Friday, June 10, 2016

Put your Fire Out - Chili Beer

The desert, home of lizards the size of beagles, hard rock, and grit, all baked up to a crisp 130 degrees. Home to hardy people, an assortment of F-16 parts and a a couple dozen million rattlesnakes. A place where beer is pretty important.

Chili Beer.

For a man named Crazy Chilleen of Cave Creek, Arizona (Population 1328 which is said to include coyotes and cattle) beer could not be trusted to outsiders. So in 1989 he started brewing his own beer. As the story goes, the town was suspicious. And became even more so when an entire brewery arrived in crates at the foot of Black Mountain, along with a German named Arnold.

But apparently people were sold after the first batch. Enough that the yuppies started driving in from California to try the stuff. Then one day, one of them whined about no lime in their beer, and got a hot Serrano chili pepper in it instead. Amazingly, someone liked it. A number of people did, the idea was born, and as their website states "the 80's were officially over".

That brewery is now closed but the beer lives on, brewed in Mexico for an American beer company. I found it in the wide open spaces of Indianapolis at World Market.

I bought it as a novelty. But with a bowl of fresh tortilla chips to munch on it was damn good. It's a light, lager type beer, not a lot of head to it. Corona is sort of how it looked and I expected it to taste. But the pepper taste is clean, hot and pronounced, as in after you swallow it sneaks up into your sinus's and makes your whole head wake up.

With chips and some sliced sliced, sharp cheese, it was the perfect snack.

I purchased some extra for Tam and Bobbie to try next time I see them, the fire extinguisher and extra chips will be ready. The online beer reviewers didn't like it, but I did. It was like biting into a crisp cold jalapeno with my chips. Then again, I'm the one that asks if there's something hotter than "Thai Hot". .

If you see some, try it. If you don't like, I'm sure there will be some takers for it.


  1. Haven't seen that one... Will have to look around... :-)

  2. Man, I loved that stuff. Haven't seen in around here for years, and I think about it every once in a while.

    There aren't many beers I like fruit in. Lime in a Corona, orange in a Blue Moon, and a pepper in Ed's Cave Creek.

    I'll have to make a trip over to World Market and see if they've got any.


  3. Thanks for the tip. I'd only known of one such brew, having heard about it in the late 80s (a green chile beer out of Taos), so I looked online and was astonished to discover that it's become an entire recognized beer style, with some 350 varieties available.

    Despite a lifelong appreciation for hot food (I tried some police pepper spray once, and found it distasteful -- notes of Chemical Mace with a long UV-dye finish -- but not overwhelmingly hot, and as I write this amwashing down some ghost pepper potato chips from Trader Joe's with a La Cumbre Red Ryeot... ) I've never tried any of them.

    Seldom had any fruit-flavored beer, actually, and mostly didn't care for those. I like beer-flavored beer. But you've convinced me to round up a few...

  4. Nice of you to mention Cave Creek! it's maybe 30 mi N. of me.
    Not my choice, but I do like the Blue Moon (mentioned above) with an orange slice.
    Diff'rent strokes and all that...
    I'm a libertarian politically, and it turns out personally, as well. :-)


  5. Had some a few years ago with my Dad. We decided it would make an awesome beer batter.

  6. I tried some years ago and didn't care for it. It is pretty good in recipes that have beer as an ingredient.


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