Pass the Pepper

Friday, April 04, 2008

I played hookey yesterday afternoon with my brother. He left work early and I headed down to lovely Detroit to hang out. We had tickets to the Wings game at 7:30, and it was 3:00 when I rolled into town.

He Suggested we go to a great BBQ joint called Slows. Wow. The food was incredible; I had a sandwich called "Triple Threat Pork." I mean, who wouldn't want a sandwich called Triple Threat Pork? The restaurant describes it thusly: Bacon, pulled pork & ham stacked high.

Smoked bacon. Smoked salted ham. Carolina-style pulled pork. Triple threat, baby.

Here's the best part: their beer list. Yum.

So besides for drinking copious amounts of my favorite brews from Stone, I decided to try Rogue Chipotle Ale from Rogue Ales Brewery. I have had chili beer before and was less than impressed (one even had a pepper floating in it like the worm in tequila), but I was willing to give Rogue the benefit of the doubt. I'm glad I did.

The beer poured a rich, thick golden color, bordering on orange. It yielded a thick white lace, almost like a paste in consistency, that retained throughout the entire glass.

As I expected, I got a mildly fruity and malty aroma typical of a standard ale. But under it all was this smoked pepper aroma. Totally unexpected but somehow fitting. It didn't overpower the ale aromas, and seemed to welcome a drink rather than scare you away from it with a searing hot pepper blast. Subtle.

A mild malty taste pleased the tongue right off the bat as I gulped; without the pepper this would be just a fine, sessionable beer. But almost immediately, this smoked hot pepper hit mymouth...but again, it was really pleasantly subtle. The heat was tangy rather than just plain hot, and I thought the tangy hops went well with what I suspect are Cascade hops. Already a tangy, citrusy hop, it married that tangy pepper really well.

As I drank, I could feel that peppery heat down the back of my throat, but interestingly not on my tongue. I was afraid this beer would slaughter my tastebuds and I'd have to drink North Coasts's Old Rasputin just to taste anything at all. But that's not the case with Rogue's effort here. It was spicey to be sure, but very well-balanced by the other characteristics of the beer. It finished very clean with no lingering heat nor lingering hops. Just that tad of spice down the back of the throat.

Crisp, smooth, rich and medium-bodied, this was a surprisingly pleasant beer. I wouldn't do more than 1 or 2 in a sitting because honestly the novelty would wear off. But as an interesting variation, I am glad I made the plunge.


George 11:44 AM  

I'd have to drink North Coasts's Old Rasputin

Poor you, if you'd have to do that.

Also, I don't see any Stone on that admittedly fine beer list. Was it on as a "seasonal"?

Smitty 11:46 AM  

Yeah it was...they had Ruination and Arrogant Bastard on tap and whatever their barleywine is in the bottle.

Sopor 12:47 PM  

Old Guardian is Stone's Barleywine, I've got a bottle chilling in the fridge downstairs. I've been waiting for a good moment to pop it, with a dollar bill of course.

Wow, I'm really glad you reviewed this beer. I've seen this thing and always thought "HELL NO", but maybe I need to give it a chance!

B Mac 1:09 PM  

Yeah, like Sopor I'm usually pretty hesitant on stuff like that. General rule; anything that goes well in a taco should stay out of my beer.

But with that said, you could probably give the guys at Rogue a bottle of soy sauce and a cucumber and they could brew you a good beer.

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