Beer of the Weekend #634: Mikkeller Rauchpils

The beer tonight is Rauchpils, brewed by Mikkeller, which is headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark (written on the label is “product of Belgium,” so I assume it was brewed somewhere in Belgium).

What is the man on the label doing? I have no clue. It looks like he’s crawling on the ground, stroking a beard or throwing up in a handkerchief.

Serving type: 11.2-ounce bottle. No freshness date. I have seen this beer on local shelves for quite some time so I assume it is over the hill or very close to it.

Appearance: My Schlitz pilsner glass is dirty, so I am using a trusty old pint glass tonight. The color of the beer is cloudy, light amber with an orange hue. An overassertive pour produces two fingers of dense, frothy, eggshell-colored head that has a tint of tan. It dissipates slowly, leaving a lot of lacing stuck to the glass.

Smell: The aroma is a blend of astringent lemon peel (courtesy of the hops, I would guess) and smoked malt. It is a weird yet pleasing combination. Neither are overpowering, and the smoked malt is quite tame compared to what it could be (reminiscent of thick, peppery, smoked bacon).

Taste: Oooo. It is very similar to the aroma, and just as weird and pleasing. The astringent bitterness hangs out in the background, but the smoked malt dominates the foreground. Once again, the smoke is not overpowering and I do not get the impression I am drinking liquefied smoked bacon or ham (I am sure that sounds appealing to some). The smoke fades in prominence a little and more citrus and lemon peel-like sharpness peeks through.

Drinkability: Surprisingly good, especially since I am sure it has been sitting on a shelf for a while. I am not a big fan of the hoppy edge, though that seems to be a hallmark of the Mikkeller beers I have tried. In that sense, I get the feeling they are all variations of their single-hopped beers. Hmm…

Fun facts about Mikkeller Rauchpils:

-Style: Smoked pilsner.

-Price: $4.99/bottle at John’s Grocery in Iowa City. Good lord! Mikkeller beers can be excellent, but I am not sure they are worth five bucks for a 11.2-ounce bottle. Most of the cost, I assume, is based on the trendy Mikkeller name and its (supposedly) lovable Euro-hipster image. I am pretty sure it leaves the same port as Spaten and Heineken, though.

-Alcohol content: 4.6 percent ABV.

The Quiet Man’s grade: B+.

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