The Smoke (568ml, 4.9% ABV)
For me, the concept of smoked beer always bring to mind one particular example of the genre: Heller-Trum Schlenkerla Rauchbier, a 6.5% German classic that tastes like drinking liquified smoked ham during a house fire.
Padstow’s offering might be called The Smoke, but it’s an altogether more restrained affair. It’s also a brew so new that even the brewery’s website doesn’t seem to know about it. This is an increasingly common state of affairs: the innovation of Britain’s brewers is outstripping their ability to document what they’ve done.
The Smoke pours dark and with virtually no head. Unsurprisingly, it smells of woodsmoke with some malt sweetness. Both of these characteristics carry through to the taste. It claims to be a stout, and yes, it has those roasty flavours, but to me it seems more like a strong mild in character – subtle and quaffable rather than dark and brooding.
The mouthfeel is smooth and velvety (probably from the addition of oatmeal), and the bubbles disappear into the texture like few other beers I’ve tried. It’s the polar opposite of fizzy. A dry aftertaste gives way to – you guessed it – a little smokiness.
If smoked beer seems a little odd to you, this would be a good way of dipping your toes in the water.
Written by Richard Salsbury