The origins of Rauchbier lies with breweries in the region of Franconia in northern Bavaria which traditionally dried the barley over fires fueled by beech trees from local forests. The resulting pungent malt imparted an assertively smoky aroma and flavor to the beer from which it was made. These smoked lagers generally feature a very malty framework on which the intensely smoky character will not become overbearing. Rauchbiers are still brewed in the traditional manner by many of the breweries centered around the town of Bamberg, though enterprising brewers in other parts of the world have begun to make similarly styled beers.

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