Esquire‘s blog, Eat Like A Man, recently profiled one of the newest, most exciting beers out of D.C., and boy is it manly. What’s more manly than beer you ask? How about beer that tastes like meat. Ron Swanson would be proud.
So, who’s the mastermind behind this supremely macho brew? None other than Greg Engert, the James Beard Award-nominated beer director for the Neighborhood Restaurant Group based out of DC.
One day, while dining on half-smokes at Red Apron Butchery, Engert decided he’d like to replicate D.C.’s signature sandwich in beer form. Which is, more or less, genius. With the help of Bluejacket Brewing’s brewmaster Megan Parisi, Engert hoped to “craft a beer that could literally fill the spot of a half-smoke on the menu at any restaurant in town.” He called his creation “The Butcher.”
What sets The Butcher apart from other meat-flavored brews is the brewing process. Namely, no meat is used. Engert applied the same process Red Apron uses in making half-smokes, but instead of meat, Bluejacket’s malts are smoked over Red Apron’s signature half-smoke wood blend (cherrywood, applewood, and hickory). Engert then decided to experiment with smoking intensities to add a unique complexity to the brew. Esquire explains:
“Starting with 1250 pounds of grain, the Bluejacket team smoked just 15 percent of it, further dividing that into thirds: a third smoked for 75 minutes, a third for 90 minutes, and the final third for 120 minutes. Finally, Engert and Parisi took Anda’s own unique half-smoke spice blend – which includes sea salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, white cardamom, mustard seed, and nutmeg – and added it both during the brewing ‘whirlpool’ and post-fermentation.”
The result is a doppelbock with 7% alcohol that first tastes sweet and bready and finishes with notes of smoky, spicy meat. Yes, like a half-smoke sandwich. And what could be better than that?