat trick.