Review: Jack’s Abby Fire in the Ham

Review of Jack’s Abby Fire in the Ham from Jack’s Abby Craft Lagers in Framingham, MA.

Beer Type: Smoked Lager (Rauchbier)  ABV: 5.4%  IBUs: 20  Tried from bottle.

Their Description: “Caution! This is an intensely smokey lager similar to those found in Bamberg, Germany. Most of this brew’s malt was dried over flaming beechwood, which ingrains unique smokey flavors. Aromas of campfires, smoked ham, and bacon dominate a soft malt and hop backbone. Although hard to believe, this beer is vegan friendly.”

The Reality: This beer does start with an intensely smoky scent to accompany its light golden color. The flavor is a mild malt with savory smoke overtones and a hint of salt. It finishes clean and has a lot of richness for a lighter-bodied beer. A subtle malty sweetness mellows the whole thing out and keeps the experience smooth. After a few sips your brain does detect bacon even though it’s not there. The aftertaste stays savory, but with no bitterness. The “hop backbone” was more like a “hop invertebrate”  as it was very faint.

Final Verdict: I’m glad someone found a good use for beechwood, in this case burning it to smoke the malt, instead of actually putting it in the beer (we’re talking to you Budweiser). Seriously though, this beer packs a lot of smokey punch for a lighter beer, and I think that’s nice. I love smoked beers but often they can be heavy, or at the very least feel heavy. That is not the case with this beer. You could easily enjoy it on a hot summer day or a cool autumn night, it’s pretty versatile. If you don’t like smoke flavor, obviously avoid this beer, but otherwise it’s worth your time and money. I’m also glad it’s vegan friendly because I finally hit it off with Olivia Wilde (after several attempts) and I’d hate to have this beer come between us now.