Chicagoist's Beer Of The Week: Off Color's 15 Feet Applewood Smoked Wheat

By Jason Baldacci in Food on Sep 13, 2013 7:20PM

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Photo courtesy of John Laffler/Off Color Brewing
This time of year, we see the weather do a whole lot of different things. We get chilly days and then a little taste of summer makes its way back through. We're pretty sure that we found the perfect beer for this time of year, it's light enough to be quenching on a hot day, and complex enough to satisfy on a cold one.

The guys at Off Color Brewing describe 15 feet as an Applewood Smoked Wheat beer. Staying true to their mission to brew lesser known styles, this batch is inspired by an almost forgotten Polish style called "grodziskie." The grain bill in 15 Feet is 100 percent wheat (no barley whatsoever), but what really makes it interesting is that the brewers went so far as to smoke the wheat malt themselves over applewood (the same way you'd smoke meat) when they weren't able to buy exactly what they wanted to make the beer. The smokiness is very prevalent, both on the nose and in the flavor of the beer, but we don't find it to be overwhelming, it's actually pleasantly bacon-y. Underneath that smoke, we pick up bready tones from the malt, as well as a little tanginess from the yeast strain. At 3.2 percent alcohol content, 15 Feet is crisp, sessionable, and delightfully different.

Since they're pretty distinct, smoked beers tend to be hit or miss for a lot of people. While we personally enjoy them, we still feel they're the kind of thing a person needs to be in the mood for. Love them or hate them, they do offer you some really great food pairing opportunities. The smokiness of the beer will play with everything from BBQ to spicy thai dishes, or pretty much anything that you might cook over charcoal. It could even go with a cheese coarse as long as the cheese wasn't too pungent. Since 15 Feet is so light in alcohol, you'd want to stay away from anything that's too rich, and things like sweet sauces.

Like all of Off Color's beers, 15 Feet is only available on draft, so be sure to check beermenus.com to see who has it available this weekend.