Brewed in honor of an original Rogue, St. Chuck's Smoke is a unique brew and a prime example of a smoke beer.
"I used to smoke the grain on a Weber over alder chips and that was the sole source of the smoke flavor and aroma in the beer," John Maier explains. He's talking about the original smoke beer that he used to make back when he was homebrewing. It was an early version of St. Chuck's Smoke which took home a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival this past weekend.
John brought that recipe with him when he became our Brewmaster at what's now the Bayfront Public House in 1989. Chuck Linquist, one of the first Rogue employees, would smoke malts at his house then John would use those in his 15-barrel batches.
"I still play with the recipe," John says. "It started out being an ale and now it’s a Märzen-style lager modeled after Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen -- the world standard of Rauchbier."
The beer features notes of smoke and caramel and finishes with a smoky character -- a result of those smoked malts Chuck provided John. Smoking malts was an old method for drying malt and was mostly abandoned after the Industrial Revolution when kiln drying became more common. But a few breweries in Germany held onto the smoked method and continued brewing these beers, known as Rauchbier.
Meanwhile the caramel flavor is derived from the Märzen beer recipe which calls for a maltier body. You may know these types of beers better as Oktoberfest. They're generally what you'd drink at an Oktoberfest celebration.
When Chuck passed away in the 90s, it seemed fitting to name the beer after him. John has fond memories of traveling to Europe with his friend and sampling beers there with him. "Chuck liked all beer," he admits. But this was one that he helped craft.
This most recent gold medal is our tenth Great American Beer Festival gold we've ever earned, the thirtieth Great American Beer Festival medal and the 1,994th award for all Rogue ales, lagers, spirits, ciders and sodas.
The gold medal-winning St. Chuck's Smoke is available while it lasts at Rogue Pubs. Drop in to taste a pint of gold.