By Iron Chef Leftovers
Smoked beers can be pleasant and roasty with notes of smoked salmon or BBQ that really compliment the other flavors in the beer when they are done well. When they are not, the beers tend to be roughly the equivalent of chewing on a campfire log. I was excited when Populuxe brewing partnered with Bitterroot BBQ to produce the Smoked Rye Saison. I love the Populuxe Saison, I love rye beers and I was very intrigued over what the combination of smoked rye and saison would end up tasting like. The beer clocked in at 6.8% ABV.
The beer pours deep red in color with a white head. Strong notes of roasted caramel with hints of smoke and rye dominate the nose with just minor notes of grass in the background. The beer has a significant amount of smoky sweet malt up front on the palate before quickly moving into light notes of lemon and grass with hints of Belgian character before finishing with layers of rye and very light smoke coupled with lemon and Belgian yeast that lingers pleasantly for a long time. The beer reminds me of smoked salmon with lemon and dill, with the dill (in a very light way) either coming from the grassy notes or my mind inserting it because of the smoke and lemon flavors. This beer is very well balanced and layered and is very easy to drink for a smoked beer. It would pair fantastically with just about anything grilled.
Populuxe Smoked Rye Saison grabs the blue ribbon with 5 low and slows out of 5.