I sat down with a panel of beer drinkers to sample a smoked beer made in Texas. Ranger Creek in San Antonio makes a Mesquite Smoked Porter. According to their description it is “brewed with a Texas twist, using malt smoked in-house over Texas mesquite.” This is made in the tradition of a German rauchbier where the malt is smoked, but those traditional varieties don’t normally use the smoked malt to make something as dark as a porter. Märzens or bocks are a more popular choice in Germany, but here in the United States we like our smoked porters.
The Ranger Creek Mesquite Smoked Porter is creamy with good body. It’s got great flavor that fills the mouth, but the hop flavor is almost non-existent. Some sharpness from more hop presence would improve it. It’s a strong porter with a one-note boldness. That singular punch is a pleasant one, but it masks the smokiness of the malt. This smoked porter can act as a decent introduction to this genre of beers, but it can’t touch the quality of Ranger Creek’s Small Batch Series.
Smoked in Texas will be a regular feature on TMBBQ. Send us suggestions for smoked products made in Texas.