Bamberg’s Storied Rauchbier: A Brief History of Smoke BEER

Over twenty years had passed since I stopped off briefly in Bamberg en route between Prague and Heidelberg with an old friend on a crazy road trip in my grandma’s rickety Renault 5. On that sunny afternoon in the early nineties, we snapped the requisite photos of the Altes Rathaus straddling the River Regnitz before heading off for a Bamberger specialty that a fellow traveler in Prague had told us was absolutely de rigeur: Rauchbier. I still remember the light breeze that cooled that midsummer’s day as we sat down to a meal of Weisswurst and a taste of this fabled beer. For the life of me, I can’t remember where we ate, but I do remember that first perception-altering smell and sip of Rauchbier: this was possible in a beer?

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