The strange creation from Shmaltz Brewing was bottled over the weekend on National Pastrami Day.
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The salivatingly salty flavors of a pastrami sandwich make for a wonderful pairing with the crisp, clean and dry notes of a delicious pilsner beer. But a newly-packaged collaboration brew from New York’s Shmaltz Brewing and the arcade game-focused bar chain Barcade encourages you to cut out the middleman: Pastrami Pilsner is a beer intended to taste like a pastrami sandwich – all without wasting a single slice of precious pastrami.

Originally released last year as a draft-only exclusive at six Barcade locations, Shmaltz Brewing Pastrami Pilsner garnered enough interest that the brewery has decided to release the odd beer flavor in four-packs of bottle and making it available in 30 states throughout the U.S. Interestingly enough, despite the name, no actual pastrami was used in the beer. Since meat doesn’t add anything fermentable during the brewing process, Shmaltz decided on another approach. “Although we initially wanted to brew a beer with actual pastrami, [Shmaltz] smartly convinced us that they could pull off the flavors of pastrami without actually using it,” Paul Kermizian, CEO and co-founder of Barcade, said in a statement. “Everyone is probably better off with this version!”

How do you make a beer taste like pastrami without pastrami? “Shmaltz’s brewing team stacked the special beer with caramel, Munich and Pilsner malts to provide light, toasted bread flavors with caraway seeds for the complete rye bread experience,” the brewery said of the beer that also happened to be bottled on National Pastrami Day, January 14. “Brewers took a pinch of kosher salt, a dash of pepper, mustard seed, and some smoked malt to wrap together the best pastrami characters. An aromatic blast of horseradish completes this truly unique offering.”

“Look for a clean golden beer with a fluffy white head that will give off light, savory aromas of an authentic pastrami sandwich,” Kevin Wheeler, Shmaltz’s Director of Brewing Operations, further explained. “Pastrami Pilsner’s mouthfeel is crisp and drinkable with just a touch of heat from the horseradish while welcoming notes of spice from the caraway.”

Though beers inspired by meat are relatively rare, they’ve certainly been tackled before. In 2016, New Jersey’s Flying Fish Brewing Company made a beer using actual pork roll. That same year, we covered a beer meant to mimic al pastor tacos. And last year, we wrote about the release of Fried Fried Chicken Chicken, an IPA made with Chick-fil-A.