Smokin’ Hot: Cellar West’s Smoke Stream

It was a cool 100 degrees here last Wednesday.  So, naturally, DFTB and the official wife decided to walk to a local brewery to meet some friends for dinner.  From a food truck.  A sushi food truck.  Outside.  Yeah.

Somehow, it turned out to be a great evening.  A momentary light drizzle cooled things down to a manageable 92-ish (DFTB may or may not be a bit overly fascinated with the temperature widget on our official Apple Watch…).  The food truck was Temaki Tornado, which is oddly perfect for a hot day.  They make sushi hand rolls.  That’s it.  I know what you’re thinking.  I was thinking the same thing—sushi on a hot day?  You’re asking for trouble if you let your food sit.  At all.  With Temaki Tornado, that’s not an issue.  The fish is ice-cold, they bring orders to you immediately as they finish them, and eating the hand rolls fast is not a chore—it’s a pleasure.  I had two types of tuna and yellow tail, each as delicious as the next.  DFTB will be back for more.

The main event, though, was DFTB’s return to a brewery for the first time in what seems like a century and a half.  Since DFTB’s last visit, Cellar West has turned its front parking lot into a tremendous patio, complete with tables and shade sails.  Better still, Cellar West has diversified its beer options a bit.  I’ve always liked their aged farmhouse style ales.  On this visit, though, the smoked beer on the menu had DFTB’s name all over it.

DFTB has been a sucker for smoked beer since the first time I tried it.  I love all things smoked—pork, beef, fish—even salt.  Doesn’t matter.  You can smoke beer?  I’m all in.   Cellar West’s Smoke Stream does not disappoint.  They start with their version of an Altbier, a German red.  They then add enough smoked malt to give a nice undertone of smoke without overwhelming the rest of the flavors.  The result is a great medley of sweet notes from the malt, a crisp snap from the hops, and a slight tang from the yeast all riding along with the smoke.  It’s really a solid beer.  Best of all for last Wednesday, it’s a solid summer beer.  Where a lot of smoked beers practically demand cold weather and sweaters, Smoke Stream is great in hot weather–flavorful, refreshing, and not overpowering.