Bamberg and Smokebeer (the Germans call it "Rauchbier") belong together, a liaison which was not without consequences. The greatest of which is the Schlenkerla: the most productive, most visited and most traditional Smokebeer source in Bamberg. It originates in the middle of the old town, directly underneath the mighty cathedral, from a half-timbered house on which the geraniums effusively glow in the summer. Anyone who did not come here and try the strong, unmistakable taste of Original Schlenkerla Smokebeer (in German: Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier) cannot claim to have been to Bamberg.
Schlenkerla has become a magic word for a long time, but many do not know where this word originated. Its roots lie within the Frankish vernacular, in which "schlenkern" is an expression for walking not straight - just like a drunken person does. Allegedly one of the former brewers had a funny way of walking due to an accident, or maybe due to the beer, and so he was called the "Schlenkerla" - the little dangler. The ending -la is the typical diminutive for the Frankish dialect. After a while, the residents of Bamberg also called the tavern Schlenkerla, and even though the sixth generation of brewers now taps the beer, the name has remained. Even in the phone book and the internet you can find the brewery under the name Schlenkerla. Today it stands for the tavern, the brewery and, most importantly, for the Smokebeer.
Smokebeer from Schlenkerla is a dark, aromatic, bottom fermented beer with 13.5 percent original extract, which is equivalent to an alcohol content of 5.1 percent. No doubt: there are stronger beers, but nevertheless, one should not underestimate
... it can make you "schlenker" quite a bit. Its smoky flavor is being achieved by exposing the malt to the intense, aromatic smoke of burning beech-wood logs at the Schlenkerla-maltings. After mixing it with premium-class hops in the brew, it matures in 600 year old cellars, deep down in the hills of Bamberg, into a mellow, magnificent-tasting beer, best drunk directly in "Schlenkerla". An Original amongst the beers, even amongst the Bavarian beers. You can drink it in the "Alte Lokal" at white-scrubbed wooden tables - covering them with a tablecloth would be a sin - underneath an old timbered ceiling, even darker than the beer. You can drink it in the "Klause", a former monastery, built in 1310, or you can drink it in the inner court next to a 500-liter wooden-keg. All this is the Schlenkerla.
The connoisseur drinks it slowly with relish, but steadily and purposefully. He knows, that the second "Seidla" (half-liter) tastes better than the first, and the third even better than the second. He drinks during the morning pint and during the afternoon break. He drinks it in the evenings, drinks it alone and with company, especially with company, as "Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier" makes one talkative and exuberant. It brings together the local with the stranger, as it is common in Franconia to share your table with others.
"Even if the brew tastes somewhat strange at the first swallow, do not stop, because soon you will realize that your thirst will not decrease and your pleasure will visibly increase."
That is written on the coasters, and the coasters are right!