San Diego Brewed is sponsored by Bottlecraft.

Bottlecraft is a retail shop and tasting room in Little Italy showcasing local, domestic and international craft beers. They offer hundreds of beers for your enjoyment in their onsite tasting room or to-go, as well as daily beer flights, events, glassware, merchandise, and gifts. Open Noon-10pm seven days a week. 2161 India Street, San Diego, CA 92101.

Manzanita Brewing Company Where There's SmokeWhere There’s Smoke is a fairly new release from Manzanita Brewing Company. I didn’t know much about it before picking up a bottle earlier this week at Bottlecraft ($6.75 for 22oz). I’m pretty sure Manzanita was pouring it at The Brewer’s Guild Festival last month, if I remember right a friend even mentioned that it was one of his favorite beers at the fest, but I didn’t get to try it.

All I knew about it before picking up the bottle was that it was a smoked beer, I didn’t know it was made with rye, nor did I know it was brewed with chili peppers. While I enjoy both from time to time, neither smoked beers nor chili beers are big favorites of mine, but since I’d heard good things I decided to give Where There’s Smoke a try. And I’m glad I did, it’s a delicious beer.

It’s much darker than I expected, I’m not sure why I thought it would be a lighter beer, but for some reason I though it would be more of a caramel color. The smell tells you right away that this is a smoked beer, there’s tons of smokey malt with just a hint of spicy pepper smell.

The first sip is all smoke, it’s not overwhelming but I didn’t get much else to begin with. The heat from the chili peppers was mostly non-existent until swallowing, when a pleasant spiciness emerged. Not a taste bud scorching heat, but a good flavor with enough heat. As I drank more I started to get a bit of spiciness up front that seemed different than the chili pepper heat on the end. I’m not sure if this spiciness was from the rye or if that was just my taste buds playing tricks on me. There wasn’t any grainy or bread-like flavors that some rye  beers can have.

I’m not sure if Where There’s Smoke is a limited release, seasonal or if it will become a regular release, but I’d recommend trying it if you get the chance.