Next in the series on Timberline Smokehouse Beef Jerky is this "Beer & Garlic" variety. See my previous review of their Original variety.
Timberline Smokehouse Beef Jerky is relatively new brand, having launched just about a year ago. Adam Thomas, founder of the brand, is also the owner of Thomas Smoked Meats, based in Johnstown, PA. Thomas has been offering jerky under that brand going back to 1998 to locals. He then decided to go national in 2008, and created the "Timberline Smokehouse" brand.
He says this "Beer & Garlic" is actually marinated in real beer, not just a tablespoon, or a cup, but completely submerged in 100% beer. In addition to "Beer & Garlic", he also has a "Beer & Fire", which I'll review later on.
Note: This review was updated to reflect a fresh batch of jerky that Thomas sent me. Previously I had rated this as "average", reporting a dry, crumbly texture that had a profound effect on its flavor. He sent me a fresh batch, which I found to be quite different, as you'll read below.
Beef, beer, soy sauce, worcestershire sauce, dehydrated garlic, spices, salt, onion powder, sodium nitrite.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a smoky flavor, a light saltiness, and a light garlic flavor. Overall, a light tasting surface intensity.
The chewing flavor starts with a natural meat flavor, a noticeable garlic flavor, some black pepper flavor, and a bit more saltiness.
For being dubbed "Beer & Garlic", the beer flavor is not immediately noticeable, but after eating several pieces, I do in fact identify a faint beer flavor. I only notice it while sucking out the juices and specifically looking for that beer flavor. Otherwise, if I didn't already know this jerky was marinated in pure beer, I wouldn't know it had faint beer flavor.
But the garlic part of this is very well noticed, both on the surface flavors and in the chewing, and seems to provide the dominant flavor for this jerky. I get quite an aftertaste with just one piece.
The black pepper is also well noticed, but clearly not as strong as the garlic. Each piece of jerky has chunks of peppercorns attached, some of which are just halved peppercorns that provide a burst of flavor. Combined with the garlic, it creates a flavor very similar to a grilled steak at a steakhouse.
I'm also getting a spicy flavor, aside from the black pepper, that builds up over several pieces. I can see tiny specks of red, perhaps cayenne, or some other kind of chile pepper. It adds a touch of heat, which I'd rate on my hot scale as "mild-medium". But I can't seem to identify much flavor from this spice.
The natural meat flavors are noticeable in this, but doesn't dominate the overall flavor. It's still enough to give you that sense of eating a steak, however, and is enough to keep me wanting to eat more.
The saltiness seem to be at a light flavor intensity.
Overall, the flavor that you'll taste the most is a strong garlic flavor, with black pepper closely behind, and the natural meat flavors behind that. The beer flavor is actually quite light, and may not even be noticeable if you're just snacking away, but perhaps adds a little color to the background flavors.
These are slices of whole meat, sliced medium to thick thickness, and in small to medium sized pieces.
This is a moist jerky, but with a moist/oily surface. The pieces are quite soft and tender, and it's easy to bite off chunks though most of these pieces are small enough you could eat them whole. Chewing seems easy.
The chewing texture starts out stiff, but with some sucking and light biting it easily breaks down. It doesn't take long to chew down to a soft mass, and by that time this jerky takes on a very steak-like texture, comparable to one cooked medium.
I don't see any chunks of fat on this jerky, and no gristle or tendon, and I didn't encounter any stringy sinews.
Handling these pieces can be messy. My fingers pick up a good deal of oil and bits of red pepper seasoning, requiring some licking and jeans wiping.
Timberline Smokehouse sells this Beer & Garlic variety at a price of $9.00 for three 1.75oz packages. If you spend more than $25.00, the shipping is free. I bought $36.00 worth, encompassing several of their varieties. That works out to a price of $1.71 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $1.71 price per ounce, it seems to provide an excellent value. I'm getting a great deal of snackability, mostly due to it's great overall flavor, great meat consistency and chewing texture. That $1.71 price is actually the same as what you'd pay for a mass-market brand at a grocery store, but I think you'll get far more snackability.
As a "Beer & Garlic" variety, at the same $1.71 price per ounce, it's a good value. You'll get it more value from the garlic aspect, in which this jerky provides a strong flavor. The beer flavor is actually quite light, and just barely noticeable. But considering it's still priced at the same level as an Oberto or Jack Link's, you're still getting a much better jerky, beer or no beer.
I'm giving this a best rating.
This Beer & Garlic variety from Timberline Smokehouse Beef Jerky provide a strong, easily-noticed garlic flavor, with a well-noticed black pepper flavor, and a lighter but also well-noticed natural meat flavor. Combined together, it creates a sense of eating a grilled steak from a steakhouse.
I don't really taste the beer in any significant amounts, though with some careful analysis of what I was tasting, I could in fact taste the beer element. But for most us who'd rip open the package and pop in a chunk of meat, I don't think we'd notice the beer flavor right away.
This meat is quite moist, with some pieces downright juicy. They chew easily, and provide a very steak-like chewing texture, with no wads or strings of unchewable tissues. Overall, a very enjoyable jerky.
Perhaps a good beer pairing for this, a porter.
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