Heater Allen Brewing (McMinnville, OR) and Wayfinder Beer (Portland, OR)
"Hell/Helles" in German translates to bright, light, or pale. "Rauch" is smoked in German. So ... pale smoked beer.
Rauchbier is an old German beer style with origins in the 1500's. Typically dark to amber in color, it shares similarities with Oktoberfestbier. Green malts are dried over an open fire of beechwood, imparting a unique smokiness to the final beverage. Expect toasty-rich malt in aroma and flavor, restrained bitterness, low to high smoke flavor, clean fermentation profile, and an attenuated finish.
Surprisingly delicious. The smoke is present and noticeable, but a really well crafted lager lies beneath. Sweet and malty with a slightly acidic finish.
Not sure what I was expecting. It seems the possiblilty for disaster would be huge in this type of beer, but Heater Allen pulled this off ... I'm coming to expect that from them.