One of the newest BC brewers to begin exporting to their Eastern neighbours is New Westminster’s Steel & Oak. The first beer to hit shelves is their 5.4% Smoked Hefeweizen a rarely seen fusion style that blends two different German brewing styles. Smoked beers originate in the small Bavarian town of Bamberg where malt is smoked over beechwood fire before being added to the brew. Hefeweizens are wheat beers that also originated in Germany and are characterized by a profile of banana, clove, coriander and lemon. I’ve only ever had one other smoked hefeweizen which was from Portland’s Gigantic Brewing. From what I remember I enjoyed the beer because it took a fairly average wheat beer and turned the profile on its head. Lets get to drinking this Steel & Oak brew.
Pouring out a spritzy golden straw in the body with a heavy amount of carbonation streaming upwards in the glass. The head is dense, thick and fluffy on top with a dulled off white colour. A beautiful appearance overall with the heavy carbonation carrying on for some time. At first glance the aroma is pungent with smoke but this soon blows off leaving a more mild and aligned smoke nose that blends well with the hefeweizen components. Light straw and hay malt with a bit of lemon and banana with no spice on the nose. A bit sweet up front with a grainy malt profile, light wheat malts add crispness to the finish while the smoke is mild but throughout. The banana and a light pinch of clove are delightful but too subtle and get lost in the noise of smoke and malt. On the finish a lingering mild smoke and light bitterness clash with a refreshing crispness. Overall a nice effort but I would have liked to see a more insightful combination of hefeweizen yeast and smoke with a heavier punch and more yeast complexity. Regardless a very nice and easy sipping smoked brew.