Spicing Up Their Suds
The other day, a friend handed over a growler of Spite Pepper Pale to me, a tap only beer from Founders Brewing Company. He said, Here Im not going to drink this, you take it. Although Founders is no doubt on both of our lists of beloved breweries, it became apparent that chile beers, a style that includes Spite from Founders, are not one of my generous friends favorite styles.
I thanked him before leaving the office, excited to dabble in a style still foreign to me. I called up my tasting partners; letting them know that I had something new and out of the ordinary to endeavor. We convened later that night, bringing along a bottle of Rogue Chipotle Ale to compare to Spite.
We popped open the growler of Spite, quickly finding out that taking a big whiff made us feel as if we had snorted a small amount of crushed red pepper. The first sip was a shock to our palates, and was admittedly hard to stomach. Spite got a little bit better after the first sip, and just as we thought we might be able to polish off a full glass of it, we were rendered incapable by a combination of spicy foam burps and a scorching sensation on the back of our throats.
We moved on to the Rogue Chipotle Ale, some of the group admittedly just wanting to get it out of the way. While this one bared its similarities to Spite, it wasnt nearly as searing as its counterpart. The pepper nose was fainter, likewise for the burn on the back of the throat. It is not often that a beer isnt entirely consumed at our get togethers, but we quickly found ourselves salivating over the Beligan amber ale and double IPA on deck in our mini tasting.
Chile beers arent for everyone, but there seems to be a group of far siders who hold a fondness for this style of beer. Take Jim for example, a colleague of mine who claims to love drinking Crazy Eds Cave Creek Chili Beer (which has a solid D- rating on beeradvocate, but who am I to judge) with spicy food. Jim isnt crazy either; he is a beer connoisseur himself and taught me a lot about beer in my earlier days at Binnys. Guess who is going to be receiving half a growler of Spite in his mailbox?
I guess that some of us just arent cut out for chile beers, and my tasting partners and I seem to fall effortlessly smack dab into the middle of this category. While we had our gripes about the chile beers, it seems there are people (Jim, and Im sure many others) who have a place in their hearts for some heat in their brews. What side of the chile spectrum do you fall on?