Fort Collins Brewery Z Smoked Amber Lager

I’ve picked up smoking pipe tobacco. Viewed as gross by many people, I find it relaxing after a long, tiring day, not a whole lot is more relaxing when I sit out on the porch, watching the snow fall, and peering through the spiraling tendrils of smoke drifting above my head, plus I’ve always like the smoky flavor. I’ve had a long history with smoky flavors, from cheese to chicken starting from as early as I remember. Having smoky flavors in beer is a win-win, since I enjoy good, flavorful beer and the addition of a smoked malt is a seemingly flawless idea.

So tonight, I tried Fort Collins’ Z Smoked Amber Lager. There is something I greatly enjoy about the beer. It has a great crisp, amber color with tinges of ochre, but it has the smell of a stout or a much darker beer, with strong coffee, smoke, and fresh-baked cookies, with hints of the smell of after a spring rain, promise new life and growing grass.

The flavor of the beer is pretty outstanding. A rich combination of caramel, smoke, and pecan delivers a happy little beer that you can sip, enjoy, savor, and everything you’d ever want to do with a beer. There is a little bitterness to speak of, making it a very balanced beer, combining the flavor of the malt and sugars with the hops. Combined with the beautiful smokiness, it’s quite a good beer. It’s like taking something already quite good and adding another good thing, making it better than the sum of the parts. This is no fruitcake, where fruit is good, cake is great, but fruitcake is gross. This is like pasta with bacon. Yeah, pasta is pretty good, but adding bacon brings it up to godliness.

That’s why this beer is so drinkable. It’s good, but the finish is delicious, and raises the beer up to a level of enjoyment otherwise impossible to obtain.

This isn’t the best beer I’ve had, but it clearly stands above many others. It’s a good go-to beer if you are unsure of what you want, but don’t want to settle for a lower quality brew.

And if you are a reader in Wisconsin and are lucky enough to live in New Berlin or Oshkosh, look around and you might be able to find some of the Z Lager. For a full listing, check out where you can get some of Fort Collins’ brews.

(As a side note, my camera is being funky, so I will update with photos tomorrow.)

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