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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Primitive Indiana

Well, some of you might have noticed that we failed to post a blog (or blog a post -- however you say that).

No excuses. Okay, maybe one: Several inches of ICE and snow blanketed the region yesterday knocking out power to hundreds of thousands of people -- including the Knights of Greenbriar.

Faced with no power, thus no heat, we made the most of the situation by building a fire in the fireplace and breaking out a primitive "corn boiler" to make coffee and boil water for hot chocolate and tea.

It was also the perfect time to break in my new Dutch oven (which was a goal of mine). Over the course of the day I baked cornbread, then beans and meat balls, then a peach cobbler. Primitive, but hot food that nourishes the body and soul.

After dark, I opened a bottle of beer that I've had tucked away for a special "round the campfire" occasion. I figured a house with no heat and an outside temp dropping to 14 degrees was special enough: Original Schlenkerla Smokebeer, Bamberg's Specialty.

Here's some information on this unique, smoky beer from Germany:

Bamberg and Smokebeer (the Germans call it "Rauchbier") belong together, a liaison which was not without consequences. The greatest of which is the Schlenkerla: the most productive, most visited and most traditional Smokebeer source in Bamberg. It originates in the middle of the old town, directly underneath the mighty cathedral, from a half-timbered house on which the geraniums effusively glow in the summer. Anyone who did not come here and try the strong, unmistakable taste of Original Schlenkerla Smokebeer (in German: Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier) cannot claim to have been to Bamberg.

Schlenkerla has become a magic word for a long time, but many do not know where this word originated. Its roots lie within the Frankish vernacular, in which "schlenkern" is an expression for walking not straight - just like a drunken person does. Allegedly one of the former brewers had a funny way of walking due to an accident, or maybe due to the beer, and so he was called the "Schlenkerla" - the little dangler. The ending -la is the typical diminutive for the Frankish dialect. After a while, the residents of Bamberg also called the tavern Schlenkerla, and even though the sixth generation of brewers now taps the beer, the name has remained. Even in the phone book and the internet you can find the brewery under the name Schlenkerla. Today it stands for the tavern, the brewery and, most importantly, for the Smokebeer.

Smokebeer from Schlenkerla is a dark, aromatic, bottom fermented beer with 13.5 percent original extract, which is equivalent to an alcohol content of 5.1 percent. No doubt: there are stronger beers, but nevertheless, one should not underestimate

... it can make you "schlenker" quite a bit. Its smoky flavor is being achieved by exposing the malt to the intense, aromatic smoke of burning beech-wood logs at the Schlenkerla-maltings. After mixing it with premium-class hops in the brew, it matures in 700 year old cellars, deep down in the hills of Bamberg, into a mellow, magnificent-tasting beer, best drunk directly in "Schlenkerla". An Original amongst the beers, even amongst the Bavarian beers. You can drink it in the "Alte Lokal" at white-scrubbed wooden tables - covering them with a tablecloth would be a sin - underneath an old timbered ceiling, even darker than the beer. You can drink it in the "Klause", a former monastery, built in 1310, or you can drink it in the inner court next to a 500-liter wooden-keg. All this is the Schlenkerla.

The connoisseur drinks it slowly with relish, but steadily and purposefully. He knows, that the second "Seidla" (half-liter) tastes better than the first, and the third even better than the second. He drinks during the morning pint and during the afternoon break. He drinks it in the evenings, drinks it alone and with company, especially with company, as "Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier" makes one talkative and exuberant. It brings together the local with the stranger, as it is common in Franconia to share your table with others.

Even if the brew tastes somewhat strange at the first swallow, do not stop, because soon you will realize that your thirst will not decrease and your pleasure will visibly increase.

That is written on the coasters, and the coasters are right!

Sir Bowie "back in power and out to find another bottle" of Greenbriar


  1. LOL...guessed as much.. the silence was deafening...

    I thought i hadn't heard a peep out of Nanook the Hook, you best get over there Bowster and dig the old fella out...LOL...seeing as you are the one with all the backwoodsman training...

    Bet ya glad you did it now..

    Make sure you keep Suz warm...:))

    Sir Dayvd ( watching his dafodils starting to open in the sunlit corner of the garden..:) of balmy oxfordshire

  2. the beer was smoky
    Sir Bowie kept us warm and fed
    now we have power

    so far, so good, though branches are falling all around us
    a hot shower and coffee make the world a nicer place : )

    and we're betting that there will be many babies born around Halloween!
    gotta keep warm some way...

    the snow is beautiful and we have ice hanging by a spider's thread - fascinating to see

    and our little white dog is barely above the snow levels as she is outside making yellow snow

    Lady Suzanne of Greenbriar

  3. Nanook the Hook reporting in! Lovely post and evening Sir Bowie! Lady Allwinky and I drug our King bed mattress in front of our gas fireplace after eating and drinking at Old Chicago for a brisk evening sleep.

    I commented that now I know why in the middle ages that they wore caps to bed! That's the only part of me that got cold.

    The home got down to 43 degrees. I finally got a generator today, hooked it up to the gas furnace blower and have heat, and a little light.

    Hope to have power soon! Would love to try a Smokebeer soon! And, yes, Lady S, it is beautiful outside!

    Sir Hook the Nanook of Warrick

  4. You have a tent, what's the big deal?

    Sir James (got his power back on at 2:00 this morning) of Taylor

  5. Sir James,
    yes, the camping pans and pots came in very handy - Amy is my witness that I said I'll not complain about his camping any more -
    we didn't break out the tent - though the power has flickered a few more times
    if it goes out, we'll come play with you and Wendy!

    Lady S

  6. Lady S.

    If your power goes, so likely shalloth ours. But you're welcome to come over and sit by the fire and drink the beer in the fridge before it goes to waste.

    Sir James of I'm over this now Taylor