Hints of smoke have increasingly become a popular addition to beer as of late, and serves as the flavor inspiration for August Schell’s seasonal brew Chimney Sweep (available from mid-November through March). An adventurous beer drinker of sorts, I snagged a six-pack of the brew on my last liquor store excursion. While I have yet to conclude whether or not I’m a fan of “smoky” beer (as I’d like to sample a few other brews before arriving at a conclusion), what I did decide was that they make great Beer Marys.
Flavor profile: According to August Schell’s, Chimney Sweep is “dark and mysterious, with an intriguing wisp of smoke, a chimney sweep has long been considered a source of good luck. Schell’s Chimney Sweep draws its inspiration from these lucky individuals and the rich dark lagers of Upper Franconia in Germany. Expect a black lager with a roasty maltiness, sturdy hop bitterness and an underlying subtle smokiness.”
As described above, Chimney Sweep does possess a “subtle smokiness,” but I found it to be less subtle than I was anticipating. While it does have a good overall flavor, I couldn’t seem to push out the thought that I was drinking beer with a dash of Liquid Smoke. I get it; it’s rugged and manly, and produces a complex flavor against the malty-hop-bitterness of the lager. I don’t think I’d enjoy consuming the whole pack at once as the smokiness gets overwhelming after drinking a couple brews.
Despite my reservations about drinking Chimney Sweep (at least in mass quantities), I found that it makes a damn good Beer Mary. Whether you decide to mix it with Clamato or V8, the smokiness of the beer against the sweeter notes of the veggie juice create a pretty spectacular beverage. A dash of celery salt and a pinch of freshly ground pepper really elevated the beverage, adding subtle seasoning while letting the smoky tomato flavor shine. While it may not look like a traditional Beer Mary, darker beers can be effectively used to make much-needed hangover remedies. While the beer itself doesn’t get an A in my book, the August Schell’s Chimney Sweep Beer Mary sure does.