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Gigantic Brewing Company | Firebird Smoked Hefeweizen

Gigantic Brewing Company | Firebird Smoked Hefeweizen
Brad Hartsock

ABV: 6.1%, 24 IBU

As summer rolls to a close, I’m filled with a sense of urgency. Fall/winter/spring is a long hard slog for us Seattleites. We’ve got to make the proverbial hay while the sun shines. I know come October, my beautiful Weber grill will likely be relegated to the garage and temperatures will begin to preclude the drinking of summertime cervezas.

Knowing two things I would miss about summer, I decided to double down and try Gigantic Brewing’s Firebird Smoked Hefeweizen. At first it seemed an odd combination, until I thought about how many Hefeweizens and other summerish brews are consumed with the strong aroma and flavor of charcoal smoke wafting in the drinker’s face; in a way, pretty genius*.

The beer smells, looks, and tastes like summer. As soon as I cracked the bomber I was hit by clove. While pouring, I started to get some banana esters as well. It pours golden and quite clear for a Hefe. Above the two inch head I definitely caught some smoke aroma, but it was behind a lot of clove and banana. On a first sip… still not a lot of smoke. But once I got into it, the smoke flavor slowly started to develop and mingle with the other flavors.

The beer does a great job of putting you in mind of an actual barbecue. It takes a while for the charcoal to get going, but after a while, the air, your clothes, and your beverage are permeated with delicious smoke. I think that’s what the Gigantic crew are going for: not an overwhelming smokiness, but the pleasurable, escalating level you’d associate with sipping on a beer while relaxing with friends around a grill or even fire.

In that they succeed quite well. In a way, this beer is better suited to colder days. I, for one, know that I can keep a bottle of this in hiding. Some dreary, February day, I can crack it open and get swept away to summer.

*Sorry, I used the word “genius” only to link to that song… it has nothing to do with beer, summer, or really anything except R. Kelly’s madness. You’re welcome?

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