The Legendary Alaskan Smoked Porter Returns for the 29th Year
(Juneau, Alaska) – The limited edition 2017 vintage of Alaskan Brewing Co.’s Alaskan Smoked Porter is now released, just weeks after the previous year’s vintage received a Gold Award for Strong Smoke Beer at the European Beer Star Awards. Smoked beers have gained in popularity in the United States over the past several decades, but were virtually unheard of prior to the late ‘80’s. First brewed by Alaskan in 1988, Smoked Porter is a pioneer of the American smoked beer movement. Smoked beers – known as rauchbiers in Germany – have been a tradition in Europe for hundreds of years, but didn’t gain the same popularity and momentum in the US beer scene until Alaskan introduced its Smoked Porter. Alaskan’s Smoked Porter is the most award-winning beer in the history of the Great American Beer Festival.
Alaskan Brewing co-founder Geoff Larson hit on the idea of using an alder wood fired smoker, used traditionally to smoke salmon, to give the beer a uniquely Alaskan flavor.
The smoker we use is a commercial food smoker once used to smoke fish, which was actually part of the initial inspiration for this beer – why not roast malt like early brewers in Alaska did, which would have left a smoky signature?” says Larson. “This is another one of our beers that builds on the rich history of Alaska. A hundred years ago, brewers in Alaska would malt their own barley, and dry or roast it using alder. Alder grows abundantly here and is the only hard wood in this area, and for direct-fired heat in malting you only want to use hard wood. So, we’re not only inspired by the tradition of smoking salmon, we are also influenced by brewers operating in Alaska at the turn of the century, who faced issues with brewing here that influenced the character of their beers. We wanted to capture that essence in a beer, which led us to Alaskan Smoked Porter.”
Drinkers will notice subtle changes in each vintage of Smoked Porter, especially as time goes on.
“The smoke is bright and fresh when Smoked Porter is first released, but a fun element to this beer is as they age, the smoke mellows and changes in flavor, and soon other complex characteristics enter into the flavor profile,” remarks Larson. “After about the 10-year mark, the beer’s complex characters simplify a bit and the smokiness starts ramping up again. Because the flavor changes are the natural effect of age, the beer changes subtly from year to year, which is really interesting and exciting.”
Alaskan Smoked Porter is produced in limited vintages each autumn, and can be aged in the bottle, like fine wine. This beer will be available on draft and in 22 oz bottles throughout the 20 states where Alaskan beer is sold.
For more information and updates, check out Alaskan Brewing Co. online at www.alaskanbeer.com.