Schlenkerla, The Historic Smoked Beer Brewery
In the middle of the old part of Bamberg, directly beneath the mighty cathedral, one can find the historic smoked beer brewery Schlenkerla. First mentioned in 1405 and now run by the Trum family in the 6th generation, it is the fountain of Original Schlenkerla Smokebeer (in the German language it's called " Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier"). The smoked beer is here at the brewery tavern still being tapped directly from the wooden barrel according to old tradition. "Even if the brew tastes somewhat strange at first swallow, do not stop, because soon you will realize that your thirst will not decrease and your pleasure will visibly increase."
A great many stories have grown up around the origins of Smokebeer. Some are quite imaginative, others are a bit strange. The majority can be considered fairy-tales and fables. The Sumerians and Babylonians already knew of the art of brewing beer which was then later perfected by the German tribes in Roman times. The basic process in those days was similar to the one today- apart from the technical instruments. Green malt always had to be dried, "kilned" as brewers call it. In the past, besides the usage of sun rays, which was quite difficult in Middle and Northen Europe, there was only way of kilning: Drying the grain over an open fire. Thus it was unavoidable that smoke penetrated the malt and gave it a smoky flavour.