The new entry in the Samuel Adams Harvest Collection 12-pack is a strangely satisfying brew. It's well named too: Bonfire Rauchbier tastes like a bonfire -- as though the beer has somehow been char-grilled. It's hard to believe a liquid can contain this much smokiness, but that quality is due to the smoked malts. (Rauchbiers, which date to the 16th century, are made with malts that have been dried over beechwood fires.)
Copper-brown with a strong, two-finger head, Bonfire has medium carbonation and a burnt-wood aroma. With virtually no hop character, the malt notes -- caramel in particular -- take over. I'd say I wish Bonfire (5 percent ABV) was sold in six-packs, but I'm not sure how many of these unusual beers I would want in one season.