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Some Like it Hot

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By Steven Tincher

The fates have decided that two interesting beers in the Sacramento area are based on hot pepper flavors. Both are rich and full bodied but otherwise very different.

Both are “seasonal,” meaning they may not last much longer and are brewers’ trial balloons. Neither have high IBU’s, which means they do not reflect that bitterness so characteristic of local IPA’s.

Before beer drinkers start running for the exits at the threat of imitating older, rather less interesting chili beers, these are complete brews with all kinds of intriguing flavors combining for surprising effects.

The first is from Hoppy Brewing Company on Folsom Boulevard near 65th Street. Hoppymole Chili Beer. Described by the brewer as, “Vanguard hops and crystal malt … brewed with jalapeños, poblanos, and California chilis” (15 IBU’s/5.1% ABV.) This beer has a distinct chili pepper bite. It is sharp in the back of the mouth. In addition to being drinkable if the consumer has a high tolerance for pepper spice it might be an interesting marinade. The underlying beer is a full bodied red ale strongly malted back. Only available at the brewery supplies are limited.

The second beer tasted for this review is from Bike Dog Broadway Taproom. Newly opened, this taproom is located adjacent to Selland’s Market Café on Broadway hauntingly north of the cemetery. When this reviewer tasted this beer the name was “Double Mex Habanero Stout” but their website refers to it as “Double Mexican Milk Chocolate Stout.” Described by Bike Dog as, “heavy chocolate and cinnamon notes with a slight fresh chili flavor” (8% ABV, no IBU’s given), this is a round, full bodied, rich brew. Don’t let the habanero reference scare you off, it is almost undetectable. This strong, rich stout is a sipping beer, suitable for the last one of the evening especially given its high alcohol content.

Both of these brews are adventures in creative brewing and should be encouraged as brewers reach out to find new flavor combinations.

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