The 49th State Brewing Co was on top of the world this past week at the Craft Brewers Conference and World Beer Cup. 49th State’s Smoked Marzen won Gold in the smoked beers category of the World Beer Cup. The Smoked Marzen, from their brewpub in the heart of Denali, is brewed as an homage to the classic Rauchbiers of Bamberg, Germany. This lager has an assertive, distinct aroma of campfire and hickory, with billowing flavors of sweet, smoky goodness. It went head-to-head with German originators of the style and came out on top!
The recipe originated from David McCarthy, owner/brewer at the 49th State. He has a strong belief that craft brewers have a responsibility to preserve the history of brewing. That’s why he does extensive traveling to breweries around the world to understand the essence of the historic styles that withstood not ten years of trends but centuries. The Smoked Marzen takes this historic style and pushes it to the edge by marrying old world style and subtlety with new world cherry wood malt.
Many people ask, “Why a smoked beer?” McCarthy says,
At some point, all beer had a smoky flavor. Before the advent of clean burning coal, all malt was kilned by wood fire and therefore had smoky character. I love recreating something with such historic value. It’s pretty tasty too.
The 49th State chooses to go with a traditional lager for their smoked beer versus other darker beers. Lagers are more challenging as any flaw in the beer will be easily perceptive where darker beers can mask flavors a bit. The results are clearly worth the effort as the beer has now won a gold in 2015 at the Great American Beer Festival and now a gold in the World Beer Cup.
After the win in 2015, McCarthy went to Bamberg bringing his Smoked Marzen to do side-by-side tastings with original German rauchbiers. The studying paid off as the subsequent tweaks he made to the recipe lead to the win at the World Beer Cup.
The 49th State is proud to represent Alaska on the world stage and was equally proud to share it with Alaskan Brewing Co, as this year, TWO breweries from Alaska took home the gold at the World Beer Cup. What a year!