Monday, August 27, 2018

Bacon Industry

It seems only natural that a brewer would make a smoked beer for a barbecue contest.  That is what Neshaminy Creek  Brewing Company (NCBC) did for its Croydon is Burning: Barbecue Battle.  The battle took place back on April 15, 2018; and, no, I was not there.  But, from what I have read, local barbecue joints competed in a contest that required, among other things, that the pitmasters use one of two NCBC beers: the Croydon is Burning, which is a Bamberg-style Rauchbier, or, the Bacon Industry, which falls in the "other smoked beer" category. 

While I was not at the barbecue battle, I did have the chance to try the Bacon Industry during a recent visit to Philadelphia.  The Bacon Industry is brewed in the Helles style, using German beechwood smoked malt, American cherrywood malt and 100 pounds of cured, smoked bacon.  That makes the Bacon Industry my kind of beer.  So, I had two of them during lunch. 

According to the Beer Judge Certification Program, a beer that falls within the "other smoked beer" category should have a "pleasant balance" between the smoked character and the basic beer style.  Given the brewers at NCBC brewed the Bacon Industry in the style of a Helles (or Maibock beer), then we should look to what that beer style entails.  Typically, a Helles beer pours a deep amber to a light color, with malt-forward aromas (featuring little to no hop elements), and a strong, but clean malt flavor.    

With that background, the Bacon Industry does a very good job reaching the "pleasant balance" that one would strive between the smoked character and the Helles style.  The use of the beechwood smoked malt and the bacon allow for light smoked aromas and flavors to greet the nose and tongue of the drinker. At first, the smoked elements are the beechwood and cherrywood, which find their way into the aroma of the beer. I did not get as much of a sense of the bacon in the aroma, but it does find its way into the beer. (100 pounds of cured, smoked bacon should at least find its way into the flavor of the beer.) That bacon flavor is nestled among the malt elements of the beer, such as some light toast and bread flavors.  

The balance between the smoke and the malt in this smoked Helles beer is near perfect.  The Bacon Industry provides an interesting, albeit different, approach to a smoked beer.  Most smoked beers that I have tried in the past, like the Ola Dubh or the Sunturnbrew, achieve the smoked character solely through the use of malts.  The Bacon Industry sets itself apart with the use of 100 pounds of cured, smoked bacon. Given how much I liked this beer, I will keep my eye open for other bacon beers.  In the meantime, if you find yourself in Philadelphia or nearby NCBC, you should stop and see if this beer is available.  And, if you can, pair it with barbecue, as the brewers initially intended.  Until next time ...


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