Smoked beers are not just heady warmers built for brisk winter nights. New Zealand brewery 8 Wired has grilled fare on the mind with its take on rauchbier. The Big Smoke smoked porter is deceptively light, with a relatively low ABV of 6.2% and a mouthfeel that’s more akin to a summer shawl than a winter parka. The beechwood smoked malt integrates nicely with flavors of baking chocolate, raisin and nutty undertones. There’s even a rousing finale, in the form of Southern Cross and Willamette hops, which add a pleasing jolt of bitterness and cut into the mild sweetness of the malt bill. $10 per 16.9 oz. bottle, 8wired.co.nz.
Mark Stock was raised in Portland, Oregon, loves Yellowstone and has a background in wine. There's a good chance his favorite drink has aquavit in it.