This is the way Granås has made beer since he was 15. It's how his father made beer, his father's father, and so on for a hundred generations or more.
Mostly, they make the brew, known as Stjørdal maltøl, for themselves and the few curious visitors who trek to the countryside near the Trondheim fjord. Granås brews with rudimentary equipment in a small cabin he built by hand and shares with other local brewers.
To say that Stjørdal maltøl is an acquired taste is an understatement. The brown beer goes down as smoothly as a pack of unfiltered Lucky's.
And yet, as you exhale, you realize that a sip of this beer is a sip of an almost-vanished history.
In all but a few cases, today's breweries use malt that is precisely dried or roasted in computer-controlled, indirectly heated, gas-fired kilns. Except for some slacker on the production line catching a cigarette break, the malt never comes in contact with smoke.
Generally, that's a good thing.
Along with controlled fermentation, the elimination of smoke from beer some 200 years ago was one of the great advances in beer making. At last, the satisfyingly rich, malty character of beer could be appreciated without the taint of bong water. (One often-cited 18th-century beer guide noted that in some parts of England, "their malt is so stenched with the Smoak of the Wood, with which 'tis dryed, that no Stranger can endure it . . . ")
Thankfully, several malt producers provide smoked varieties so brewers don't have to fire up their Webers.
Check your neighborhood beer shelf, and you'll find imported smoked brews ranging from mild, peaty Scottish Ale (try Belhaven Wee Heavy) to Bamberg, Germany's, smothering rauchbier (try Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Marzen).
American craft brewers have dabbled in smoke with varying success. Most seem reluctant to inhale it into their lungs, so their beers - like last year's Victory Scarlet Fire and this season's Harpoon Rauchfetzen - offer only a wisp of smoke.
That may be plenty for many folks, but I prefer less-tentative versions.
Roy Pitz (Chambersburg, Pa.) draft Ludwig's Revenge rauchbier fills your mouth with a rich, dark malt flavor, then finishes with the manly aroma of seasoned hickory. Likewise, Sly Fox Rauchbier, from Phoenixville, a gold medal winner at last year's Great American Beer Festival, reminds me of sizzling campfire bacon.
More often, U.S. brewers add smoke to their porters.
I've written several times about the award-winning Alaskan Smoked Porter, whose malt is dried over alder wood in a salmon smokehouse. Rather than hacking its way down your throat, its smoke is delicious and purposeful, like a smacker on your lips from Lauren Bacall in "To Have or Have Not."
Alaskan doesn't distribute in the East, so you'll have to reach for suitable varieties from California's Stone Brewing, Missouri's O'Fallon Brewing and New York's Ithaca Beer Co.
Locally, check in with Stewart's Brewing in Bear, Del., to find out when it'll be serving brewer Ric Hoffman's award-winning smoked porter.
And now craft brewers are adding smoke to other styles.
The latest is Weyerbacher Fireplace Ale, a warming, easy-drinker (7.5 percent alcohol) with a recipe that contains 10 percent smoked malt. The beer will be debuted from 7-9 p.m. Wednesday at the Devil's Den (1148 S. 11th St., South Philadelphia).
Weyerbacher founder Dan Weirback describes it as a dark ale "with an intriguing hint of smoked flavor."
He added that he and brewer Chris Wilson "felt a lot of rauchbier can be overpowering for some people, the smoke can be too much. This is almost a session ale - you should be able to drink it quite easily because there's only a hint of smokiness, it's not the dominant theme."
I'm guessing Weirback didn't have to call the fire department before brewing this one. *
"Joe Sixpack" by Don Russell appears weekly in Big Fat Friday. For more on the beer scene in Philly and beyond, visit www.joesixpack.net. Send e-mail to email@example.com.