Hammerheart Brewing Company
Leif’s Smoked American Lager
I always look forward to new releases from Hammerheart Brewing Company. They are usually unique and often very good. My Hammerheart Brewing Company Leif’s Smoked American Lager (5.4% alcohol by volume) was canned three months ago. It is a classic style smoked beer and it has that clean lager smell - light grains, a hint of corn and a trace of spicy hops - with a dash of smoke in the background. Leif's Smoked American Lager is not as intense as a fresh Schlenkerla but smoke and lager are evenly balanced. It pours hazy straw gold permeated by streams of bubbles rising from the glass's nucleation points under a dense, 2” white cap with a very fine bead and good retention. The malt is on the rich side for an American Lager and the hops are a touch bigger - which is a good thing and allows it to better balance the smoke - and there is a touch of tart on the tail. The smoke is just enough. It makes it presence known but it does not overwhelm the malt and the hops. The smoke has a long tail and the beer gets smokier as you drink it. The smoke works well with the hop treatment - both the spicy hop flavors and the moderate hop bitterness. There is a hint of astringency from the smoke but it is not harsh or acrid. The body is medium light and the carbonation is medium high. I am enjoying the beer immensely as I sit on my deck and listen to a soft breeze gently rustle the leaves on my columnar maples. Leif’s Smoked American Lager is interesting but not overly challenging. It is crisp and refreshing, well balanced, very drinkable and repeatable - something you can drink every day. I rate it 83.
Go to Classic Style Smoked Beer for a brief discussion of the style, links to reviews of similar beers, food pairings and glassware recommendations.